Dear Formula 16 sailors and friends,
another year has passed and yes the class is alive and growing. Not an easy task to perform as competition within the sailing world is still growing and everybody wants to pick up the kids leaving the Optimists. In 2016 we have seen quite a lot of new boats on the market. And while most builders still dream the one design dream where solid monopolies secure solid earnings, the F16 class this year presented seven different brands and numerous suppliers to choose from. With activities in Canada and Russia, the F16 community has entered two more countries. And we are proud to have the Swiss RACES organisation taking care of the F16 sailing in Switzerland.
This year saw a lot of racing activities. Thank’s to the National Class National Championships were organized wordwide. Australia started in European Spring with Jack Felthensal and
Shaun Connor winning the title. In May the French Nationals were held in the famous spot of Hyères with Emmanuel le Chapelier and Theo Constance managing best. Germany and the Netherlands followed in September with Katrin Santiago and Thomas Koenig finishing first at the German Nationals. With Henri Demesmaeker and Isaureen Mannaert first the Dutch title went to a team from Belgium. Those two grabbed the National title in Belgium as well. Andi and Andrea Lutz won the Swiss Nationals.
The famous resort of Knokke saw the 2016 F16 Worlds. One of the biggest European catamran sailing clubs, the RSBC organized an event, that again provided warm sun and fun in Northern Europe. With more 45 boats from eight countries registered, it was the biggest F16 event ever. . And again the F16 fleet covered sailors from eleven years up to the age of 63. Exept for the Hobie 16 no other catamaran class has managed that so far. Australia sent three teams managing the challenging conditions with big winds, waves and currents very spectacular But knowing the venue best, it was Henri Demesmaeker with Alec Bague outclassing everybody else in the fleet. Thank’s again to Jasper van Staveren for the awesome series of photographs about this event.
Next to racing, the class updated the class rules within the regular five year period. The must have in 2016 was foiling. Big monohulls and small dinghis, the AC and Extreme Series, the British Whisper, the Flying Phantom and the S9: floating seems to be out of fashion. But a closer look draws a different picture: those boats are expensive, they ask for additional skills from helm and crew and they rquire stable winds in order to fly. And apart from the Moths racing in uniform fleets is still the big exeption. The Class Officers are watching those developments very closely. But at present, we believe that foiling at this stage of develpoment does comply with our core values. And these still are: having fun on the water, taking friends, the beloved or the kids along and boats that are safe, affordable and easy-to-sail.
At the WGM in Knokke, foiling of course was an issue. If the builders can agree on a reasonably framework, we plan to launch a new class called F16-f, sharing the racecourse with the floating boats. But for the reasons mentioned above foiling was not on our agenda when changing the class rules in 2016. We are still awaiting WS approval, but the main changes were lifting the minimum weigth and limiting sail head and daggerboard length. Now the minimum weight for singlehanded sailing will be 119kg, the minimum sloop weight will be 123kg. Next to that, we changed a couple of minor issues in order to improve the measurement process and we skipped some rules not beeing necessary any more. All changes proposed serve our core value of making things as easy as possible whilst preventing soaring production costs.
Besides discussing the changes of class rules, the election of the executive commitee was on the WGM Agenda as well. All officers were reelected and the management team will be serving the class at least another year.
As our constitition requires a ballot for changing the class rules we filed the proposals after the WGM and then asked the National officers to circle the ballot. Exept for minor topics the changes proposed were accepted by a 2/3 majority of the sailors having voted. As soon as we have WS clearance, the new rules will be published in detail.
In 2017 Switzerland for the first time will host a European Championship in Morges at the shores of Lake Geneva. Next to that F16 sailors will be able to attend lots of events in Europe, the U.S.A. and Australia. We will offer clinics, Championships, fun events and long distance races. As the boats have similar performance the German F16 Class and the German F18 Class will continue their close cooperation. We will watch the technical develpoments and it looks as if we will see a couple of foiling 16 foot catamarans in 2017.
One of the most important projects for the Class Associaton will be preparing the 2018 Worlds in Melbourne. As this event will be held in January, boats from overseas should be shipped in October at the latest. Therefore the Class is working on „boarding events“ to finish the sailing season and have the container on site.
Have fun in 2017 and stay tuned on www.formula16.net and fb.