IOM World Championship 2017 – France – recap by Hrvoje Duvančić

Original post (HR/CRO):

Croatian IOM representation

He is Zvonko Jelačić, new world champion, and he did it in a style that even Goran Ivanišević would envy him! The king of the ‘one meter’ sailboats is not only a great skipper from the shore and from the cockpit but also a brilliant designer of ‘IOM’ ‘wind-performers’ inside the Kantun family.

Last night, in the Sailing Club ‘Zenta’ from Split, it was particularly delightful, as it is expected when welcoming the world champion back home. Family, many teammates, friends, relatives and press gathered to congratulate Zvonko Jelačić on outstanding sports success, the first place in the IOM (International One Meters) radio-controlled sailing world championship held from May 12 to 20 in a small nice town of Pierrelate in France.

Zvonko right after the last race

The fact that this is already Zvonko’s second world gold was just a reason more for an even stronger bell toll from the proud tower of Saint Duje in Split. Zvone being just a Zvone as we know him, made a brief and clear statement first: “This was a remarkable achievement, and I am excited to do this with my Kantun 2 and 3D monofilm sails. It is a great feeling when it is seen that the years and years of hard work and renunciation eventually come to the levy. I can only say that my love for class IOM is still stronger and I want to thank everyone who helped me in developing, testing and producing equipment and preparing for this title!”

Pierrelatte – France, World Championship 2017

For those who do not know what IOM is, it’s about sailing boats which basic feature is shown in the class name, and that is a maximum hull length of one meter. Other technical features are defined by the class rules, and there is also room for design interventions in both hull and sails. In general, model sailing Croatia has a very long tradition. Numerous modelling yacht clubs at the time of the previous state existed both at sea and inland, and shipbuilding was also nurtured in schools. Sailing was performed by the sea, lakes… At competitions, the number of participants travelled within the framework of today’s number of sailors in the class-optimist regattas. Last thirty years drastically reduced the number of active members, so the number of the active sailboat designers in Croatia is about 20 now! A recession hit us harder than we knew it would probably. Nevertheless, serious steps have been taken in training instructors and everyone interested in this technical activity, but it seems that the most effective idea is at present the program that has been launched in the last two years by the models of sailing boats RG 65 aiming for kids and younger generations. Despite such a small number of modellers in Croatia, our representation in the world frames occupies a very important place in the very top. That was confirmed once more in this World Championship 2017.

Considering the Croatian representation, the France had our smallest delegation for the last ten years. The colours of Croatia were defended only by Vedran Vesanović from JK ‘Trogir’ and Zvonko Jelačić from JK ‘Zenta’. According to the rules that distribute the number of seats reserved for a particular country, Croatia has been entitled to eight seats due to top-level results in previous championships. The late-term term, however, does not correspond to most modellers due to business-related commitments and sadly many of the famous names from sunny Croatian shores didn’t sail this time. But, respectable 76 best modellers from around the globe were gathered at the big event. Some of the most famous names missing were Brad Gibson from the UK and our dear Marko Matić, Mario Škrlj and Ante Kovačević. In any case, the competition was very strong and the uncertainty was expected until the very end of the regatta.

One metre RC yachts

IOM class sailboats

The leading place was only once missed in the race by Zvonko’s new Kantun 2. Already after the second qualifying sailing, the awarded points of Zvonko Jelačić placed him in the leading position, from which he dropped to second place only at one point before the end of the regatta, but returned to the top in the next sailing turn. While Zvonko sailed the head of the fleet, our second representative, Vedran Vesanović, fought in the middle of the fleet. In the first part of the championship, he entered the goal between 20th and 30th place, while the last three days brought some weaker results. At the end, points were summed up in 24 sailing and Vedran stopped at the 45th place of general placement.

This year’s World Champion title Zvonko was not the first one as we have mentioned before. He was already the IOM World Champion at the 2009 Barbados World Championship. This title owns the record of him being the youngest sailor ever to win WC in IOM class and it has announced him on the big door as a future important leader of the yacht modelling world. From Barbados and Graham’s sailboat, many things entered and were removed from the scene. Since then, Zvonko made important innovative changes to his Kantun series and perfected the design with the current champion – Kantun 2. Sails were perfected as ‘Jelacicsailing’ brand 3Dmf technology and rigs proved many times so far. So, the biggest and probably the most noticeable difference with respect to the title from Barbados is that Zvonko (now a shipbuilding engineer – ing.nav.arch.), performed in World Championship 2017 with a sailboat of his own design, which he has worked in conjunction with one of doyens of the yacht modelling world – Mr Robert Grubiša. Another important element, the engine of each sailboat – complete set of sails, is also his marvellous work. As for the sails only, it is even a story about revolutionary innovation in the model world because Jelacicsailing brand is the only one who makes sails in ‘3Dmf technology’.

New and better than ever!

Kantun 2 on his side

While sailing with RC sailboats, the same rules apply as in ‘normal’ sailing boats. The only difference is that sailors or modellers are not inside sailing boats but are on the land. This difference enables modellers to visualise and concentrate more on tactics and ‘read’ situations in the regatta field. Thus, for example, on Zenta with Zvonko and teammates, one can see Mr Tomislav Bašić who has also been regular in the winter cycle of model races in Croatia.

And for Zvonko it can be said that he has been a complete sailor since childhood. The beginnings of sailing were in the optimists from which he went to the lasers to finally find the models and cruisers in the end. There are really many important details from his sailboat biography. Two years was a skipper and team leader of Volva 60, AAG Big One, Croatia’s champion in the monotype of 2003 and 2006 and as a tactician at ORC Cruiser Angel X wins the championships of Croatia in 2012, 2013 and 2014.

Experience is the best teacher!

Zvonko’s experience in AAG Big One

As for the RC models, besides the aforementioned two world championship titles, Zvonko can be proud of the silver medal from the European Championships in Cres in 2012, the bronze medal from the World Championships in San Francisco in 2015, the bronze medal from EP in Pierrelatte in 2010 and the bronze medal with World Championship Marblehead class 2006 held in Fleetwood, UK.

This year Pierrelatte’s closest competitor was Spaniard Guillermo Beltri, European champion from Dubrovnik in 2008, while British Robert Walsh and Italian Pierluigi Putod were very close.

World Championship IOM class - 2017

Zvonko receiving warm applause for his achievement

The first three days of the regatta sailed on a moderate and strong wind, and then Zvonko achieved a respectable number of finishes between the first and sixth positions. After a day’s break, the championship continued on the slower wind, and then the competition was a bit more successful. In that part of the competition, Zvonko focused most on the continuity of a good score average. In the afternoon of the previous day, he was still stronger. Again, the conditions more suited to our champion and continued to increase the score difference with respect to the escort. The last day of the competition was also windy, but now everyone sailed without a calculation, at all or nothing. Zvonko continued with good results, but there would still be uncertainty, he took care of his fellow countryman Goran Ivanišević, when in the third race in front of the championship in the last leg ended up bravely. Of course, in such a competition, such a mistake can not be corrected and it is the only boat from which Zvonko retired because too much time has passed since he has managed to free the bush. Next, the previous boat started out from the worst group, Group B. It ended up with the leaders, and returned to Group A where it ended as a fourth in the current sailing system at these regattas. Given the new situation, both the Spaniard and the British got close enough and it was interesting to see if the Race Committee would assess whether there was time for another plunge. It was and came to him literally in the last minutes allowed by the Announcement of the regatta. With regard to mathematics, Zvonko was not supposed to allow too much difference between himself, Walsh and Beltry. Walsh was a bigger threat, but he ended up in a single place behind Jelačić, while Beltri finished in the last race as a silver 5.8 points behind Jelačić. And that is how the history was written, Zvonko took his new Kantun 2 for a great ride until the victory in World Championship in France.

Croatian as World Champion IOM 2017

Vedran Vesanović and Zvonko Jelačić – World Championship 2017


Definitely shocking finale for all Zvonk fans, because the organiser of the Championship has provided direct video streaming over the internet!

The next great regatta on which our national team will be represented by a double world champion will be held in Croatia. The IOM World Championships for 2018 will be organised by JSC “Val” in Rogoznica in mid-April.

Rogoznica – host of European IOM Championship 2018