Photo: Laurens Morel

Unproductive day on the water

Italy's Vincenzo Sorrentino and Barbara Rinauro lead after tentative start to the Nacra 17 Worlds

Tuesday July 23rd 2013, Author: James Boyd, Location: Netherlands

The second day of the Nacra 17 Worlds was very trying. Again there was no wind in the morning and the long wait for the sailors began at 09:30 when the AP flag was hoisted for both fleets.

Coaches told their sailors to stay out of the sun, because being in the full sun consumes energy and they had to save all that for racing.

The blue fleet sailors, who was scheduled to racethis afternoon, stayed in their hotels for as long as possible. The yellow fleet had to be on the beach, ready to leave as soon as the signal came. And that finally occurred at 15:30, when the blue fleet rushed out onto the water and managed to sail two races, in light winds and a strong current. Then the wind died out.

The yellow fleet was on the water already and tried three times to start and race, but due to lack of wind or change of wind direction the race committee had to abort the race three times. The fourth time the fleet finally succeeded to sail two rounds and the first of the pack headed for the finish, when the race was aborted after all, because of a massive wind shift. The sailors went back to the beach without having completed one race. By then it was 20:00 and the wind was gone altogether.

Particular day

Italians Vincenzo Sorrentino and Barbara Rinauro are in the lead after two races with 8 points, just before New Zealanders Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (10 points). The sailors from Naples, Italy, have sailed together for only one month and it was actually their first race together.

"It was good sailing," said helmsman Sorrentino, "but it was a particular day. There was a lot of current and light wind. The first race we did better, the second we fell a little behind. In april I sailed the World Cup in Hyeres with another crewmember, but she is a mother and couldn't spend much time for racing. So, now Barbara and I are a team. We have only trained together and didn't race yet. Before this I sailed Tornado. My best result is ninth at the Europeans and I was selected second for Beijing. Barbara has sailed the 420 and has no multihull experience at all. We agreed to take it step by step this week and see where we end."

Helmsman Gemma Jones and crew Jason Saunders of New Zealand came ashore with a seventh and a third place. "It was tricky sailing - the conditions were difficult," said Saunders. "It was not easy to start with that current and we couldn't always keep the lay line. We are not used to this. I sailed this water also in 2010 when I attended the Worlds 470, so I know it a little. The second race was even more difficult, because the wind started to die out at the end. But we were happy to sail two races and not to have been waiting all day again. It's been two long days waiting at the beach. For the next two days we hope to sail as many races as possible."

Austrians Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank won the first race, but were 12th in the second, due to the current. They now hold third. Zajac commented: "We noticed too late that the current changed. We were in the lead at first, but dropped a little after that. But we are happy. If we end up in the top ten overall it is good, we think. Also the Dutch team Renee Groeneveld and Karel Begemann had a good first race (second place), but scored a ninth in the second race. But with only two races sailed every option is still open."

The Dutch team of Mandy Mulder and Thijs Visser did very well in the yellow fleet and would have finished first, but just when they were about to cross the finish line, the race was aborted completely. "It was pretty exciting," said Mulder. "The conditions were difficult. Even I thought at some time 'where are we going', although it's my home water. We could almost touch the finish line, when the signal came. Only we and the British team Lucy Macgregor/Tom Phipps would have finished properly, the rest of the fleet ended up in a massive wind shift. It wouldn't have been right. After that shift the wind was gone completely. We started three times before and we were somewhere in the lead all the time. Our speed is good and the communication between me and Thijs is getting better. Although we couldn't understand each other today completely, because of the noise of the sails. We had to shout to each other. But we did well."

These are difficult days for the race committee as well. With no racing yesterday and only two races for one fleet today, tomorrow the yellow fleet will have to sail at least three races and the blue fleet one race, in order to begin the final series in Gold and Silver fleet on Thursday. Weather permitting more races will be sailed tomorrow.

The Nacra 17 World Championship is organised by the Foundation Nacra Events, The Dutch Sailing Federation (Watersportverbond) and Sailing Management International with support of (partners) City of The Hague, Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and Nacra Sailing International.

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