Thursday, November 15, 2007

It's starting......

Got sent this today....

New Zealand Paper Tigers Owners Association Inc.

President Secretary
Glenn Syman Lynley Manning
30 Duchess Place
15 November, 2007

To the YNZ Chief Executive and
YNZ Olympic Committee

ISAF Selection of Olympic Classes for 2012

Dear Des

Can you please distribute this letter to the YNZ Olympic Committee and YNZ Board members as appropriate.

It was with considerable disappointment that we have learnt that the multihull class has been not been selected to sail at the 2012 Olympics. We cannot understand how ISAF can claim that the selection is a “showcase of the wide range and diversity of sailing” while the multihull class has been excluded.

We are aware that Yachting New Zealand voted to exclude the multihull class. This vote was significant to the overall result. Can you, or the YNZ Olympic Committee please advise on the basis that this vote was cast.

The Tornado class has been very successful in past contests for New Zealand. Multihull classes are well supported across New Zealand, and in turn deserve the support of YNZ.


Glenn Syman

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


As I've said I am totally in disbelief at the recent ISAF move to discard the multihull from the Olympic Games.

Here's my recent rant on the subject from

In answer to criticism of the age of the Tornado design:

First find a better boat. The Multihull Trials couldn't. The other designs were all newer but in terms of sheer refinement and reliability, not to mention speed, all fell short. No surprise there given the investment over many years on improving the Tornado while staying true to the basic form .

Look also at international fleet spread and the durability of the universally accepted manufacturers product - Marstrom - where the quality is so good now that some boats last more than one Olympic cycle.

So you could not find a better boat that ticks all those boxes. Why on earth would you start from scratch anyway? I am sure that you could design and build a much faster boat within the same or more economical parameters. But could you get the same sort of performance gain the 49er achieved over the FD? And is it even necessary? So I believe the Tornado could remain as a great representative in the Multihull slot.

But I'm gutted about the loss of the Multihull berth for several other reasons:

(next rant starts here.....).

One is that like the Americas Cup, the TP52's and the VO70's constant investment leads to refinement and an eventual trickle down of technology that benefits us all. Such as Tornado refinements and techniques like wild thing, mild thing, batten technology, some of the Marstrom construction and fitting innovations, sail design - more recently gennaker design and handling advances etc etc. It's great for our sport.

Next, the Olympic circuit naturally builds a quality of sailors that exceeds the standards in most if not all other classes. Just look at the results of the A Cat worlds after 2 races and count the number of current or past T sailors who have jumped in - some just for this regatta - and are immediately in the top 15 or so). So in order to succeed you have to beat, and be, the best. That's fairly worthy.

Not all developments work out well. I personally believe the carbon mast was unnecessary in the context of maintaining class strength and a mistake for the class in terms of the decision and/or its implementation. Of course there are performance gains for the boat but I question whether they were needed. Regardless the single manufacturer concept and the resulting 4,500 Euro plus freight/tax etc cost (which can't really be short-cut) created a division and killed the depth of the class overnight in NZ and no doubt in other countries. And I think that gives a pretty good pointer to what might happen if a brand new cat class was introduced.

I do care about TV coverage and it pisses me off that the last couple of Olympic Regattas have been totally awful in that regard.

But my main point is that we as multihull sailors and aspiring athletes - and I use that term in the very broadest sense of the word (maybe I should say sportspeople instead!) - who aim to compete and succeed at the very top level were privileged to have the Olympic Gold as that goal. Even in these dark days of drug taking in many sports, for sailors it doesn't come any better than that. How on earth can anyone feel good about that opportunity being taken away from such a major arm of our sport - even if they themselves didn't aspire to pursue it!

Rant over!

Saturday, November 10, 2007


I am in a state of shock today - the multihull has been dropped from the 2012 Olympic Games.

Outrageous decision.

Monday, October 01, 2007

New (old) development in A Class cats

I remember a wing mast on an A Cat (Slithy Tove) in the early '80's. Here we go again. I would say the overall weight would be around half the boat I remember!

Tarepo - an update

Here she is recently in the Marlborough Sounds, looking grand with some new bits and pieces.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Is it just me or...

...are these things the coolest on the planet?

C Class cat

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Elliott 5.9 racing in Auckland - some photos

RAYC Autumn Series 2007.
Slam Dunk and Voodoo - 1st and 2nd in last two National contests - and still locked together!


Saturday, May 26, 2007

Go boys!

Well we're not getting too carried away but things are getting to the really crunchy part!

There's a lot being said about the merits of ETNZ and LR before the LV Finals. Guess we'll wait and see...

This shot, when viewed full size, shows the layout of the ETNZ boat pretty well - including the angled wheels.

See the original at

Photo credit: Valencia Sailing

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Complete waste of money...NOT!

Had some comments today from a couple of (very) high profile NZers about the waste of money the A Cup is. And how boring it is.

Sorry don't agree. Strongly disagree in fact.

Set aside for a moment its the oldest sporting trophy in the world.

Set aside the obsessions that a lot of people have developed over the years.

Even set aside the fact that some NZ tax payer money is being used to fund one campaign. Instead consider this....

The ACup campaigns are 99% funded by private and commercial dollars. And any of those NZ tax payer dollars are recovered as PAYE, GST, duty and other taxes.

Very selfishly I only get to watch live yachting on TV thanks to the ACup. And I certainly don't find it boring.

And finally and most importantly for me ACup is one of the handful of really significant leading-edge development zones of our sport.

Sure there's also the SMOD manufacturers and sailmakers always improving and trying things. There's fantastic stuff being done with VO70's, TP52's, boards, foils and carbon fibre. And sailors like me all over the world fiddle with their boats and experiment on a small scale.

But ACup is where the really big stuff happens - much of it live on TV, the new techniques get tried and discarded or perfected, the gear breaks, the crazy stuff gets a run - you get the picture.

It gets people talking all over the world.

The stakes are huge.

Failures are laid bare for all to see and that old cliche "there's no second place" is so true.

The boats are spectacular.
The personalities even more so.

It's the main-game in-your-face long-term iterative R&D programme for our sport of yachting, like F1 is for motor racing.

Quite simply it's fantastic!

Still waiting...start of Day 4

Must be a drag for the guys sitting waiting. Especially those who won;t make the cut.
I got up at 5am yesterday to run the HDD Recorder only to watch replays of last years Act 12 finals - but it was quite good actually.

Maybe tonight? (sigh)

Monday, April 16, 2007

Go well guys!

Racing starts tonight...we hope!

07/03/2007 (Valencia) - NZL 92 (© Pierre Orphanidis/Valencia Sailing)

Monday, April 09, 2007

Naiad RIB

Arriving soon - a 1995 centre console Naiad 5.3XL, it's going to get a birthday and a new console over the winter.

I've been looking for a suitable Naiad for 2 years - they're really hard to find.

Naiad are unique in that the tubes and covers are easily replacable - rather than having to be glued in place. Also the alloy hulls are deep vee and much better for beaching than GRP. All in all they're a more versatile and hard working boat than many of today's GRP models - the '4WD of the Sea'.

Some of the modifications planned; The rear rack is coming off, replaced by a towing post. The two seats are coming out. I picked up a custom Naiad-built console (see 2 photos below) that had been removed from a 5.8 a while back and will modify it a little before swapping it in.

This boat is going to be a family runaround, coach boat, yachting spectator boat and support boat all rolled into one.