Today was an excellent day of racing at the Nacra 17 Worlds just off the coast of The Hague. Yesterday the blue fleet managed to sail two races, the yellow fleet none.
So in order to get five results in each fleet the yellow fleet today had to sail five races and the blue fleet three. That was a challenge for the race committee, as well for the sailors in the yellow fleet. They had to stay focused all day and race five times.
But everything went well. There was enough wind, between 15 - 17 knots, all day. The committee started race after race. So at 18:30 all the boats were back on the beach.
On Thursday the 65 teams out of 24 countries will be sailing three races in the Gold (top 25) and three in the Silver fleet. First start will be at 10.30.
The most trying part on the third day again was the current, which at some points was about three knots. Not many sailors are used to this kind of current and struggled to beat up against it. After five races the Dutch team Mandy Mulder and Thijs Visser are in the lead with seven points. French Billy Besson and Marie Riou are in second place, also with seven points, but in the last race they were third and Mulder/Visser first.
Mandy Mulder/Thijs Visser: 'Solid series'
"It was a long and tiring day,"
says Thijs Visser. "We had to keep focused for five races, that was hard. The last race there was little wind again and a lot of current, difficult to sail against it. We sailed very different races, at times it was very simple and you just had to sail very fast in one direction, the other times we discussed what would be the best strategy. We fell behind a couple of times, but could fight our way back. About the current, we have the luxury to have two coaches on the water to keep track of that and inform us. We're looking forward to the rest of the week. Today was an important day, with the selection for the gold and silver fleet. We sailed a very solid series with only first to fourth places. We're very happy."
Billy Besson/Marie Riou: 'Not training a lot'
The French team Besson and Riou so far lived up to their expectation of being one of the favourites and are the runners up. "We were glad we had only three races today,"
tells Besson. "Today the competition really started and that was great. We find the current difficult. I sail a lot in the Mediterranean, we don't have it there. We have to keep looking for its direction and have to keep focused on that. We are lucky to be in second position. I am in a lot of projects in other boats and don't have the time to train a lot with Marie. The last time we sailed together was in Hyeres two month ago. Basically we're more racing than training. We've been sailing for six months together now and Marie has to get used to multihull sailing, she was in the Olympics in match racing. Our goal is the Olympics in Rio, but we'll see."
Matias Buhler/Nathalie Brugger: 'Stress at the beginning and end'
For the Swiss team Buhler/Brugger the day started and ended very stressful. "We broke a part of the rudder this morning, so we had to fix it,"
says Brugger. "We only came in the race area two minutes before the first start. But we managed to start in time and were happy with the speed today. We were fast. Also the last race was confusing. The blue fleet had started, but the race was aborted because they didn't reach the windward mark in time. By the time they were back in the starting area it appeared that the yellow fleet had to start and the blue fleet had to wait. We were resting way out of there and couldn't get back in time due to the strong current. We started three minutes late. That's why you see a twentieth place in our scoring. Luckily we can discard that one. We are happy though with our performance. It's going to be different tomorrow. Sailing in the gold fleet means the competition is even stronger, we're sailing against the best now."
Moana Vaireaux/Manon Audinet 'First mixed crew'
In fourth place we see a second French team. They won gold in the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik in May and bronze in Palma. "It was fun today,"
says Vaireaux. "There was more wind and less tricky sailing. You see the same guys in the front every race against whom you are battling. We didn't think the current would be that strong, we have sailed the North Sea Regatta series in May also on this water and it seemed less then. But we managed. We already are sailing together for 1,5 year. I used to be the coach of Manon in the Hobie 16, so we know each other pretty well. We were the first mixed crew in France. Today was trying weather and waves, some boats capsized or nearly did that. It is nice to be in the gold fleet, better than have the races divided in two fleets. Now you know immediately where you stand during racing."
The Nacra 17 World Championships are organized by the Foundation Nacra Events, The Dutch Sailing Federation (Watersportverbond) and Sailing Management International with support of (partners) City of The Hague, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and Nacra Sailing International.
Nacra 17 Worlds Website