Unearthly Unison: Besson and Riou Fly on Water
By Katy Nastro
Clearwater, FL. Day five of the Nacra 17 World Championships can pretty much call it as the unstoppable, and apparently unbeatable, Billy Besson and Marie Riou have separated themselves enough from the pack that even with a perfect day for the any of the close competitors, they mathematically take their fourth world title. “I called my family, and they were very happy. Right now this feels, weird, well no it feels, surreal!” said Marie with relieved sentiment.
Marie and Billy were embraced by many enthusiastic faces onshore. Apart from the fact that these two now are four time world champions, they capsized in the last race, unfortunately breaking the tiller extension. The extension was unrepairable on the water and so the two decided to retire for the day. This circumstance would normally knock the first place boat from its pedestal, but oh no, not for these French champions. The regatta was won even before the tiller extension mishap occurred! The pair could take the day off tomorrow and bask in the Floridian sun, but instead they are going back out to sail, and of course support their compatriot’s who are now vying to break into the top five. #VivaLaFrance
Sitting in second, almost on another playing field, is Allan Norregaard and Anette Viborg Andreasen. had a superior day with finishes of 6th, 3rd, and 2nd respectively. The pair was having fun, but they did feel the conditions were a bit problematic at times. Anette notes, “It was very wavy, and the wind was up and down, so it’s really tricky to sail the boat and to keep the nose up.” Their last downwind on race three of the day, both Allan and Anette really tried hard to focus on not going swimming. #ThankYouFootStraps
The Danish team sits just two points away from former Austrian Tornado sailor Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank. They know first place is out of reach, but are happy for Bill and Marie as they feel the French sailed “incredibly.” The Danes have only been sailing together for a year and with one podium finish at the 2015 Europeans, but not yet a World Championship, only means one thing: there is a first time for everything!
Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank sit in third position with a 7th, 2nd, and 6th to round out their score board. The two played the conservative card, withholding any aggressive action on the start line ensuring no OCS’s for the day. They took control of their positions early on and were able to sail securely into each position. Fifty points separating their boat from the French dominators, Tanja feels a bit mixed about the locked in first position. “Yeah, for them it’s pretty nice and it must be cool to be safe already before the medal race with the gold medal, but for us, I don’t know, for all of us we just don’t know how to get to that level. “ Even if they wanted it, gold is just not happening for the Austrians at this 2016 Worlds.
Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri were smiling on shore after todays races. No mishaps with unidentified objects hovering underneath the surface this time, so the only thing crashing into their hulls were big waves and solid breeze. “It was a really fun day, a lot of wind, a lot of waves, which we enjoy so much! We had good results today, but we unfortunately in the first race were probably BFD, but we didn’t realize it…but despite that, we are happy and will be there tomorrow to fight for the podium.” The two currently sit in fourth, just eleven points from third.
Vittorio and Silvia take a zen approach going into the medal day. They feel that the best way to go into the last day of a major event is to just relax a little bit, and if you’re feeling nerves, a beer might help!
Day five racing was applauded by all as it was warmer weather and the mostly near perfect conditions for the Nacra 17 class. This venue has produced all varying seas and breeze for the fleet, but they seem to favor the windier days they’ve had so far – unless it’s cold of course! Argentinian legend Santiago Lange definitely agrees, “It was really good today, and it was really good regatta conditions wise.”
Be sure to catch the final day of racing in Clearwater, Florida, as the Nacra class will be featured on the 49er/FX live stream found on the 49er YouTube page. Check it out!
The fleet not competing in the medal race will have one race at 12:00, they medal race series for resp. Nacra 17, 49erfx and 49er will start at 14:30 pm/ 2:30 pm
For results so far please click here