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In Olympic circles nobody talks about having a bad day. The cliched quote most often heard in post racing interviews is about lessons learned. Unless the lesson can be explained, don’t believe it, despite how often the phrase is repeated.

Another phrase often repeated is that of the steep learning curve. Can one cliche be false while another is true? With the Nacra 17 moving to foiling post Rio, everybody is on the steep learning curve, but what does that mean?


Check out the racing from Kiel Week 2019. Thanks to great coverage, flat water, and some top teams, we get a chance to look at teams sailing differently.

When the wind speed was 15-20 knots and flat water, teams were sailing upwind between 9.5-11 knots of boat speed. Then check out what Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer (GER) pull out of the bag as they jump into hyperspeed.

As we can see, after a few settings changes, the team leaps into a fully foiling mode and push up to 13.5-15 knots. With the boat speed trackers on the top left of the screen, you can see them jump up to 12.5 knots, and then get really flat and trapping hard and surge all the way up to 15 knots. The coverage switches to the tracking view, and we can see that they were sailing just as high as previously, and then they settle down to a lower angle after they get off the foils and return to the previous upwind mode.

This is ridiculously quick upwind. At the start of the beat they are neck and neck with the Spanish team of Pacheco and Trittel, and by the end of the clip they have a 200m lead. Sure, they got a shift and a puff, but we don’t see the distance between the Austrians and Spanish change very much at all.

So the real question here is if a team can go 30% faster upwind, why wouldn’t they do it all the time?

When we asked Kohlhoff about the mode, he said it’s really just a tool they are practicing to use. In this instance, they tacked just before this clip in a header and a puff. So they used the angle and increased windspeed to get across the course and solidify their lead over the Spanish they rounded at the same time with.

“It’s a really risky mode. Plenty of times we try it and lose out on the others just as much as we gained there. It’s really just something that works in a truly narrow window,” said Paul.

So, the real question is, are the German’s being coy with their new tool and trying to hide hyperspeed from the rest of the fleet, or is it simply a tiny window where this mode will work? No doubt the fleet will be working over time to figure that out!… the steep learning curve.

Spinnaker Hoists

Another area where the fleet is figuring out the best techniques is in the hoist. Watching 49er and 49erFX racing, there is really just one type of straight set if there is no traffic around. Teams will use their momentum to sail deep after powering through the beam reach. At the low point of the turn, the spinnaker gets pulled up as quickly as possible while in the slight wind shadow of the main, and then as it reaches the top of the mast the skipper will head up to fill it as the crew grabs the sheet. Job done.

Now check out three different example of how top teams set, all in the same windspeed and without pressure from other boats.

This method is most similar to how the 49ers set, in this case demonstrated by Kohlhoff and Stuhlemmer. During the offset, Stuhlemmer pulls out the tack and then as soon as they pass the offset mark she rushes into the boat and pulls up the spinnaker as quickly as she can. Kohlhoff then starts to get the boat foiling, and off they rush to get settled into their foiling mode. This is a spinnaker centric method, where getting it up is the priority.

In our next example, check out Bissaro and Frascari (ITA) taking foiling as their primary focus, with the spinnaker the secondary focus. Here is first the same angle we saw from the Germans, followed by the onboard footage.

Maelle Frascari is putting her focus fully to getting the boat foiling and stable with just two sails. Only once she thinks the foiling is stable does she move to hoist the spinnaker. This hoist is not error free, as they fall off the foils a bit, but you could see this method providing opportunities for passing lanes and also VMG gains if foiling can be maintained.

Our final example is the leverage centered approach. In this case, Zajac and Matz both stay trapezing through the whole hoist. There is a quite a bit of freedom for how ropes can be led on the Nacra 17, and clearly the Austrians have led their halyard to the windward side, and are able to have Matz stay on the wire while hoisting. It’s not the stable foiling like we saw from the Italians, but is sort of a bridge between the two other methods.

The bottom line is that when people talk about the steep learning curve, the Nacra 17 fleet is on it, with multiple innovations occurring consistently.

WoMan Overboard

One more bit of nifty boathandling comes to light after a somewhat scary incident in race 2. Bissaro and Frascari (ITA) are pressing downwind when after a gybe, Frascari falls overboard having missed her trapeze clip. What’s scary is just how quickly things go from normal to an emergency.

The helm, Bissaro, remains fully calm through the recovery. He immediately heads up violently to maintain a short distance to Frascari, and then slowly heads upwind with the gennaker flapping violently. Nevertheless, he does a perfect windward pick up out of the water ensuring there is little chance of running over the WoMan overboard.

While they retired from this race, after a breather Frascari felt good enough to return to racing, and got just a bruised foot from the incident. It could have been much worse, but the quick pick-up was a nice bit of boathandling.

Nacra 17 Sailing

The Nacra 17 fleet is 1 year away from our first Olympics as a foiling boat. Latch on to all of our channels to ride the wave to Tokyo…



Mailing list

Auckland, New Zealand’s largest city, is famous for its stunning harbours and sailing culture.
It is, without a doubt, a world-class racing and regatta destination. The downtown competition venue offers quick and easy access to a vibrant city with a celebrated culinary scene, fantastic shopping, and dynamic arts and culture. As well as big city sophistication, Auckland also offers an incredible natural setting; beautiful beaches, volcanic cones, island getaways and expansive parks are never too far away.
Home to sailing champions and the highly anticipated 2021 Americas Cup, Aucklanders and New Zealander’s alike are proud of their sailing heritage.
Here, the Championship will enjoy huge support from the public. Auckland is looking forward to welcoming all athletes, teams and supporters of the 49er, 49er FX and Nacra 17 World Championships.

Discover Auckland

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Entry is a 2 step process.

  1. use our manage2sail registration system to enter your racing information.
  2. proceed to the payment portal to pay for your entry fee. For clarity, the fees on the payment system will change over on the dates in the NOR, so non-payment prior to those dates will mean higher entry fees.

Notice of Race

Amended with new dates June 5, 2019.

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International Shipping Partner

Oceanbridge Shipping are the logistics experts when it comes to major yachting events in New Zealand. Having been in business for more than 37 years they have helped tens of thousands of competitors with all the logistics that goes with competing in regattas around the world.

From the 2016 youth sailing world championships and 2019 Tornado world championships in Auckland to the 2011 Optimist world championships in Napier, they have taken care of shipping for both competitors and regatta organisers. They are the main sponsors of the Oceanbridge NZL Sailing Regatta, which is this country’s premier Olympic and youth classes event, and also a major sponsor and supporter of Yachting New Zealand and other sporting events.

Oceanbridge will have a dedicated team to assist sailors competing in this year’s 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships in Auckland and can assist with international shipping, customs clearance, border security and trucking. Oceanbridge will have staff on the ground at the event to supervise unpacking and packing and will also handle general queries about shipping to make life easy for visiting sailors and teams. If you wish to ship your boats onward to Melbourne for the next regatta, or return home, they can help with it all.

Their dedicated Marine Team are passionate about boats, international sailors and shipping and best contact is:
Nigel  |  nigelb@oceanbridge.co.nz  |  +64 9 489 6070 (bus.)  |  +64 21 909 703

Where to stay

There is a range of accommodation close to the venue to suit all tastes and budgets. Popular choices are university summer accommodation, Air BnB and hotels or motels. Auckland city centre has approximately 11,125 accommodation rooms available from 5-star international hotels to budget-friendly lodges. There are a number of apartments available to rent and Auckland city centre has more than 2000 motel rooms. We highly recommend considering university summer accommodation at AUT which should be available from approximately November 20.  See Wellesley Apartments. Use the event code 49erNacra when booking online. These 5-bedroom apartments are available for approx. NZ$65(or 40 Euro) per night per bedroom for a very short stay or it comes down to about NZ$51(30 Euro) for longer stays. The rate will include the following:

  • Bedding, linen and towels
  • 5 bedroom Apartment with 2 bathrooms
  • Fully equipped kitchen, dining and living area
  • Communal areas on the ground floor
  • Wi-Fi
  • Tea/coffee making facilities in the Apartments
  • Towel change 2 x weekly (every 3-4 days)
  • Linen change 1 x weekly (if staying more than 7 days)

Group Bookings should enquire via: shortstays@clv.co.nz quoting the event code 49erNacra also to receive the appropriate rate

For early enquiries please contact: Jude Eades – Regatta Secretary  Auck49erNacraWorlds@gmail.com

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