What a year it has been for our community. The class continues to accelerate its growth and good times. Here is a little summary we prepared for the international Association.
The hard work of the association and the good folks at Goodall Design is really starting to show results. The Australian class has worked to define an identity for the F16. This identity has two parts, the boats and the community. It is important to share this with the F16 worldwide community as it certainly has shown great effects and results.
We have positioned the F16 as the One Boat Solution to becoming a highly competitive racer. The advent of the decksweeper on the boats confirmed that this is a boat for sailors who want to be on modern, fast boats that are evolving with the technology of the day. This visual signal to the public excited and encouraged many sailors in the class and other to join the class.
We identified that by trying to promote F16 as a boat that could do everything the message became lost and vague. F16 is a hardcore race boat, for the brave.
This is clearly seen now as the second hand market is buoyant and boats sell within 4-8 weeks. (if they are priced accordingly). 7 Vipers and 1 Nacra F16 changed hands this season. A record of 4 new boats were sold this season after there being no new F16s sold since 2018.
With the community we are bold and have been a little less conservative and polite. We have called our events some rather lewd and cheeky names. We arranged off water activities to follow on this approach and had a season that created some epic stories. Again some people were offended but the vast majority enjoyed the humour, the risqué attitude and the direct manner that the community and events are characterised by. Our social media and media releases we have tried to make free, a bit confrontational and frequent.
As a result of this sustained barrage of media, events and devil may care attitude we have attracted a definite type of sailor to the class. The boats are a bit wild, the racing is fierce, the events can get very wild and it is refreshing to be unashamed of our behavior and principles. The No.1 focus of Australian F16 is having a good time. Many classes make claim to this, Australian F16 practice this.
A huge achievement for F16 Australia was our dogged determination though the Covid restrictions to hold nationals. We have not missed a National Title through all the turmoil. This illustrates the associations agility and focus on listening to the sailors needs and requests. More than this though it highlights the nature of the F16 fleet sailor. These are people that are passionate, brave and demonstrated a can do attitude when the times got hard.
The current paid up membership in Australia stands at 39 people with the current Boat Count at 37.
The great decksweeper debacle enjoyed closure. When Brett Goodall and Beau White built the prototype in 2019 the community appeared to split. In contrast the vote confirmed the Australian position to progress the class to decksweeper sailplans. Big thanks to Gill, Stephane and Antoine for getting this all processed. It remains a core focus of the community to do what the sailors want and this action by the associations confirm this. We expect the F16 to enjoy international growth on the back of this decision and some changes in the second hand market as some sailors exit the class providing opportunity to attract new competitors.
Goodall Design and Element Sails are both producing great Deck Sweepers that have evolved over the last 2 years. They make the boats so much more fun in strong wind and keep the F16s competitive in combined F18/16 events.
F-Cup – National ’22
It has been the prerogative of the F16 association in Australia to combine with the F18 association events and decisions as much as possible. This has big benefits for both classes. The Formula Cup deliberately abbreviated to the F-Cup to make the shirts and media noticeable was the first F16 organised national event that targeted the F18 community for participation.
This was a great success. F-Cup is not as strictly run as an F18 National but incorporated elements into the whole event such as the banging the corners race and copious cocktails that are not seen at other nationals.
The Association focused on media and put together a professional sponsorship proposal for prospective sponsors. This produced great media, video, class awareness and value for the advertisers and the competitors alike.
Cat S.H.I.T. ’22
The Catamaran Single Handers International Tournament was organised as a pilot to see if there would be appetite for a dedicated spinnaker catamaran event. Once again the acronym was deliberately created for effect and the event was extremely successful considering the late venue change. For Cat S.H.I.T ’23 a location has already been arranged for next season’s event – we expect a much larger field than the 10 boats that competed in 2022.
Although the F16 Viper has been developed and proved a competitive and well mannered double handed foiling platform, Australian F16 is not focused on this as the future of F16.
F16 will work with Goodall Design to attract some high level sailors who seek to sail foiling boats. It is the expectation they will choose the Viper convertible so that they can fulfil their foiling aspirations and still race competitively in the F16/18 fleets. This keeps our community intact and provides further scope for growth.
The year ahead
As you may be aware Beau White the F16 marketing guy has joined Goodall Design Australia’s distribution. Thus he will be wearing both the F16 marketing hat and the Goodall Design sales hat.
The focus of the association for ’22/23 is:
- Standard events such as state titles and nationals
- Tightening up the compliance to the international ruleset with the assistance of Ben Clark
- Events with a bit of difference such as Airlie beach race week, F-Cup and Cat S.H.I.T.
- Development of an introduction strategy to funnel people into F16
- Organising events that are well funded and incorporate the social aspect as a priority.
- Co-ordination with the F18 fleet so that F16/18 will continue to have large fleets attracting high level sailors to the classes.
Cheers to a great year and good luck to all at the F16 worlds in Travemunde!
Australian F16 Association