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Nacra 17 Nationals- Counting the capsizes

by Rob Burn on 29 Jan 2014
Nacra 17 NZ Nationals 2014, Murray’s Bay Sailing Club John Adair

Rob Burn reports on the just concluded Nacra 17 Nationals at Murrays Bay.

(The Nacra 17 is the new mixed gender multihull class designed by USA's Melvin and Morelli especially for the mixed gender crew and for Olympic sailing. As competitors at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne found on the windy final day, the Nacra 17 will foil and will crash. Rob Burns takes up the story)

The boat that capsizes the least wins.....

That theory was tested and found true at the Nacra 17 Nationals Champs held at Murrays Bay over the weekend.

Yachting NZ Team members Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders gave out a lesson in heavy wind Catamaran sailing to the two newer crews of Rachel Basevi on the helm and Tomer Simhony, crew, and Taylor Burn on the helm and Vicky Francis as crew on the third boat.

Jones and Saunders won 10 of the 12 races, electing not to sail the last race.

The regatta was held in conjunction with the 29er Class Nationals in big winds and big waves, the third day recording gusts of near 30 knots in the third race of the day.

Race Officer John Jennings and his Team did a great job of the courses and getting all the races away with a brief interlude to allow the wind to moderate slightly. The upwind beats on a Windward Leeward course were set at 1.3 nautical miles then dropped to 1.2nm. With two legs the big catamarans flew round the course for a target time of 35 minutes, with a shortened course, that time came down to 30 minutes.

The two lesser experienced crews matched capsize for capsize to stay close on points but learning as they sailed and becoming more and more confident in the heavy wind conditions. Basvi and Simphony split a mainsail during the second race of the last day and with an almost heroic feat of sailing, got back to Milford Cruising Club, borrowed another sail and got back out just in time to contest the last race. A capsize by Burn and Francis saw Basevi and Simphony take the lead and record a well deserved win.

The final results were Jones/Saunders first, Basevi/Simphony second, Burn/Francis third.


The joint Prize giving at Murrays Bay Sailing Club had speakers commenting on how good it was for the 29er Youth Sailors to see the Nacra 17 Class in action and see an exciting boat to aspire to as they move onwards and upwards.

The Nacra 17 class has just established itself in New Zealand with three boats arriving from Europe last December. The 17.5 foot or 5.25 metre Catamaran was designed in 2011 and became the new Olympic mixed (male & female) multihull class for the next two Olympic cycles at least. The first World Championships were held in July in the Netherlands with Jones and Saunders finishing ninth overall. Simphony and Francis both competed also in separate boats but without established partners.

Last weekend's Championships were the first of two selection regattas for a place at the ISAF Worlds in Santander, Spain, this September. There are two spots on offer so expect some tight racing at this weekend's Sail Auckland for the final selection regatta, the two competing crews will be hoping Yachting NZ has applied for a third spot.

Happy sailing
Rob Burn

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