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Nacra 15 Season - 2021 Year in Review

by UK Nacra 15 Class Association / Nacra UK 31 Dec 2021 02:58 PST
Nacra 15 - Year in Review © Didier Hillaire

The Sailor's View - Ben Harris

With a lockdown complicating everyone's return to sailing after Christmas, we made the most of the time off the water with weekly Zoom fitness sessions, run by our super-coach Nikki Boniface! As the lockdown began to ease, we were lucky to be able to get some time on the water at WPNSA with the rest of the UK squad, getting back up to speed and ready for an exciting year ahead...

Our first racing event of the year was held at Stokes Bay, with wind ranging from 5-25 knots over the weekend. Our two race wins were accompanied by a DNF caused by a breakage, but we were very grateful to the team at NacraUK who made it possible for us to get back on the water for our training camp the following week.

We had some glamour conditions for our summer training camps, with great input from coaches Nikki Boniface (Nacra 17 European Champion) and former youth catamaran sailor and America's Cup sailor Oli Greber, with the intensity ramping up as we got closer to the RYA Youth Nationals.

This year's Youth Nationals took place in Plymouth, a new venue for the Nacra 15 fleet, and with every team scoring a podium result within the first day, the scene was set for a week of super close racing. Some mixed results for us during the week were complemented by straight-bullets on an epic windy and wavy final day, finishing in second place overall behind Theo and Millie, and just ahead of Jas and Alfie who secured the under 19 title and Youth World's selection.

We quickly moved to the UK Nacra 15 Nationals at Weston SC in September. The weather limited the event to just one day of racing, starting with some light tactical racing and finishing with full speed action in 15-20 knots, and we were super happy to take the UK National Championship title.

Five GBR boats headed to La Grande-Motte in France at the start of November for the Nacra 15 World Championships, excited for some international racing after almost two years. It was great to catch up with friends and enjoy some windy conditions to wrap up my time in the Nacra 15, having been in the class for 4 years.

Having come to the end of my time sailing the Nacra 15, I was quick to jump at the opportunity to get involved with some coaching, spending a few cold and windy weekends in a RIB chasing the next generation of Nacra sailors around Portland Harbour. It has been great to experience the full circle of the Nacra 15 class, and I'm looking forward to seeing the class's exciting plans for 2022!

Ben

The Dealer's View - Nacra UK

After all the frustration and disappointment of last year brought about by the pandemic, 2021 turned out to be a great year for Nacra UK and the UK Nacra 15 fleet. Not only were there a significant number of training and coached squad days in Weymouth (facilitated by the excellent Nikki Boniface and a range of experienced assistant coaches, including ex-Olympians and current Americas Cup sailors) but also some great racing, both domestically and internationally culminating in the Open Worlds held in France in October (with over 80 entries despite some remaining travel restrictions) and the Youth World Championships held in Oman in December.

It was great to see so many new sailors not only try out the Nacra 15 at one of the taster days organised by the UK class association, but also start their very own youth campaigns. Equally it was incredibly satisfying to see some of the older teams that are now moving on, continue to stay loyal to the Nacra brand by joining other catamaran racing fleets, including those selected for the Nacra 17 British Sailing Squad, part of the Olympic pathway.

For Nacra Sailing it has been another incredible year with the launch of a new recreational boat as well as some exciting developments across the range (watch this space for further announcements!). For Nacra UK, it has been a year of change with Lindsey and Grant Piggott deciding to leave the company to focus on their other successful sail-making business (plus spend some more time with the grandchildren), and James Williams coming on board as a Shareholder and Director.

With all that has happened over the last 12 months, we now couldn't be more excited about the year ahead and look forward to continuing to engage, support and help grow the UK Nacra 15 fleet - the fastest and most exciting youth pathway boat out there with the opportunity to race and foil, all on the one same platform!

Carl & James

Interviews From The Fleet - New & Old

Theo Williams - Age: 20, Sailing Club: WPNSA

What sailing had you done before you joined the Nacra 15?

Before transitioning into the Nacra 15, I grew up on and around family boats in Falmouth, Cornwall. After getting a small taste of sailing, I did some racing in Fevas, but with so many other commitments I eventually stopped sailing. A couple of years later, my dad and I decided to have a trial session down at my local sailing school and get involved with some catamaran sailing. Immediately, I loved the speed and adrenaline rush that accompanied such high-performance boats, leading me once again to wanting to get involved. I decided to join the UK multihull class, which at the time was as part of the Spitfire fleet, and become a part of the Youth Programme where I began to make so many new friends and experience sailing's full potential. I loved it. When the Spitfire was then replaced and the exciting new Nacra 15 was introduced, I decided to move over, and thus began my time as part of the Nacra 15 class!

How long have you been sailing the Nacra 15, and what has been your favourite experience so far?

I started helming the Nacra 15 in 2016, when I was 15 years old. Now in 2021, I have only just finished my time as a part of the Nacra 15 fleet, after competing in the 2021 Open World Championships and RYA Youth Nationals at 20 years old.

My favourite experience would definitely have to be representing GBR at the 2019 Youth World Championships that took place in Gdynia, Poland, after gaining selection at the 2019 RYA Youth Nationals. The atmosphere at the event was incredible, and I especially loved the opening and closing ceremonies where I got to meet all the other competitors.

What are your future sailing hopes and aspirations?

My greatest ambition is to represent GBR at the 2028 Olympics helming in the Nacra 17, with my sister Jasmine Williams. I would also love to keep travelling the world with my sailing, experiencing lots of different cultures, and seeing how far it can take me, as I strive to keep pushing myself to be the best sailor I can be.

What's the best thing you've learnt from joining the Nacra 15?

I feel I have gained so many great attributes from my experience in the Nacra 15 - learning how to work well in a team and get the best out of the people I sail with. It has also taught me how to work hard towards a goal, and that nothing is impossible!

What advice would you give someone thinking of joining the Nacra 15 class?

Get involved! I think the main piece of advice I would give to someone is don't hesitate in asking lots of questions! It's a great opportunity to learn from, and experience high performance sailing, in a fun, safe and fast boat. You will get to meet so many new people and truly experience everything sailing can offer you.

Tara Scully - Age: 15, Sailing Club: St Mawes SC

What sailing had you done before you joined the Nacra 15? Before sailing the Nacra 15, I sailed the RS Feva for 2 years in the regional training squad.

How long have you been sailing the Nacra 15 and what has been your favourite experience so far?

I started sailing the Nacra 15 at the end of summer in 2020 (18 months ago), and despite being locked down earlier this year I have had incredible coaching on and off the water. My favourite experience has been the 2021 RYA Youth Nationals in Plymouth where it was amazing to be part of such a supportive and encouraging class.

What are your future sailing hopes and aspirations?

My long term goal is to win the RYA Youth Nationals and make it to the Youth World Championships with my brother Jacques.

What's the best thing you've learnt from joining the Nacra 15?

All of the skills that I have learnt are massively transferable however in my opinion the most useful is to reset and carry on after something goes wrong. Also, our coach Niki Boniface told me to 'attack the boat and not let the boat attack me' this has helped me significantly with confidence and reassures me that I'm in control.

What advice would you give someone thinking of joining the Nacra 15?

Just do it! Although it might seem scary at first, once you set sail you'll soon be flying and having the best time!

Why The Nacra 15?

The Nacra 15 was specifically designed to meet World Sailing's criteria and become the official Youth Multihull. With significant immediate success, the fast-growing Nacra 15 Class in its C-Foil (curved daggerboard) configuration, is now extremely popular and represents the most-desired fleet in Youth World Championship Sailing - even more so due to its unique position at the Youth Olympic Games.

The Nacra 15 is a smaller version of the original Olympic Nacra 17 Mixed Multihull, creating a true Olympic pathway. Designed in 2015, the Nacra 15 offers high performance, super competitive racing with speeds up to 20 knots and beyond - a performer on its own. Also, with the Nacra 15 FCS (Flight Control System) and the single-handed Nacra 15 FCS ONE, it offers an unrivalled opportunity to get in to multihull foiling - of considerable interest to everyone, not just youngsters.

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