De Koning/Visser claim title

First Nacra Infusion Worlds conclude

Wednesday June 22nd 2011, Author: Diana Bogaards, Location: Netherlands

Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser from the Netherlands have won the first Nacra Infusion Worlds. They dominated the fleet and took the victory with an 11 point lead after nine races. Gunnar Larsen and Sam Frank maintained their second position overall, followed by the Australians Adam Beattie and Jamie Leitner.

The weather forecast showed strong and building winds for today, but the conditions in the morning were not that extreme. The fleet sailed with a southwestern breeze of force 4-5.

The Nacra carbon 20 sailors decided to stay ashore and 'save' their boats for the rest of the week, so there are no changes in podium positions. Mitch Booth (AUS) and Olivier Witteveen (NED) took the overall win. In the Open Class only one boat showed up for the start. Pierre Meermans and Oscar Brommer (NED) proved to be true winners and won the whole series.

One Nacra Infusion competed without jib and it turned out to be the leaders Coen de Koning and Thijs Visser. According to the forecast, the wind would build more and more. But was it a successful experiment? De Koning said: "It depends on how you look at it. We have learned something, but we were not faster. We practiced with it before and we tried it at the North Sea Cup in Belgium, but there we had flat water and it was blowing. We did not win or loose anything without jib, but I had the feeling we needed more practice. Today the breeze would increase as well and we had pretty big lead over the runners up, so it was time to experiment. Nobody else will do it, so if you don't try, you never know. But we only had 15 knots in de first race and it was hard to sail against the waves."

As a result the De Koning and Visser finished 5th and 4th today, which was still enough to win the title with a lead of 11 points. "That feels good", said de Koning. "There were a few strong teams. Until now we have had some issues this season and we were slowly improving. But so far, we haven't performed so well against the competitors. But the day is not over yet. We have to get ready for the Open Dutch Championships, starting this afternoon." De Koning on their strategy for this: "We will hoist the jib for sure."

Aussies Jamie Leitner and Adam Beattie were on fire today and climbed two places on the leaderboard, winning both races. "It was good," said Beattie. "We like this wind. It's the same as home, although it's not so cold out there."

But despite their wins this morning, they couldn't beat Gunnar Larsen en Sam Frank to second overall. Leitner and Beattie are third three points off Larsen and Frank. Beattie: "We came one race short. We didn't perform well on the first day and missed some important points there. But that's racing. On beforehand we did have a chance of winning the worlds. We beat all the competing teams before at the Dutch Open in May. But at least we're in the top three and that was our goal. It was a good regatta, with perfect conditions."

"We're second overall," stated Gunnar Larsen proudly. "We're very happy with that. The first race of today didn't go well, the second luckily we sailed better." Larsen and Frank finished sixth in the first match. Larsen: "We expected more wind, so we were a bit surprised. According to the forecast and the actual sight of the sea, we thought it was blowing harder. We tacked a bit too early to the sea and lost several meters to the other teams. We came in sixth, which isn't a good result for us. The second race we did better and finished third. We started at the pin end and were immediately up to speed. We raced conservatively, only focusing on keeping our second ranking overall. And now it's over. We are very satisfied with our silver medal."

Dominique van Asselt, at 15 years old, was not only the youngest competitor, but she is also the best female sailor and mixed crew of the 2011 Nacra Infusion Worlds. Willem Geijssen and Dominique van Asselt finished fourth overall. Her eyes light up as the Olympic Games of 2016 are mentioned: "Yes, I do have ambitions for sure." These Nacra Infusion Worlds have been her first F18 racing experience. "It was fun", she says. This afternoon she will switch back to her own Hobie 16 as helmsman with Ingrid Bakker as crew. The girls will compete in the Texel Dutch Open. Geijssen will continue with Gilles Tas from Belgium.

Top five Nacra Infusion Worlds 2011 (33 entries) after nine races, including a discard:

1. NED - De Koning/Visser, 17 points
2. NED - Larsen/Frank, 28 points
3. AUS - Beattie/Leitner, 31 points
4. NED - Geijssen/Van Asselt, 33 points
5. GBR - Piggott/Garcka, 37 points

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