Enoshima Nacra 17 gold medallists push towards the main event
Hempel World Cup Series Enoshima gold medallists Quentin Delapierre and his crew Manon Audinet have a tough ask to pull back their French Nacra 17 teammates, Billy Besson and his crew Marie Riou, who are third on the Hyundai 49er, 49eFX and Nacra 17 Oceania Championships scoresheet.
The World Cup gold medal pair, who teamed up a year ago, is sitting in 14th place after six races, with a day to go.
There’s less pressure to peak at the prequel given the Nacra 17 World Championship will be staged on the same Waitemata Harbour waters December 3-8, when Delapierre/Audinet will again go up against the formidable combination. Besson is a four-time Nacra 17 world champion and the pair recently completed SailGP season one, him as skipper of the French boat and Riou the wing trimmer.
Overcoming their compatriots is a daunting prospect, but by no means impossible, as their Enoshima result proved.
“It was a really good moment for us at Enoshima. Our project started just a year ago and to get a gold medal in Olympic waters was quite nice. It’s good to know we can win a regatta, but we know we have a lot of work to do,” Audinet said after their three race morning session on Tuesday November 26.
Speaking on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic track she added: “Enoshima is interesting; you can have all the conditions, waves and strong winds or shifty and flat water. You have to be good in all conditions to win the regatta.”
Spending as much time together as they do, Delapierre and Audinet, and every other team aiming to qualify or already qualified for Tokyo 2020, tend to know each other very well.
Audinet says she’s the funnier of the two, and her skipper, who is listening to the interview while unrigging, agrees. “I try to make jokes on the water when we are not in a good mood,” she laughs.
When it comes to dealing with the sport’s inevitable disappointments she says, “We both deal with it the same. We take care of each other, depending who is in a bad mood the other can say ‘come on, keep pushing’.” They also have a lot of fun together.
The teammates share the fact their mums are their number one fans. Audinet’s parents let her choose a sailing path over her studies. “They left me to what I wanted when I was young, they didn’t put any pressure on me to go to school and do a lot of studies. They said if you want to be a good sailor just go.”
Day two conditions were lighter for the 47 Nacra 17 teams who are loving the flatwater sailing – perfect for building speed and foiling. Besson/Riou are holding down third place, behind the Australian team of Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, Rio 2016 silver medallists, and the clubhouse leaders Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface (GBR).
Sailing fanatics around the world once again enjoyed live coverage from two of the four Oceania courses and subscriptions to SidelineApp’s broadcast are exploding.
“It’s the first time we’ve had a lot of media around us. I hope people will watch and understand what sailing is,” Audinet added.
Live and free coverage will continue over the next two days of racing, (find at Nacra17.org/live) with viewers tuning in from 10:00am Auckland time (NZDT / GMT+13).
Live coverage of the 2019 Hyundai World Championships will be available for 9.95 euros if purchased before November 30, or 14.95 euros thereafter.