Efficiency, optimal use, new ideas, best materials . . . These are the subjects and questions constantly floating around my head.
In the last years I have stepped out of the F18 racing scene (and in general racing besides A Cats) because I am involved in so many different design and engineering projects. But the truth is, is that I am happiest when I have designed and built something answering all of the questions in my head and then able to put the final product to the test. This type of racing relaxes me knowing that I have done all that I can to make my material the best that it can be.
I like all types of racing and believe me, including one design, but the question in all classes remains as to just how “one design” a class really can be. Production in our sport for small boats has tolerances and therefore the open box rules of a formula class dictate the amount of playing room there is for innovation (this is also the case in one design classes but these rules usually rely on the builders delivering 100% equal products) The best sailors all know that you need to find measurements and materials within the class rules in order to have an edge on your equipment. This doesn’t mean that the entire fleet needs to take part but all of the top guys will search for the boundaries.
The F18 class has been years in discussion as to how to change the class. In my opinion, it is a great class with a strong set of rules which has allowed for small improvements and innovation over the years. No one knows the ideal boat but over time we have made some significant steps. There is question to go foiling, or to make the boats lighter but I believe that the beauty of the class is the ability for us to sail the boats with friends and family and with hundreds of boats around the World. Will it be that much better if it is 50 kilos lighter, will we enjoy it if we limit the field to only people willing to go foiling. Remember that the faster you go the more damage and the harder it can be on the material. The F18 class should stay the same and should enjoy what we have; fabulous people, events, boat builders and a great attitude.
After developing and proving the deck sweeper in the ACat I knew that it would work for the F18. I had designed it two years ago but all innovation needs proper testing and prototyping. It is not just simply recut the sail and go. I was bending booms, using windsurf booms, no booms and different goosenecks until I reached the current situation. I am sure there will be a lot of copies coming into the market but I’m not too worried because competition is also what makes this class fair. I know that I have taken the time to make a good, solid product which works. If there is only one builder then the sailors are the victims to raising prices and the monopoly of one builder.
If you are interested for a quote on the new or standard sail package let me know.
Hours on end perfecting my equipment, my skills and my patience has been wrapped into my 2nd A-Cat World Championship title. I can’t tell you how excited I am about this years performance. This year I am by far the busiest ever trying to balance being a competitive sailor, designer, Olympic coach, sailmaker, factory rider and most importantly . . . a Dad! Within the somewhat chaotic days I have found an incredible focus which makes me stronger at achieving my goals. I don’t have time to go back and forth about decisions or questions, I have to be decisive and smart and trust myself.
This is the first large event where there are a few new DNA F1’s. A gorgeous venue in Italy (?? Considering it is the SUI Nationals) with flat water and building breeze. I crushed it. But why? The F1 was developed and designed to be an all around speed machine benefitting from improved aerodynamics with the end plate effect, underwater hull shape for non foiling conditions, and with optimal boards and rudders to enhance foiling.
Mandy and Coen are both excellent sailors. Are we on the right track? They are fast and smart but their confidence, time on the water, and mental game will not yet win them a medal. We have been battling injuries, struggles with coaching and I wish that I could be more for them but when we started working together I had other responsibilities as well. It kills me but we will do all we can to win that medal. I want the medal just as bad as they do but that is only half the battle. We will need to be critical and sharp and most importantly will need to be confident to sail in Rio. Off to the harbour to work on boat speed.
Its been a busy winter with many different projects but the #1 priority seems to be continued to be pushed into the background. My goal this year is to win the Worlds. The launch of the DNA has so far seemed perfect but is my boat ready yet . . . no. We have a bit more information on the competition but now is the time to learn to use the new machine in all of the conditions and to create the settings. I am always very open and I will admit that at this stage I am not comfortable yet. The boat and I are performing well together in flat, gusty conditions but in chop and swell I have a lot to work on. Another issue is that I am spending the majority of time getting all of my clients up to speed with what I know so far. Looking at my schedule and my responsibilities I realize that it is going to be a marathon leading up the Worlds. I feel more focused than ever but lets hope that I can find the energy and the time in between the chaos of the “real World” to find the sweet spots and ideas.
Mischa Heemskerk is a smart creative, a source of new idea’s, always curious and never satisfied with the status quo.