Finally Mandy Mulder gets to participate in an Olympic class event on her home water in Scheveningen. She grew up in Poeldijk, close to The Hague. She sailed the Yngling, in which she won Olympic silver in Beijing. She changed classes to the Elliot, but just missed out on qualification for London 2012. Now, she and her crew Thijs Visser are leading the 2013 Nacra 17 Worlds after five races, tied on points with the French Billy Besson and Marie Riou.
“Of course you hope to compete for the medals and we knew it was possible, however it feels good to having performed well in yesterday’s races. The conditions were difficult with a strong current and changeable wind forces, so that gives us a positive boost for the coming days.”
Do you feel the pressure of being favorite for the title?
No, we are not thinking of that. Of course you want to do well, but I don’t feel that we have to win here. All the pressure rests entirely on Billy Besson’s shoulders.” She smiles: “I hope that bothers him a lot. He is an excellent sailor and he knows what it is like to become world champion. But if the conditions are light the coming days, I think we have a good chance. If you look at his first race, those are not his favorite circumstances.”
What about your light air skills?
We have put a lot of effort into losing weight. In Palma we were about 10 kg heavier. We knew that we could use every kilogram less in light wind. We might have lost a bit in the big breeze, although we are still doing well in those conditions. We have noticed here that we are doing much better in the light stuff.”
Is this the weather you may expect from Rio?
“Yes, if we are to believe the stories, there won’t be much wind.” This was actually not the main reason to lose weight: “You just want to be all round. A combined crew weight between 130 and 140 kg is ideal and most of the teams are on that. So if you weigh 152kg, you know you are one-sided. Therefore, we wanted to go more to the normal weight of the class. That was the idea.”
Text: Diana Bogaards
Photo: Laurens Morel