Full race day
A full day of racing was completed at the Nacra 17 Worlds off The Hague, after yesterday the blue fleet had managed to sail just two races and the yellow fleet none. In order to get five results in each fleet the yellow fleet today had to sail five races and the blue fleet three - a challenge not just for the race committee, but the yellow fleet sailors too.
Thankfully today there was enough wind, 15-17 knots, throughout the day. After a long day on the water, by 18:30 all the boats were back on the beach. Tomorrow the 65 teams from 24 countries will be divided into Gold (top 25) and Silver fleets.
The most trying part today again was the current, which at some points was running at three knots. Not many sailors are used to this kind of current and struggled with it. After five races the Dutch team Mandy Mulder and Thijs Visser lead on seven points with France's Billy Besson and Marie Riou second, also on seven points, sorted on tie break.
"It was a long and tiring day," said Thijs Visser. "We had to keep focused for five races, that was hard. The last race there was little wind again and a lot of current, difficult to sail against it. We sailed very different races, at times it was very simple and you just had to sail very fast in one direction, the other times we discussed what would be the best strategy. We fell behind a couple of times, but could fight our way back. About the current, we have the luxury to have two coaches on the water to keep track of that and inform us. We're looking forward to the rest of the week. Today was an important day, with the selection for the gold and silver fleet. We sailed a very solid series with only first to fourth places. We're very happy."
The French team lived up to their expectation of being one of the favourites. "We were glad we had only three races today," said Billy Besson. "Today the competition really started and that was great. We find the current difficult. I sail a lot in the Mediterranean, we don't have it there. We have to keep looking for its direction and have to keep focused on that. We are lucky to be in second position. I am in a lot of projects in other boats and don't have the time to train a lot with Marie. The last time we sailed together was in Hyeres two month ago. Basically we're more racing than training. We've been sailing for six months together now and Marie has to get used to multihull sailing, she was in the Olympics in match racing. Our goal is the Olympics in Rio, but we'll see."
Holding third is the Swiss team of Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger. For them the day started and ended very stressful.
"We broke a part of the rudder this morning, so we had to fix it," recounted Brugger. "We only came in the race area two minutes before the first start. But we managed to start in time and were happy with the speed today. We were fast. Also the last race was confusing. The blue fleet had started, but the race was aborted because they didn't reach the windward mark in time. By the time they were back in the starting area it appeared that the yellow fleet had to start and the blue fleet had to wait. We were resting way out of there and couldn't get back in time due to the strong current. We started three minutes late. That's why you see a twentieth place in our scoring. Luckily we can discard that one. We are happy though with our performance. It's going to be different tomorrow. Sailing in the gold fleet means the competition is even stronger, we're sailing against the best now."
In fourth place is a second French team - Moana Vaireaux/Manon Audinet. They won gold at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik in May and bronze at Princess Sofia in Palma.
"It was fun today," said Vaireaux. "There was more wind and less tricky sailing. You see the same guys in the front every race against whom you are battling. We didn't think the current would be that strong, we have sailed the North Sea Regatta series in May also on this water and it seemed less then. But we managed. We already are sailing together for 1,5 year. I used to be the coach of Manon in the Hobie 16, so we know each other pretty well. We were the first mixed crew in France. Today was trying weather and waves, some boats capsized or nearly did that. It is nice to be in the gold fleet, better than have the races divided in two fleets. Now you know immediately where you stand during racing."
Full results here