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Kiwis survive wild opening to 49er, FX and Nacra 17 Worlds in Nova Scotia

by Michael Brown Yachting NZ 31 Aug 17:21 PDT 1 September 2022
Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson sailing on Day 1 of the Nacra 17 Worlds in Nova Scotia - August 2022 © World Sailing

Nova Scotia dished up a hostile welcome on the opening day of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 world championships today, with pitch poles, capsizes and broken gear common.

A bit of breeze had been forecast with an advancing front and it delivered, with a combination of winds close to 30 knots and steep 1.5m waves making life challenging for many. The 49ers managed to get only one race in as the front whipped through in the afternoon and in one fleet all but about eight boats capsized.

Most of the New Zealand crews competing escaped relatively unscathed. Micah Wilkinson and Erica Dawson were the best placed of the Kiwis in fifth in the Nacra 17, Jo Aleh and Molly Meech are seventh and Alex Maloney and Olivia Hobbs 16th in the 49erFX, and Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn were the leading New Zealand boat in the 49er in 17th overall.

The Nacra 17 and 49erFX both enjoyed the best sailing conditions of the day, with both classes getting in three races in the morning session.

Wilkinson and Dawson are among the contenders in the Nacra 17 fleet following an impressive run of results in Europe this year and were satisfied to bank scores of seventh, eighth and second.

"It was a solid enough start for us having three top 10s," Dawson said. "The last one was cool. We separated ourselves a little on the first beat and managed to get some clear air so we could sail our own race and foil the whole time.

"The breeze got up during it and by the end we were just trying to get the boat around the course. It was a pretty cool day, good breeze, good fun and cool to be out there."

For Aleh and Meech, this is their first world championships together after Aleh announced earlier this year a return to Olympic campaigning after a five-year break. They have made steady progress in 2022 and registered two top-10 results in their three races today.

"We felt like we had pretty good pace and managed to catch up in a few races," Meech said. "Overall, we were really happy because we kept the mast upright and kept things pretty clean around the race track. We’re looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow and getting stuck in."

The 49ers are likely to attempt four races tomorrow as race management look to catch up on the racing they missed today. It's difficult to get a clear picture of form in the men's skiff after only one race, and a particularly challenging one at that.

Dunning Beck and Gunn were ninth in their race but admitted they had a couple of hairy moments.

"We launched into some pretty serious breeze and it built throughout the race," Dunning Beck said. "It was a hell of a race. We had a huge pitch pole on the first downwind after a pretty tough start and broke the trapeze bungy.

"We managed to survive the second run and turn it into a ninth when everyone else went in [the water] around us. We’ve wet the whistle to start the regatta and just held it together enough to put a decent score on the board. A few of the other guys had a good one and some others had a bad one with some huge crashes and plenty of broken kit."

The next two days are likely to dish out more diverse weather as the North Atlantic settles down after the frontal passage moves eastward.

It will come as a relief for many of the competitors, as well as the boat builders.

Results and standings after day 1 of the 49er, 49erFx and Nacra 17 World Championships in Nova Scotia:

49er (65 boats) 1st: Erwan Fischer / Clement Pequin (FRA) 1 - 1 point 2nd: Chris Taylor / Rhos Hawes (GBR) 1 - 1 pt 3rd: Jakub Sztorch / Mikolaj Staniul (POL) 2 - 2 pts

17th: Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) 9 - 9 pts 25th: Sam Bacon / Henry Gautrey (NZL) 13 - 13 pts 43rd: Isaac McHardie / William McKenzie (NZL) 22 - 22 pts

49erFX (36 boats)

1st: Odile van Aanholt / Annette Duetz (NED) 2 1 1 - 4 pts 2nd: Tamara Echegoyen / Paula Barcelo (ESP) 4 2 3 - 9 pts 3rd: Vilma Bobeck / Rebecca Netzler (SWE) 5 3 2 - 10 pts

7th: Jo Aleh / Molly Meech (NZL) 9 20 8 - 37 pts 16th: Alex Maloney / Olivia Hobbs (NZL) 10 26 13 - 49 pts

Nacra 17 (34 boats)

1st: Reuggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 1 1 1 - 3 pts 2nd: Sinem Kurtbay / Akseli Keskinen (FIN) 5 2 3 - 10 pts 3rd: Emil Jarudd / Hanna Jonsson (SWE) 2 4 6 - 12 pts

5th: Micah Wilkinson / Erica Dawson (NZL) 7 8 2 - 17 pts

Full results click here

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