British A-Class weapon

European Champion Chris Field tells us of his campaign and his Vision A-Cat
Thanks to the sterling efforts of the national class association, A-Class catamaran racing in the UK – sadly dormant for many years – is now getting back on its feet. The demographic of the A-Class is an interesting one, a combination of ‘more experienced’ catamaran sailors who can afford the reasonably costly hardware (a new boat is in the order of 15,000 Euros from the manufacturer) and high profile Olympic and professional sailors, looking to gain some two hulled experience en route to the America’s Cup. Finn sailor Giles Scott acquired a Bimare A-Class catamaran last year and having been with Team Korea has since been signed up by Luna Rossa. 470 silver medallist turned 49er sailor Stuart Bithell and Paul Goodison are also A-Cat owners. Aside from the ‘stars’, numbers are steadily growing among the rank and file and at last year’s Nationals there were 13 boats, with Phil Neal, one of the movers and shakers at the hosts, Rutland Sailing Club, crowned UK champion. However the standout A-Class sailor in the UK is unquestionably Chris Field, the current European champion, who finished ahead of more than 100 other A-Cats on Lake Garda last summer. Field, 31, back in the day raced Tornados with his brother, and while he temporarily shelved his sailing while he attended college, on his return in 2005 has since mostly gone down the singlehanded cat racing route. As he recalls: “I just wanted a boat that was going to be easy to sail on my own. I wasn’t going to take it very seriously. I was going to do the UK circuit and that was it. But within three months I found myself at the World Championships! I came 16th, so then I thought I’d take it more seriously.” Today Field lives in Minnis Bay on the north Kent