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Feb 9-14 / Clearwater, Florida, USA

2016 World Championship

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by Andy Rice – Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin made the best of a light airs day three at the Nacra 17 Worlds to move to 3rd overall after the young Australians scored 5,4,1. It was a long day on the water, almost six hours, so maintaining concentration was difficult, but absolutely key.

The Italian crew of Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri also did well, moving up to 2nd overall with 3,10,2. Bissaro was rightly pleased with his team’s performance. “Boatspeed was critical today, and we were fast so that made life easier,” he said. “So far at these Worlds we have had a big variety of conditions. Every day is different, so it’s a fair battle across many different types of wind.”

11 February 2016_DSC1843_©LaurensMorel

Normally the Australian and Italian performances would be enough to close the gap on the leaders, but the leaders are the three-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou who appear unstoppable in the Nacra 17 right now. Scores of 4,1,3 have helped to build a lead of 25 points over the second-placed Italians, so it seems likely the French will go to the Olympics as winners of all four World Championships in the young life of the Nacra 17 class. Not that Bissaro is seeing things that way. “Billy is doing better races than us at the moment, but we have everything we need to be in front, we are confident.”

Denmark’s Allan Norregaard and Anette Viborg Andreasen slipped from 2nd to 4th with a ho-hum day, but they’re still not far away from the podium. Norregaard knew what he needed to do, it was just hard to execute in the light winds and choppy water. “Sail free, find your own space, because as soon as you were close to other people it was hard. Finding your own lanes was important.”

11 February 2016_DSC1750_©LaurensMorel

Tom Phipps agreed with that assessment, and together with Nicola Boniface finds himself leading his more experienced British team mates. Scores of 6,5,21 have lifted the young Brits to 7th overall. “A good day in messy conditions,” said Phipps. “We were able to find a lane to use our boatspeed. So often you’re caught on the back of someone else, just being held up in one direction or other, but we found lanes that enabled us to optimise the boatspeed.” The young crew are sailing way above expectations, and aren’t considered serious prospects for Rio 2016 selection, although if they were to carry on like this they will be hard to ignore. “For us, Nick and I started sailing together almost exactly a year ago. It’s been a baptism. It’s been a battle against a lot of things, and it’s nice that everything is falling into place now. It bodes well for the future.”

Tomorrow’s breeze looks set for a moderate south-westerly breeze, which should suit the Nacra fleet nicely.