Report from Chris Field about 1st UK event at Datchet

1st event of 2013

On the weekend of the 16th & 17th March the British A-Class association held the first Ranking event of 2013. It was hosted by Datchet Water Sailing Club on a reservoir next to Heathrow airport.

The fleet had 3 new boats racing along with the regular competitors including myself sailing the new VISION from and a new Hammer sail.

The conditions on the Saturday were around 10 knots on average but with sharp gusts around 18 knots the racing was extremely tactical. Making sure you were in the correct position on the race course was the most important factor in the racing. After Day 1 I was leading scoring 3 firsts and a second with Sam Newton on a DNA second (3 x seconds and 1 first) and Bob Fletcher in third on his Flyer.

Sundays conditions held the same pattern with a slightly lower average wind speed and was even colder. The race officer realised the sailors were still cold from the previous days racing and got our 4 races completed in quick succession, which I am sure all the competitors were grateful for! Again I scored 3 firsts and a second giving me the overall win. Sam Newton was always close to me on the course again earning 2 second places and a first. In race 3 he had a collision which was not his fault and had to retire however, managed to find the spare parts he needed and made it out for the final two races.

For me it was a good start to the season. All my equipment was new and I could immediately see the advantages in my new sail and the boat, as always, was more than up to the task. Once again I would like to thank the Marine travel company for continuing to support me through the 2013 season and also to MarinePool who supplied me with the Clothing to keep me race fit through the freezing conditions of the weekend.

Off to Minnis Bay now for some much needed training for the next couple of weeks aiming towards the defence of my French title at the beginning of May.

Chris Field

Interview with Chris Field during the RYA show

When and where did you learn to sail?

I was 7 years old and my father had a Unicorn A Class. He took me sailing 
on it at Lake Bala Catamaran Club and we did some races together on it. 
About 6 months later he bought a Dart 18 and then a Prindle 18-2 where 
he taught me how to sail, although his teaching was always more about racing rather than just learning to sail!

And when did you first become aware of the A Cat and what attracted you to it?

As I said I got the basics of sailing from the Unicorn so my early memories 
of sailing are always brought back to the A Class. This being said I have 
only sailed the A since 2005 as for a long time I raced with my brother on 
an F18 and Tornado. When my brother and I decided to stop racing together I decided to give the A Cat a chance as I liked how cool they looked!

Now, we can't help noticing that you are not the smallest of sailors. 
How can do you configure the boat to accommodate if you are not 
built like a jockey?

The beauty of the A-Cat is that the rules are so open they allow you to adjust the boat for your weight and sailing style. It is very easy to get a rig to 
suit your weight and all manufacturers of masts and sails offer products aimed at different weight categories.

The A Class has suffered from a reputation for being fragile and expensive. Do you think it is deserved?

The A-Cats are not fragile boats. All A-Cats are now built from carbon 
which is an extremely strong material and I am happy to race my boat in 
any wind strength without fear of breakage. Of course if you have a collision with an F18 the A-Cat will come off much worse. This is not because it 
is fragile, but it is a function of being built to withstand the loads applied to 
it when racing.
Regarding cost they are expensive boats however, carbon fibre is an expensive material. This being said the second hand market is very healthy 
and you can find an A-Cat to suit whatever budget you have. It is the same 
with all things in life, the more you pay the better product you get!

Over the last few years, the British A class scene has witnessed a bit 
of resurgence, what do you think is responsible for this?

When I race overseas I find the A Class a very well attended class with an 
extremely high level of competition. I think use of social media has played a 
key role in making sailors in the UK aware of this and I am sure that Americas Cup teams using the A-Cat for training make people in the UK want to 
be part of the action. The other main reason I hear frequently is that sailors 
do not need to find a crew whenever they want to get out on the water 
especially as the number of good value second hand boats has increased 
making the class much more accessible.

You have been sailing the Saarberg Vision prototype for the last year or so, moving from the DNA. What are the key differences between the two?

The key difference between the two is that the Vision gives you the feeling 
of having lower drag when compared to the DNA. This is down to the hull 
shape, which is more rounded, and the daggerboards. The DNA, has a very 
flat underwater section behind the daggerboard which although makes the 
boat feel like it has more drag, allows to boat to be very stable when sailing. 
To look at, the bow would appear to be a major difference however, in reality both boats pierce the waves equally as well. The benefit of the Visions 
bow is that in lighter winds the bow can be used to gain height upwind if 
pushed further down into the water.

Within the last 12 months we have seen at least half a dozen new A 
cat designs appear. How do you think the Vision fits into this?

When choosing a design to race I would suggest deciding which one best 
suits your sailing style rather than which is fastest. At the top level there is 
very little difference in speed between designs. The Vision is a very good all 
-rounder, very stiff and very strong. I have never broken anything on the 
Vision which for those who know me is an achievement, as I tend to push 

I know you have yet to sail this boat, it has been wet as a result of 
the rain on the way to the show, but looking at this first production 
version of the Vision, what are the key differences between this and 
the prototype?

If you compare this boat to the one I raced at the Europeans there are a 
few differences. CatamaranParts and I have been working on winged rudders for some time now and I will be using them this season. In addition the 
finish is very smooth and it has a new paint scheme with non-slip incorporated into the paint where needed. The trampoline layout has also been refined to make the boat as easy to 
operate as possible whilst still looking clean and simple.
The other obvious difference between my 2013 boat and last years is the 
sail. Hammer Sails have produced a new sail for me which takes into account 
all we have learnt from past seasons and is made from a new all carbon 

And, how much is it?

22500 euro inc VAT

It is recognized that the A class has a two way relationship with the 
Americas Cup boats, AC 45 etc., both in terms of design and the 
sailors, many of them in fact sailing these for fun and training. Do 
you think that there are any current developments that we might be 
seeing on the A class as a result of the latest design thinking? I'm 
thinking mainly of foils.

The sailing world at present seems to be focusing towards foils in general, 
which extends further than the Americas Cup. There are the C Class titles coming up, the foiling 'Phantom' project and of course the A class itself, all of 
which will give more data in this area. Also the Moth and other monohull foiling projects already provide valuable information on foiling performance and 
methods. The issue is the A Class have rules in place to limit ways of implementing foiling however, with all the research being undertaken I am sure 
we will see new technologies in the class, one way or another. Do bear in 
mind Landy had wings on his rudders before the A/Cs and the Moths before 

How would you suggest anyone interested in this class could take it 

Get in touch with the association who can recommend the best boat for you 
and your budget. This is also the best place to find out where and when the 
racing events are. The best way to get going in the class is to start racing.

Thanks to the BACA people for doing this interview. The original interview 
can be found at

Vision talk at the IACA website

At the IACA website there is published an article on the upcoming RYA Dinghy Show at 2th and 3rd March at the Alexandera Palace London.

The Vision 2013 will be shown and Chris Field will be present to give answers and explanation to your questions.

The article can be found at

Best regards,

The Catamaranparts Team

2013 New-Zealand A-class Nationals

New Zealand Nationals finished after 12 races has been sailed with Dave Shaw on his Vision at 3th place. 

Congratulations to Dave Shaw with the result and not much time on the boat yet. 

1. Blair Tuke
2. Murray Philpott
3. Dave Shaw

Click here for the results. Pictures are here

2012 Worlds are over

The 2012 Worlds are over with Mischa Heemskerk as winner of this short event due to the hurricane Sandy. It is a shame that this is happening but mother nature can't be stopped and i hope that eveybody will have his gear locked away and prepare him self for what seems to be coming. I did understand from Piet that there is a lot of rain expected and the winds will increase a lot the coming 2 days. Hang in there and take care about your self.

What can be said about this Worlds on what we have got reported from Islamorada.

The whole week prior to the event the wind was light and the light boys where preparing themself to get a good result BUT it worked out completly different, on Saturday the wind started to come in and with the Hurricane on the move is was looking that it would be a more windy event then everybody would expect. Yes the wind came with more then enough.

On the practice race and day 1 we did see a lot damage on mast break and daggers and rudders.
I must proutly say that we did not had no breakage on masts, boats, daggers and rudders at all during the event and this means that we are on the good way.
This event was not the event of Chris who sufferd with some bad luck on the practice race with hitting a lobster pot line what made him to come back in and on race 1 of the first day he did hit something else floating in the water what caused a damage on the hold down stick of the rudder. In race 2 and 3 he did well with a 7th and 5th place . The fact that his first race was a DNC and with the change that there will be only 5 races for the event his changes where dropped. Sebastiaan Moser on his Vision did it a bid more conservative and finished all races on day 1 with a 23th place overall at that time.

On day 2 there was no racing possible and the whole day was blown out.

On day 3 the RC did made the choice to start early on the day to get at least 1 or maybe 2 races in to get a valid event. They managed to do this but what we know is that the whole day was sailed above the class limits.
Mischa was doing well and with his 2 first places he managed to take the title. Chris was doing better and finished a 10th and a 4th but he missed something and was getting a DNC on race 5. His story will be later in ofcourse.
Sebastiaan did well and finished both races with a 21th place overall result. Well done for a second time on the boat.

When we do know more and have any more story we will publish this here or at the website.

The Catamaranparts team

A-cat Worlds day 1 and 2

Tuesday evening finally we managed to talk to Piet who is at the event . The conclusion what can be made that it was a real survival day on Monday.

The wind in the first 2 races was from 18-22 knots but the 3th race was between 20-25 knots and this changed all the sailors going into survival mode and hoping for the best and luck. The amount of sea grass seems to be numerous and when you hit this then you are gone and to lift all the boards in these conditions seems guite an issue. The seagrass seems to have quite big influence on the races and the combi of wind and waves makes it difficult to see where it is. The wind and shallow water gives big steep waves and the angle of the wind makes it not better.

We understand that there are around 5 people needed to launch the boats otherwise the change of hitting the pier next to the launching ramp is a major risk, and we undertsand 1 boat was already hitting the pier during launch.

On Tuesday the first 15 boats where on the water when the RC made the choice of sending eveybody back to shore and with the major damage on Monday this was a wise call. A lot of people are already out of the event because they did break major components and are not able to get replacements, we also understand that at least 20 boats stayed on shore and they didn't want to take the risk of getting damage.

On wednesday the RC is planning to launch the field at 9 am to try to get at least 1 more race on the score board, the reason is that on Thursday the change is big that there will be no sailing at all, the tropical storm Sandy is passing the coast of Florida and it depends on the direction it goes if there will be any sailing possible, this is the same for Friday. The travel speed of Sandy will makes the difference.

We also did recieved info on the turtle what should been hit by Chris Field, the turtle seems to be ok and was just missed. Chris was caught by a lobster pot line what made a big groove on the leading edge of the rudder board and to prevent more damage he returned to the beach.

The Catamaranparts team

A-cat Worlds day 1

It seems still difficult to get hold of some information from Islamorada but what we have heard it is a windy and high seas event with more wind to come.

The usual people are on top of the ranking with Steve Brewin doing a good job in race 1 and 2 with 2 bullets.

The consitency of Mischa gives him the lead with 2 seconds and a thirth.

Chris Field on his Vision was out on race 1 and scored a DNC but on race 2 and 3 he was in the top again with a 5th and 7th what looks like a good recovery. Sebastian Moser for the second time on his Vision is also sailing contstantly and finishing all 3 races with a good 21th place as result after day 1.

Funny to see in the results is that on place 24,25,26,28,29 are people who all seemed to have some issues what dropped them back in the ranking at this moment but they will recover as they will not have more issues. 

I will try to get more info from Islamorada today.

The Catamaranparts team.

The wind forcast for coming days shown below