NEW ZEALAND’S NACRA 17 SAILORS: FROM KIEL TO DEN HAAG FOR WORLD CHAMPS
Two New Zealand Nacra 17 crews including Jason Saunders and Gemma Jones, and Tomer Simhony and Nicole Van der Velden are counting down for the upcoming World Championships.
Having just completed Kiel Week both crews and are en route to Den Haag, the Netherlands to set up for three weeks training before the Nacra 17 World Championships.
Kiel Week was a good regatta for both crews with Jason and Gemma making the top six medal race in fourth position.
The medal race was very windy 23 knots gusting 30 and freezing cold. They were the only combination of female helm and male crew in the medal race and it would appear that the male helms are experienced cat sailors and therefore have that on their side for now, but the general consensus is that in the end the combo of female helm and male crew will work better. However the jury is still out on this and on the optimum weight for the boat.
Jason and Gemma finished 6th and Tomer and Nicole 13th
The Nacra 17s are having a few teething problems and the kiwis are needing to get work done on their centre cases which are resulting in some leaking of the hulls and also causing the foils to not always stay up which is a problem down wind.
Many of the European crews have managed to get this fixed but the kiwis only arrived back in Europe four days before Kiel Week regatta so some work to be done. Otherwise the boats are very good and are proving popular.
The Nacra sailors are very friendly and the culture is great with everyone enjoying the learning experience. Nacra are totally oversubscribed with it being impossible to even buy sails before the Worlds (20-28 July). They are hopeful of 70 boats at the first Nacra 17 World Championships in Den Haag, Netherlands.
A further crew will join the New Zealanders in Den Haag and compete at Worlds:
Gareth Moore and Vicky Francis
Briar Dye-Hutchinson and Sam MacKenzie are purchasing a Nacra 17 to be shipped to New Zealand for the summer.
Anton Paz, Olympic 49er sailor from Spain, is going to be coaching the team during the World Champs and Murray Jones will coach them in the lead up.
Jason and Gemma finished 6th and Tomer and Nicole 13th.