New Moon shines on opening day of 5.5 Metre Worlds

After a year of delay, the 2022 5.5 Metre World Championship finally got underway on Friday local time, with two races held in light to moderate winds for the 23 boats representing 10 nations.

New Moon II (BAH, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) won both races confidently, taking the lead in race one from Caracole (SUI, Bernard Haissly, Nicolas Berthoud, Daniel Stampfli) before leading all the way in Race 2. This after a close battle with defending world champion Artemis (NOR, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli Sæther).

Caracole on a downwind leg – Robert Deaves pic

Overall, New Moon leads from Caracole and Artemis.

The day opened windless, with extensive cloud cover and was never forecast to deliver much, except an easy start to the week. After a very light and patchy opening race, the breeze built to 12-14 knots for a great second race, though still quite shifty.

Caracole got the best of the first beat in Race 1, to round with a nice lead, but New Moon II had lind to round level and then overtake up the second beat to lead down to the finish. Ku-Ring-Gai 3 (AUS, John Bacon, Terry Wetton, James Mayjor) held onto third for the majority of the race.

The wind increased for Race 2, with a large left shift out of the start. Artemis hooked into it straight away and sailed away from the line on port, leaving a mess behind at the pin. New Moon II also escaped and the two traded tacks up the beat, with New Moon II rounding ahead.

Artemis ended the day in third place – Robert Deaves pic

The two fought all the way round to build a useful lead but Artemis could not find a way past. The all-girl crew on Girls on Film (GBR, Louise Morton, Annie Lush, Hannah Diamond) also had a good start and first beat to round third and sailed well to protect that in the increased wind.

Lovable Australian Olympian, Anthony ‘Nocka’ Nossiter, stood in as bowman on New Moon II (due to sickness of the usual crew) to mark his first day sailing the boat – and on the bow – though he has been coaching them for some time.

“It was always quite flaky and tricky with difficult speed builds and tough starting,” Nossiter said. “We had some difficult starts but we ended up free and had wheels and found some shifts and were fortunate at times, but just sailing the boat normally and letting the opportunities roll and keeping it quite flexible.

“The boys did a good job. I was more of a passenger. I was happy to jump on board. It was more luxury than on the Finn or the Etchells. The 5.5 is where it is at!

Australia’s Ku-Ring-Gai 3 is in fifth place – Robert Deaves pic

“It was my first time sailing a 5.5, so it was nice to fill in and keep the boys strong. Downwind I was working out where to go to keep the air clear and keep the modes good. Upwind I am hiking. I am in the cheap seats and use the body mass (slaps his stomach), and perfect jib trim of course!”

Girls on Film is in fourth overall after a 7,3 today and were happy with their first day ever of 5.5 Metre World Championship racing.

Annie Lush, in the middle of the boat, said, “We are pretty new to the class. We’ve done a few days training in the UK and then a few days here, so we didn’t really know what to expect.

“It was really light in the first race and we were conservative and just wanted to get a counter. We got a seventh and it was good to come out alive. And then in the next race the wind came up, and we were still on quite a light set up.

The fleet sails toward Hankø – Robert Deaves pic

“There was a big left shift out of the start and we managed to get a good start and tack onto port early, and we were kind of in third for most of the race, but it wasn’t as easy as it looked. Definitely challenging out there but we are loving the boat.

“We are proud of our results today for sure and it was nice to get that third and keep it. We’ve been nervous as the breeze comes up. We are a lighter team and the impact that might have. We were on our light sails, so really happy that we managed to gear change and stay fast to stay ahead.”

On sailing the 5.5 Metre: “To be honest it’s amazing sailing a 5.5. We are loving it. Personally, I sailed the Yngling for many years for the Olympics, a tricky three-person keelboat. The 5.5 is so much nicer, points higher, so much power and its quite technical. It’s really fun to be back in a class like this.”

On Thursday evening the class AGM was also held at Hankø Yacht Club, where aside from some lengthy technical discissions, the main points focussed on the upcoming event schedule.

The class has always tried to focus on taking its events to venues to support the creation and building of national fleets and is lucky to have a huge choice of fantastic venues to choose from, including some old favourites as well as new venues. The AGM voted for Porto Cervo, Italy, in 2023 and New York YC in 2024, so there are some amazing events on the horizon.

Racing continues Saturday and concludes on Tuesday 5 July.

Results after 2 races
1 New Moon II (BAH 24, Mark Holowesko, Christoph Burger, Peter Vlasov) 2
2 Caracole (SUI 214, Bernard Haissly, Nicolas Berthoud, Daniel Stampfli) 6
3 Artemis (NOR 57, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli Sæther) 8
4 Girls on Film (GBR 41, Louise Morton, Annie Lush, Hannah Diamond) 10
5 Ku-Ring-Gai 3 (AUS 66, John Bacon, Terry Wetton, James Mayjor) 10

Full results: https://www.manage2sail.com/en-US/event/986fac28-ab5a-4b0c-907e-b05de27b4eeb#!/results?classId=1ba29110-7fbd-4f0d-a9f5-f5b558b227e7

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