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Nikola Girke and Luke Ramsay catapult into spring season

Nikola Girke and Luke Ramsay
Learn more about how Nacra 17 sailors Nikola Girke and Luke Ramsay are catapulting into their spring season.

I'm beginning to realize that Nacra 17 sailing is a bit like Nascar racing… or bull riding, or trying to tame a bucking horse.

We had an excellent training block in February which had us advance in many aspects of our sailing. Hunter Lowden, a 49er sailor from RVYC and teammate from the London Olympics, coached us for a week and provided a great perspective and had fresh ideas about how to sail the boats. Our other training camps were done with the US Team and were very productive, we were again sailing out on the ocean which provided us with some great conditions: big breeze and big waves. The TP 52 US Nationals were being raced right where we were training and the boats were looking at us with envy – everyone wants to be the fastest boat on the water! These were definitely very testing and tiring conditions for me as the crew.

After a bit of time off, we headed to Palma de Mallorca for the World Cup: Princess Sofia Trophy. It would be our first chance to sail in a huge fleet since the World Championships last year. With 74 boats registered, we sailed in split fleets. Unusual wind conditions made for some tricky racing, where lots of time was spent waiting for wind, and then when the wind came, it was out of directions we'd never sailed in or it was too much wind. We had a few races that we executed our plan really well and had some good results. In a few races we lost our way around the race track and had to play catch up … also a valuable skill that needs to be learned, but preferably not one you want to need to pull out. Our best comeback of the regatta was when things got really messy at the top mark by a big gust, we flipped, then having to right our capsized boat and being in the last few boats. Excellent focus and decisions were executed, having us cross the finish in 12th. On day four we had more wind (20knots +) and bigger waves, 6-8 ft! We had a great first upwind leg, finally finding our rhythm in this wild condition, only to round the top mark in third place, but then we plowed into a wave on the bear away and broke our spin pole in half causing us to retire from the rest of the races and drop big time in the standings. It was a tough end to a wild event but we are happy to still be over in Europe and have another crack at it – The third World Cup Event of the season in Hyeres, France starts on Monday and we are ready to roll. 81 boats registered… yeehaa!!!

There is an amazing video of the top mark rounding, where we flipped… we weren't the only ones, this truly shows we are the NASCAR of Olympic sailing. This video is a must see, it has been shared almost 1500 times on Facebook already. Thankfully nobody got hurt!

Nik and Luke website

by Nikola Girke and Luke Ramsay


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11:37 PM Tue 15 Apr 2014GMT

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