From September 2nd to 10th 60 crews representing 25 different nations will battle it out on the Bay of Aigues Mortes challenging for the Nacra 17 World Championships.
This first major world championship event of the new Olympiad will be the first to feature the Olympic multihull in full foiling flying mode and sees the return of Rio’s three Olympic medal winning pairs to compete against each other in this exciting new configuration.
Among the eight teams which could be considered favourites are Argentina’s gold medal winners Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza and France’s Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet who will be racing on the French duo’s home training waters.
A new era.
Launched in 2012 for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, the Nacra 17 – mixed Olympic catamaran – is in the throes of a revolution, the conversion to foils which make it fly. Training and racing time in this new foiling configuration available to the world championship contenders has been very limited so far and so the most are still on a relatively steep learning curve. This will be an important first world level test.
Who will succeed Billy Besson and Marie Riou?
France’s famous four times world champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou are taking time out to pursue different challenges and so are not competing this year, but are expected to reunite after Riou’s participation in the Volvo Ocean Race. And so these world championships will seek to find successors.
Among those who may step up and take the title are the hugely experienced gold medal winners Argentina’s Santiago Lange and crew Cecilia Carranza Saroli, silver medalists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin of Australia and Austria’s Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank.
Among those who finished in the top 10 in Rio is the British helm Ben Saxton who now sails with Katie Dabson, the New Zealanders Gemma Jones and Jason Saunder, Italy’s Vittorio Bissaro who is with Maelle Frascari or Spaniards Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco.
From France Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet are at the top of a strong team of seven different crews lining up under the tricolour of the host nation. Most of them are very familiar with La Grande Motte and the waters there as they have regularly trained here over recent years.
Aside from the established names in the class this championship should see the emergence of many new faces: young sailors and crews from other classes such as the 49er or the foiling Moth. And as yet there are many unknowns about the handling and how to make the foiling Nacra 17 perform best on the different points of sail. So the 2017 World Championship promises to be open as well as exciting.
The Yacht Club of La Grande Motte at the controls.
The Yacht Club of La Grande Motte has organised and hosted dozens of major sailing events. They hosted and ran a very successful and popular 2014 Nacra 17 European Championship. An experienced team of 90 people are mobilized locally to run the championship. And already for more than 15 days there have been a dozen crews training on the world championship waters. And more are arriving every day.
*Following a training accident on Wednesday, two times International Moth World Champion Bora Gulari will not now compete. US Olympian is reported to be making good progress after his release from hospital.
Saturday 2 September
Registration and Measurement
6:00 pm: Opening Ceremony – Western Ground
Sunday 3 September
Registration and Measurement
Monday 4 September
11h30: Security briefing
13h55: Training regatta
Tuesday 5 – Thursday 7 September
10h55: Qualifying races
Friday 8 – Saturday 9 September
10h55: Fleet races
Sunday 10 September
09: 55: Fleet races
13h55: Medal Race
by Camille El Beze