Young cat specialists of the F16 are hot for the TW

The Formula 16s are returning to Travemünde. Nine years after the World Championship in Lübeck Bay, the catamaran sailors will once again determine their global title holders at Travemünde Week (22 to 31 July). The F16 World Championship is the highest-ranking competition in the 133rd edition of Travemünder Woche, which is packed with sporting highlights.

"Travemünder Woche is a great event and provides a class setting, perhaps the best in the world, for our sailors to sail the World Championship," says Thomas König, Second Chairman of the German Class Association and responsible for class communications. "This is a great offer for our athletes. And with the Hobie 16 Multi-Europeans, it will be the biggest event for 16-foot beach catamarans for a long time. We will certainly feel very comfortable in this environment." The class wants to use the TW to make the F16 more popular in northern Europe. "The cradle of the class is in Australia. In Europe, it is particularly popular in France, the Netherlands and Belgium. But Switzerland also has very talented sailors," reports König, who sees class chairman Marc Oliver Kühn from Lake Constance among the German participants in a position to be right at the front.

The Formula 16 is the little brother of the Formula 18, which is widely used in the north. The measurement principles are similar, but the 16 has some limitations. For example, the innovative Decksweeper sails are not yet allowed. On the other hand, the two-foot shorter and 50 kg lighter cat can be sailed solo in addition to the normal two-man crew - but then only with mainsail. "We definitely expect some solo entries. And in light to medium winds, you can sail alone in the front field," says König.
The F16 cat is particularly popular with young crews who, after moving up from the youth classes, already want to venture into ambitious sailing in high-speed mode and sometimes have their sights set on an Olympic career in the Nacra17. A prominent example is Henri Demesmaeker. As a twelve-year-old, the Belgian won the F16 world championship title off Travemünde nine years ago, later switched to the Nacra15 and was also world champion there in 2018 and fourth at the Youth Olympic Games off Buenos Aires/Argentina. Today, he is active as a professional sailor in various projects.

The class association expects up to 40 crews at the World Championships off Travemünde. Among them will be experienced athletes, but the favourites will be the young crews who can show off their speed especially in the manoeuvres. The four regatta days of the F16 are scheduled from 25 to 28 July.

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