Olympic squad musical chairs

Stephen Park brings us up to speed on progress with the Nacra 17 and 49er FX
For the next Games the sailing events will of course feature two brand new classes. With the departure of the Star and Women’s Match Racing, so for the women there is the welcome arrival of the Women’s skiff, the 49erFX, a 49er with a cut-down rig, and the overdue return of a multihull, the Nacra 17, to be sailed by a mixed crew. While kiteboards were in and the RS:X sailboards were out for six months last year, this decision was overturned at the ISAF Council meeting in Dun Laoghaire at the beginning of November. With these changes, so musical chairs is currently going on in Britain’s Olympic sailing team with people swapping classes and new crew pairings emerging. The next Games will also see a departure of several grandees of British Olympic sailing with the likes of Ben Ainslie, Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson unlikely to be returning following the demise of the Star as an Olympic class. For many Olympic sailors one of the principle issues at present is getting up to speed with the new equipment. Nacra 17 The first two Nacra 17 catamarans arrived in the UK at the beginning of January followed soon after by two more although according to Park, Team GBR wasn’t among the first wave of national teams to receive boats and some other countries received boats in the autumn. However the new Olympic catamaran hasn’t been without teething problems and impressively the Nacra 17 has been having issues with both its carbon masts and its curved daggerboards. “There have been different issues with different masts,” says Park. “One mast split up the front seam and peeled in half which is not very good, the result being that our boats were delivered with alloy masts, so we haven’t had any of those carbon mast experiences. Right now