ISAF Evaluation Trials - our thoughts

James Boyd Photography /
Favourites from last week's trials in Santander, but decision mostly like to come down to 'universality'
So having looked at the contenders for the ISAF Evaluation Trials – which came out on top? Having polled some of the Member National Authority (MNA) sailors whose job was to get a feel for the boats at the trials, in a nutshell among the Women’s Skiffs, the Mackay FX, the 49er with the cut-down rig, seemed to be the boat people most enjoyed sailing, followed by the Hartley Rebel and the RS900. Among the mixed crew catamaran contenders it was the NACRA 17 followed closely by the Viper. However these pronouncements come with numerous caveats. We only spoke to a few of the MNA sailors of whom there were around 50 in total in Santander last week, with representives from all corners of the globe, including Singapore, Russia, Australia and New Zealand. After trying each of the boats the sailors had to fill out a comprehensive form provided by the Evaluation Panel led by Chairman, Dick Batt. In these, the MNA sailors got to express their views on every aspect of each boat from sailing, launching, rigging, recovery, etc. This enormous amount of data was then being accumulated and processed by Simon Forbes, ISAF Technical and Offshore Manager and Henry Thorpe, ISAF Technical Coordinator. There were some reservations about the process made by the sailors and the manufacturers. Some of the sailors felt that they didn’t get enough time to try out some of the boats they were supposed to be evaluating, while some manufacturers complained that towards the end of the event when races were held, the quality of some of the MNA sailors aboard their boats was below par and therefore didn’t properly reflect their boat’s performance. However a trial such as this, even held over nine days, can’t be perfect, but given the number of sailors