Saxton and Groves lead Europeans after day 1

Brits Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves are leading the Nacra 17 European Championships after 1 day of racing. The teams sailed three races on the opening day of this continental event that takes place in the Barcelona International Sailing Center (BISC).

After waiting on shore for about one hour, the fleet launched their boats for the start of the first race at 13h00. There was 10-12 knots of wind speed from the east. In the second and third race, starting at 14h00 and 15h00, there was of 8-9 knots from the SE and ESE.

21602875169_a76050df97_bThe British duo Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves showed their superiority on the first day of the championship. Saxton, who was world champion in this class in 2013 with another crew, increased his performance during the day, starting with a seventh, then a second and a win in the final race. They are now six points ahead of Spanish Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco. “The level of opponents is quite high. It makes it even better that we are doing well, is a good sign”- added Saxton. “I expect the tournament to be quite long and the competition to be tough. Nicola and I are going to try and have some fun”.

The Spanish team Echávarri / Pacheco has not been sailing together for a long time, but Fernando Echávarri is the last Olympic champion in tornado and knows what catamaran sailing is. He finished fourth, fifth and seventh. The 2013 world champion, who is sailing in Barcelona for the first time said: “Good day today. We had a lot of fun. It’s been the first day we’ve sailed here properly. We sailed steady”.

The Spanish sailor was quite pleased with the results of the first day, but admitted that there is room for improvement: “The feeling on the water was good, but the truth is that we were not very inspired in the first few upwind legs. We managed to recover, especially in the last race, where we were not doing very well, so we have not used the discard yet. This, in a championship like this one is very important. In any case, if there is more wind and waves we are still missing some training hours. We still feel a bit green, but in the fleet we are not doing so bad. ”

Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis complete the provisional podium. Bundock and Curtis finished fifth, tenth and fourth and are three points behind Echávarri / Pacheco.

Eight points behind the Aussies, and in fourth place, are British Lucy Macgregor/David Evans: they won the first race, finished fourth in the next one and then twenty-second in the last race of the day.

The scoreboard is really tight from fourth to eleventh place, with just four points apart. After five races sailed the first discard will be applied, so tomorrow can bring some important changes. For example, French Franck Cammas and Sophie De Turckheim are eighth after finishing third, twenty-sixth and sixth; if the discard is applied then they would probably get into the fight for the podium.

The championship is organized by the Sports Federation Union of Catalonia (UFEC) and the Catalan Sailing Federation, with the support of the Barcelona City Council, the Government of Catalonia, Barcelona Royal Yacht Club (RCNB) and the Royal Maritime Club of Barcelona (RCMB). It’s being held at the BISC until next Saturday, the last day which is reserved for the Medal Race, the grand finale where only the best ten crews will compete.

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