This week 76 of the world’s best radio sailing skippers will descend on the southern French town of Pierrelatte for the 12th IOM Class World Championship to be held since it all began back in 1994.
Competitors representing 22 countries will do battle over 6 full days to determine this years winner with a number of past champions and form skippers looking to take on the title of World Champion that was last won by GBR’s Brad Gibson in Foster City, CA in 2015.
The IOM is a truly international class that continues to attract the best skippers and designers in the discipline of radio sailing and many names from the full size world. The class falls within the banner of World Sailing and the International Radio Sailing Association and continues to enjoy significant growth both here in the UK and abroad. International events are overseen by ‘live’ World Sailing umpires where any infringements are called and acted upon or taken to the room where GBRs Chris Watts and his team will see any outstanding matters resolved in Pierrelatte.
This year’s event sees a number of first time countries represented in France with guests from Singapore, Thailand, Japan and Bahamas among a strong contingent from long time supporting countries.
From this coming Sunday, all eyes will be on a number of top skippers from across the globe including Zvonko Jelacic – CRO, Guillermo Beltri – ESP, Ian Vickers – NZL, Kirwin Robb – AUS, Soren Andresen – DEN, Kym Daub – GER, Pierluigi Puthod- ITA, John Ebey and Mark Gollison – USA and local favourites Olivier Cohen and Alexis Carre – FRA looking to wrestle away the trophy that has been won for the last three editions by GBR representatives.
Our own 10 member GBR team is again a formidable one that includes no less than four past World Champions led by Peter Stollery, Graham Bantock, Rob Walsh and Martin Roberts who are keen to replicate the good form of recent years.
Interest will also be focussed again on design with the IOM being a restricted development class that attracts attention from the home designer through to the professionals of the big boat world.
Since 2011 the Britpop design of GBR’s Brad Gibson has set the standard holding all International trophies competed for but this will certainly be no one horse race, with a number of new designs seeking to end its dominant run. Designs to watch include the latest V10 from New Zealand’s Ian Vickers, Past Champion Zvonko Jelacic’s new Kantun 2 from Croatia, Graham Bantock’s AKA from GBR, Jeff Byerley’s Maxim from Australia and the Sedici from Italian Americas Cup designer Giovani Ceccarelli.
With the above known factors, this year’s event is wide open. Thankfully for those of us not competing the hosts at Pierrelatte have lined up a live broadcast of each days racing so that we can follow all of the action from the comfort of our home or office linked from the official website below.
Good luck to all skippers from the GBR IOM Class