SUPERSTITION AND GOOD RACING AT FIRST DAY OF NACRA 17 WORLDS IN THE HAGUE – July 21 -
The practice race of the Nacra 17 Worlds today started out with superb conditions. At the start at 2 PM there was a medium sea breeze and sunny conditions. 66 Teams out of 24 countries registered for this new Olympic multihull class.
Today was only one race. Twice there was a general recall, because to many teams crossed the starting line to early. Partly because the current pushed them too much forward, partly to ‘test the racing committee’ as the sailors call it. At the third start the committee hoisted the black flag, which means that the teams who cross the line to early are then disqualified. Tomorrow the competition really starts, so the results of today actually don’t count. That’s why a lot of teams choose not to finish. Superstition tells them that a good result today will turn against them the rest of the week.
That also counted for one of the favourites for a podium position fresh F18 World Champion Billy Beson (FRA) with his new crew Marie Riou. “It was good racing”, tells Riou. “We were fourth the whole race, but we also didn’t want to tempt fate, so we crossed the finish line at the wrong site. Most important for us is that we have fun and pleasure during the races at all week. Also results of course. We are aiming for the Olympics in Rio and going for a medal at the Worlds here. We train a lot and especially I have to learn a lot. This is my first year in a multihull, I used to do match racing. Sailing a Nacra 17 is not the same. The game is totally different, and the speed also. But I have a good skipper, who taught me a lot. We plan to sail very fast this week.”
The Dutch teams will be very keen to win on its home water, taking advantage of an early start of the road to Rio 2016. Renee Groeneveld and Karel Begemann had a difficult start, but caught up with the rest of the leading pack. Groeneveld: “The speed was good and we chose some good sides with the current, because we know this water pretty well. We can handle the ever shifting sailing conditions of the coast of The Hague. Current and waves change everyday. We have good faith that we can sail pretty fast this week and compete with the top. Just like the rest of the Dutch teams. We also didn’t finish today, but that’s part of the game. If you win the practice race you’re doomed.”
Local Mandy Mulder, Beijing silver medalist in the Yngling, and Thijs Visser did well today and crossed the line in fifth place. They actually finished properly. Visser: “I don’t believe in superstition. You just have to win everything, no matter what. This race for us was basically to see what the course is like and tomorrow it’s going to be real. We made some mistakes in boat handling. A block was stuck, so downwind things went wrong. Also the wind changed just before the start, we thought there would be more wind, and therefore we had the wrong setup. But we didn’t do badly. We didn’t start in front of the pack, but then we overhauled some boats. In the last track we sailed to far out and had to reach back to the leeward mark, because we thought the current would be stronger by then, but obviously it wasn’t yet. Our goal this week is to finish in the top 8. We actually hope there will be some more wind, we are better then.”
Coen de Koning/Elke Delnooz
For Coen de Koning and Elke Delnooz the purpose of today was in line of their training sessions. Coen de Koning: “We wanted to practice the communication in the boat and also boat handling. We positioned ourselves where we wanted during the first two starts, because we knew there would be general recalls. We started at the pin end and had to reach to get to the left side of the track, we calculated that, but still it was tough. Downwind we and some other boats ended in a light wind area and were parked for a while. Today the wind was shifty, which we like. As a lighter team we can gain a lot by using good strategy and tactics, with more wind it’s tougher. The competition is good, we see that more sailors are getting better in this new class. You really can’t predict who is going to win this Worlds, so it going to be a nice and fair battle.”
Official racing starts tomorrow at 11 AM and will be concluded with one last fleet race and one Medal Race on Saturday July 27. A total of 14 to 16 races is scheduled. The qualification series consist of 8 races. Due to the light weather conditions the organisation decided to schedule three races tomorrow for both fleets (yellow and blue), the same on Tuesday and two races on Wednesday, originally a lay day. Thursday the final series will start in the Gold and Silver fleets.
The Nacra 17 World Championships are organized by the Foundation Nacra Events and Sailing Management International with support of (partners) The Dutch Sailing Federation (Watersportverbond), City of The Hague, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and Nacra Sailing International.
For more information about the Nacra 17 Worlds 2013, see www.nacra17worlds.com or contact Diana Bogaards or Marjolein Brandt.
Text press release: Marjolein Brandt