The 2016 Nacra 17, 49er, and 49erFX World Championships kicked-off at Clearwater, Florida, USA overnight (Tuesday, 9 February 2016 EST local time) but only one race was completed in the 49er and Nacra 17 fleets.
Racing had to be cancelled after winds built from a manageable 14 knots up to a ripping 18+knots during race one, making for some dramatic conditions in the shallow waters of Clearwater Beach.
Nacra 17 World #1 Jason Waterhouse (NSW) and Lisa Darmanin (NSW) made the most of it and finished in fourth in the 35-boats fleet – quite an achievement in the challenging conditions and after the day had started out with extra hurdles to overcome before even making it on to the water.
The Australians were one of a number of crews who had come down to the boat park in the morning to discover that some of their kit had either been damaged or disappeared altogether after stormy winds and a high tide had washed the water high up the beach, with a few boats actually afloat on the shallow sands. Some teams’ sails were buried below the sand, there was damage to some hulls, but for Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin their sail and equipment box had floated away completely. Fortunately it showed up in a marina further down the coast and Waterhouse was able to use his waterlogged equipment to notch up a fourth place finish.
In the 49er, Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge (NSW) and Iain Jensen (NSW) started off with a 15th in the split fleet and are ranked 29th after day one in the 56-boats fleet. Australian Sailing Team’s David Gilmour (WA) and new crew Lewis Brake (QLD) finished fifth to sit in ninth place, while teammates Joel Turner (QLD) and new crew Tom Siganto (QLD) finished the race in 12th and are ranked 23rd.
Over the course of the race, the pressure consistently mounted and the fleet just about made it across the finish line in one piece and the race committee made the call to cancel the second start. The FX women waited on shore and never made it out on day one.
“When we got out there this morning it wasn’t too bad and around 15 knots at the start of the race. During the race the breeze built a little bit more and the waves got a big bigger. After the race finished it got pretty hairy and it built up to about 25knots and huge waves. So it was a good idea to call it and send everyone in. We were lucky not to break any gear and I think everyone who didn’t today was very lucky.” Joel Turner said about the conditions.
“We had a pretty good race with Dave (Gilmour), who finished fifth. We were in front of them at some stage but they managed to sail past us and we finished twelfth, so it wasn’t too bad. We’ re a bit behind schedule now, so I assume they will put on extra races over the next few days. Tomorrow could be another write-off with still plenty of breeze forecast and I think the sea state will stay around for a while and cause a bit of drama,” Joe Turner added.
Racing is scheduled to resume on Wednesday, February 10, 2016 with the 49erFX women scheduled to start racing at 11am EST (AEST plus 16hrs).
Follow results here: http://www.saillife.com/#!results/xnacl
Race Schedule: Qualifying from the 9-11th of February. Silver and Gold fleet racing from the 12-14th with the Medal races on the 14th.
Australian Sailing Team (AST) & Squad (ASS) at Nacra 17, 49er/49erFX World Championships
Results as of Tuesday, 9 February 2016 (EST):
Mixed Multi-hull – Nacra 17
– Jason Waterhouse (NSW) & Lisa Darmanin (NSW) – AST: 4 – 4th
– Euan McNicol (NSW) & Lucinda Whitty (NSW) – ASS: 17 – 17th
Men’s Skiff – 49er
– Nathan Outteridge (NSW) & Iain Jensen (NSW) – AST: 15 – 29th
– David Gilmour (WA/WAIS/AST) & Lewis Brake (QLD/QAS/ASS): 5 – 9th
– Joel Turner (QLD/QAS/AST) & Tom Siganto (QLD/QAS/ASS): 12 – 23rd
– Harry Price (NSW/ASS Youth Bridging) & Harry Morton (NSW/ASS Youth Bridging): DNF – 56th
Women's Skiff – 49erFX
– Olivia Price (NSW) & Eliza Solly (VIC/VIS) – ASS
– Haylee Outteridge (NSW/ASS) & Nina Curtis (NSW/ASS)
– Tess Lloyd (VIC/VIS) & Caitlin Elks (WA/WAIS) – ASS
Initial information from the Nacra 17, 49er and 49erFX Worlds in Clearwater, Florida, show that the defending champions in two classes have started their defence with a race win.
In the Nacra 17, Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) won the only race of the first day, followed by Matias Buhler/Nathalie Brugger (SUI) and Iker Martinez/Julia Rita (ESP). Australia's Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin were fourth.
In the 49er, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) continued their amazing dominance of the class with a bullet, as did Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen (DEN) in the other fleet. Olympic champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen had their usual poor start to a regatta, recording a 15th place. Their compatriots David Gilmour and Lewis Brake had a much better start, finishing fifth.
There was no racing in the 49erFX owing to the difficult conditions which were explained this way on the official site:
No racing so far today, fleet is sent back ashore, too much wind for 9er classes and Nacra 17. The race course only has 3 or 4 meter of water. Quite shallow. Therefore the waves are very steep and short behind one another.
A more detailed report will be posted when it is received.