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2016 Weymouth Worlds Predictions
While those fortunate to be attending the event are making their final preparations, the rest of us can speculate how this Championship will go, who will win, and who will be up there at the end.
One of the interesting aspects of a 505 worlds is that it is normally the only opportunity each year to see how the top teams from each country go against each other. But this year the buildup to the worlds has included several of the favorites racing against each other at Europa Cup events. Some of the Australian and American teams are keeping 505s in Europe and are racing Kieler Woche now, and raced earlier Europa Cup events.
Given these recent results, we have good indications of who is “on form” and who may not be.
So with tongue firmly in cheek, here are some predictions for who can win and who can place at the 2016 Worlds in Weymouth.
The 505 has a strong tradition of female helms and some all-women teams.
We are predicting a German team will take this one. Carol Buchan jumped into the 505 with husband Carl crewing for the recent 505 NAs, and they were sailing very well for a team that has not been training hard, but they are not going to Weymouth. Another top female helm is Meike SCHOMÄKER sailing with Holger Jess, but they are not going to Weymouth either (Holger prefers cold water and air and thinks Weymouth’s southern exposure and North Atlantic drift influence is for wusses).
Two teams that will be in Weymouth fighting it out are:
Tina Plattner/Dave Shelton GER – This team raced well in South Africa. Dave has years of experience in the front of a 505 and has done many worlds, so will be adept at putting them where they need to be. They are going to be faster in the breeze than their competition for top female helm with Dave’s uhh…
substantial advantage in height and weight.
Nicola Birkner/Angela Stenger GER – This team also has years of experience and many solid finishes. Look for them to be very strong in lighter or mixed conditions.
Mike Holt/Carl Smit USA – Holtie has won the last two Championships, one with Rob Woelfel, the other with Carl Smit. While they were not showing top form at the recent North American Championship, they were on the pace when they won the Europa Cup in France. Recent surveillance has shown that Smit is taking his buildup seriously; he has been spotted cross training to increase fitness and lose some weight, getting closer to the fitness he has as a US Navy SEAL officer. While they were outside the top three at the NAs, they showed very impressive pace in the lighter conditions. You cannot bet against two time world champion Holtie racing with Carl Smit. They are fast in all conditions, and show few weaknesses.
The Brits still consider Holtie to be one of them, and Holt/Woelfel/Smit have spent time working on setup and tuning with top British teams, but Holt/Smit will have USA on their mainsail.
Dr. Wolfang Hunger/Julien Kleiner GER – In addition to being a three-time 505 World Champion already, Dr. Hunger is also a three time 470 World Champion. He is a consummate big fleet management style racer and almost never has bad races, always able to move forward in a fleet. This team will be one of the most consistent at the top, and it will take terrific pace, going the right way a lot, and some luck to beat them.
Andy Smith/Tim Needham GBR – Perhaps the fastest of a strong British group, this team had brilliant pace at the French Europa Cup, winning several races though inconsistent, but are leading Kieler Woche (the final Europa Cup event) as of this writing. They are not as consistent as Hunger/Kleiner or Ian Pinnell/Alex Davies, but clearly have the speed and ability to win multiple races at the World Championship, and with a little luck and consistency, could win it outright. A home court advantage could be just the little help they need.
Ian Pinnell/Alex Davies GBR – Excellent pace, a consistent team, and Ian is a 505 World Champion and has been at the top of the 505 fleet for longer than most others have been racing 505s. This team is showing excellent pace and consistency in the Europa Cup events and are currently in third at Kieler Woche. Ian’s experience in the 505, knowledge of the rig – he is “the 505 guy” at Pinnell and Bax – and a home court advantage could put these guys on the top.
Mark Upton-Brown/Ian Mitchell – Past 505 World Champions, Upsidedown-Brown/Mitchell have been doing a serious buildup for this Championship after not being in a 505 for some time. Another team that has tremendous past experience and who may be peaking at just the right time. With a home court advantage, they could come out on top.
Howard Hamlin/Andy Zinn USA – The ageless Howard Hamlin, racing again with Andy Zinn continues to benefit from the “Team Tuesday” training program. This program is so strong that members were 1st and 2nd at the recent North American Championship in Bellingham Washington (Howard won the 2014 and 2015 NAs) with Howard/Jeff Nelson finishing just behind training partners Riley Gibb/Reeve Dunne. Bet on Hamlin/Zinn to look dominant in the pre-worlds and then see if they can step it up like some other top teams for the Championship itself.
Mike Martin/Adam Lowry – the only person to have won a 505 World Championship as both a crew and a driver, Mike Martin knows better than almost everyone what it takes to win a 505 Worlds. Another member of the fabled “Team Tuesday”, Martin/Lowry won several races at the recent 505 North American Championship, but were held out of the top positions overall by weaker finishes in some of the lighter air races. They may not have the consistency in mixed conditions, but if the breeze stays up these guys could win several races and stay in the top three in the rest, which is normally more than enough to win a 505 World Championship.
JørgenBojsen-Møller/Jacob Bojsen-Møller DEN – Olympic medalists in the FD Class with years and years of 505 experience, this ageless team continues to show excellent pace and consistency. The Bojsen-Møller/M2 rig has won multiple World Championships and completely dominates the German fleet in addition to being widely used in many other 505 countries. These guys know the rig better than anyone, as they developed it. Their tremendous experience tends to pay off the most in a Championship with mixed conditions. If Wemouth conditions turn “interesting” for a couple of races, look for these guys to show up at or very near the top of the scoreboard, and to be placing well even in more consistent conditions.
Stefan Bohm/Gerald Roos GER – que the Wagner music … another strong German team that has lots of training time and a number of very solid finishes in recent World Championships, though perhaps over shadowed by Hunger’s dominance until 2014. Bohm/Roos are particularly strong in breeze, so look for them to fighting it out with Nelson/Lowry at the front of the fleet if the breeze stays up and they can take advantage of their speed.
GER Jens Findel/Johannes Tellen GER – Yet another of the very strong German teams that are quite capable of winning a Championship. With Jens living in Texas they haven't had much time to train, but they are always strong, particularly in breezier conditions.
Augie Diaz/Jeff ??? USA – while not as dedicated to the 505 as other top 505 drivers, Diaz races several extremely competitive classes – Star and Snipe in addition to 505 -- and wins or places in all of them. There is no one racing 505s since perhaps the days of Paul Elvstrom who can point to top finishes in several International classes. Diaz does not have the extended time lined up with other strong teams in the 505 that the Germans, Team Tuesday and Holt/Smit do, but he is another big fleet management standout and is never, ever, slow.
Tyler Moore/Drew Buttner USA – Moore has been gearing up for the Championship racing several big events. Moore/Woelfel raced an excellent NAs, finishing 3rd despite challenges with a chartered boat. Both Moore and Buttner have years of experience at the front of the US 505 fleet with multiple World Championships experience as well. Moore/Buttner are having a solid Kieler Woche, and are one point behind the Bojsen-Møller brothers and ahead of Bohm/Roos as of this writing. These guys don’t have a lot of time in the boat together, which may explain their two deeper finishes. The rest of their finishes are very solid top placings that look like scores that could win them a World Championship, albeit Kieler Woche is a smaller fleet with less depth than a World Championship.
Michael Quirk/Rob Woelfel AUS – Quirkie has as much 505 Championship experience as anyone, with some very solid results over the years. This year he is teamed up with World Champion crew Woelfel. If Quirkie has the consistent speed and tactics of past years and Woelfel puts them where they need to be in the gate and first beat, these guys are going to be up there. Quirkie has spent a month away from home doing Europa Cup events and training; perhaps this is the year he finally does it.
Jan Saugman/??? DEN – A two time world champion Saugman is either a very solid top ten or a World Championship winner. We’ll see how he is going this year, after a couple of races.
Philippe Boite/????? FRA – A perennial strong finisher for France, Boite is never slow and rarely makes big mistakes. Particularly strong in mixed conditions, but looking a little off the pace of the top teams at Kieler Woche.
Ebbe Rosen/????? SWE – A multi-time top three finisher and another ageless competitor who knows how to race a 505 very well at the front of a Championship fleet.
Other contenders/dark horses:
Terry Scutcher/??? GBR – another multi-class racer – Terry is also a top Laser masters Worlds racer – who can put together a very solid series for a 505 Worlds.
Christian Kellner/??? GER – Was winning the 2012 worlds until the last race, consistently at the top.
Macy Nelson/Eric Andersen USA – an all-round solid team with flashes of brilliance. They may be handicapped by trouble focusing on their program while deciding which of Macy’s several 505s to ship to Weymouth. They could be strong in mixed conditions.
Bruce Edwards/Rich Mundell USA - need to step up their game from what they showed at the NAs, but years of experience in the 505.
Are the Ovington/Selgelsport Jess 505s faster than the Rondars? :-D