Two more bullets for de Koning and Visser
This morning on the second day of the 2011 Nacra Infusion Worlds and International Nacra Championships, the conditions were tough and on the limit even for the real diehards. A strong southwesterly caused damage on the Nacra 20 and the open class courses and many boats retired early. The Nacra Infusion fleet completed two races off the coast of Texel. Further racing was cancelled in the afternoon, as the wind picked up even more.
"I am too old for this," said Mitch Booth with a smile, as he watched the action on the North Sea, but dressed in shore clothes and with dry hair. "Let's say we are preserving the boat for the rest of the week, or is it the helm?" He didn't race today, but the runners up Xander Pols and Sascha Larsen did. Pols: "We could double the rest of the fleet. I think we were the only one who hoisted the spinnaker. It was pretty extreme. The waves broke at the top mark. The main reason why we went out today, is to test the boat in these conditions. We wanted to know whether the Nacra 20 performs in stronger wind as well and she does." Booth and Witteveen are still leading, followed by Pols and Larsen.
Meanwhile in the Nacra Infusion Worlds, Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser enjoyed the stronger breeze and swell more than most. They were on fire and added two more bullets to their series. They built up a lead of 11 points after seven races. Visser: "We were really up to speed in the first race, especially downwind. We were first at the top mark, did a good set up and only pushed when others caught up a bit. The second race was a photo finish with Adam and Jamie. I didn't know who won."
Britons Grant Piggott and Robby-Jon Garcka lost their second position to Gunnar Larsen and Sam Frank from the Netherlands. Piggott and Garcka were unlucky in the first race of the day. The top of the British jib ripped off the halyard and the downhaul broke. Piggott: "We still managed to finish fifth without the jib." They made a quick pit stop to change sails and returned just in time. "Because we were in such a hurry, we didn't set it up properly, so the other side of the downhaul broke in the second race." With a fifth and seventh place today, they dropped to a third position overall.
Sam Frank gave his take: "Four or five boats took the lead and were far ahead. It was blowing and then you see heavier teams taking advantage. We have an average weight and have to work hard to keep up. But it went well. Yesterday the lighter crews had a slight advantage. Fortunately, we can do both." The sea state was not easy as well. "The waves were difficult. They were steeper than on Monday and with more troughs. In that case you have to sail further on the edge and downwind you have to be careful to not nose dive. The final downwind leg in the last race we still wanted to overtake a boat, so we decided to take those risks and it has paid off. We finished just ahead of them."
It is not news that Aussies love the big breeze. Adam Beattie and Jamie Leitner were flying out of the starting blocks this morning. Maybe a bit too enthusiastic, as they pitchpoled whilein second position and finished fourth. They were leading the second race, but just lost it on the finish line. Their fellow countrymen Mick Guinea and Viv Haydon did "much better today", as they described it. Guinea: "It was just like home, only colder, but awesome sailing. Yesterday we had some issues with the boat, so we could not finish the last race. Hopefully we can climb up the leader board with today's results." They scored two sixth places and are in thirteenth position overall.
Willem Geijssen and Dominique van Asselt from the Netherlands gave a good show of mixed multihull sailing. They sailed conservatively, stayed upright and finished third and fourth. "Dominique did an amazing job", said Geijssen proudly. "She is quick and upwind she doesn't stop sheeting. It was amazing." The pair climbed to a fourth position overall. Their mixed crew competitors Jorden Veenman and Marja van Helden dropped to a sixth place.
Top five Nacra Infusion Worlds 2011 (33 entries) after 7 races, including a discard:
1. NED - De Koning/Visser, 8 points
2. NED - Larsen/Frank, 19 points
3. GBR - Piggott/Garcka, 28 points
4. NED - Geijssen/Van Asselt, 28 points
5. AUS - Beattie/Leitner, 29 points