On the first day of the final series at the Nacra 17 World Championship, the French Billy Besson and Marie Riou extended their lead in The Hague, Netherlands. As expected, it was again a sunny and quiet day. The sailors got more time to recover from a full day of action yesterday, as AP was up until 16:12 hours. The race committee managed to get in one race for the Gold Fleet.
Gold fleet lining up - 2013 Nacra 17 World Championship
After the breeze shifted to the west and picked up to 8-10 knots, the boats were sent out for the second time today.
The British Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond took an early lead, followed by the French Moana Vaireaux/Manon Audinet and Billy Besson/Marie Riou. Riou: 'We were third at the first upwind mark and stayed behind the British until the gate. On that run we already gained some distance. We had a good speed and we had a little fight with the other French boat and the British. In the second beat we were able to take over the lead, where after we kept that position.'
Saxton and Diamond finished second, followed by Vaireaux and Audinet. This is also the overall ranking to date, with a seven points gap between the top two.
Besson and Riou had a difficult start of the Nacra 17 World Championship with a 21st position in light air. According to Besson however they don't have favourite conditions. 'We like to play the game. There is a strong current, so it is difficult for everybody. You have to think about your tactics all the time, which is really nice.' Being asked whether the fact that he won the F18 Worlds prior to the Nacra 17 Worlds did boost his motivation, Besson laughs and Riou answers: 'Yes, he is definitely in the winning mood.'
Second placed Saxton/Diamond: 'It looked like it was going to be a five knot race, but then pre-start it filled in to 10 knots. We were having quite a lot fun but then it dropped off to probably seven or eight knots for the race. We still had one person trapezing upwind and the other one occasionally, and we were flying a hull downwind. It was good fun. We sailed well today - we got on the start line early and held our space. We had an OK start, managed to hold our lane for 30 seconds to a minute, tacked out went right and got some good pressure. We were really quick after that, both upwind and downwind so that was good news.'
The Dutch Mandy Mulder and Thijs Visser won the qualification series, tied on points with Besson and Riou, but they lost points today with a 18th position. Mulder: 'We chose the wrong side of the course. We had a good start and planned to go to the left, which we did. It was hazy, so we saw the boats on the right a bit later. The current seemed to give the wrong picture as well. First it looked like we were doing good business, until we tacked. They were far ahead and gone. This strong current makes it impossible to make up for any losses. This result is a real pity, especially because our discard in the qualification series was a fourth. Now, we can only hope for four more races. We have two days left.' Mulder and Visser are currently in sixth position, one point behind number five.
There are three final races needed to start the Medal Race and five to discard the worst result. That makes two discards: one in the qualification and one in the final series. For tomorrow there are three races planned for the Silver fleet and two for the Gold, but the weather forecast remains the biggest challenge.
Top Five Gold Fleet after six races and one discard:
1. FRA 43 - Besson/Riou, 8 points
2. GBR 60 - Saxton/Diamond, 15 points
3. FRA 65 - Vaireaux/Audinet, 16 points
4. ITA 37 - Bissaro/Sicouri, 24 points
5. NZL 102 - Jones/Saunders, 24 points
Nacra 17 Worlds