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Nacra 17: Gemma Jones holding second in Europeans

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 12 Jul 2018 17:27 PDT 13 July 2018
Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) - Nacra 17, Day 4 - 2018 Nacra 17 Europeans, Gydnia, Poland © Nacra 17 Europeans

2016 Olympic representatives Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders are continuing to hold second place in the European Championships for the Nacra 17.

After leading the competition for the first three days, the New Zealand crew dropped into second place after the now series leaders Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (ESP) scored back to back wins giving them a narrow lead in the series.

Gemma Jones (24) is the leading female helm in the series, ahead of a Danish crew in sixth place overall.

The event, being sailed in Gydnia, Poland, has attracted a fleet of 53 competitors and is the second highest ranked regatta on the class calendar - after the World Championships which get underway in Aarhus, Denmark at the end of July.

The European championship has attracted a top field, many of whom are struggling in the conditions of the last couple of days.

Jones and Saunders finished fourth at the Rio Olympics in the class, missing a medal by just three points despite winning a dramatic Medal Race.

Of the Rio medalists, Australia's Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin who won the Silver medal in the class are lying in fifth place overall. Crack Australian skipper Nathan Outteridge - Gold and Silver medalist in the 49er class lies in sixth place overall. The Artemis Racing helmsman has switched from the foiling AC50 used in the 2017 America's Cup to the foiling Olympic catamaran, and is sailing with his sister Hayley as a crew. This is just their second major regatta together. She was a trialist for the Australian team in the 49erFX skiff for the Rio Olympics, however the Australian national body declined to nominate any crew in the event turning down a Qualification place in Brazil.

The regatta is being sailed in conjunction with the 49er and 49erFX class.

Only one New Zealand crew is contesting the 49er - skippered by Isaac Mchardie, who are lying 21st overall in a 59 boat fleet. Their best place has been a win in the last race of the Qualifying round - where the fleet was sailing in two divisions. Only one race has been sailed so far in the Final round where the NZers finished 12th.

No New Zealand crews are competing in the 49er FX - and none of the Rio 2016 medalists are competing.

The World Championships for all three classes get underway at the end of July in Aarhus, Denmark. The regatta will also be the first and primary round of Olympic Qualifying for Tokyo 2020.

For full results of the Gold fleet in the Nacra 17 click here

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