Italians repeat at Nacra 17 Europeans
Published on July 13th, 2018
Fifty-three teams competed in the Nacra 17 European Championship, held July 8-13 in Gdynia, Poland. After three days of qualifying, 27 teams advanced to the Gold Fleet in which a 7-race series would determine the top ten teams to vie for the title in the final Medal Race.
Difficult conditions during the championship left a backlog on the final day, with racing starting an hour early to compensate for lost races earlier in the week. But with 2017 European Champs Ruggero Tita and Catarina Banti (ITA) winning 6 of the 7 Gold Fleet races, the medal race was mostly a formality.
Mathematically the Italian pair could still fall out of contention – however unlikely – and indeed Tita and Banti saved their worst race for last. They started late, on port tack, while Rio Silver Medalists Jason Waterhouse/ Lisa Darmanin (AUS) charged off on foils to the left corner of the race course and a big lead.
With barely 5 minutes on each leg of the short Medal Race, Tita/Banti never found the chance to claw back positions, though they didn’t need to: Despite a 7th place and 14 points on the board, Tita/Banti became the first repeat European Champions in the foiling Nacra 17.
The Aussies would have a typically strong performance in the moderate winds while British Sailing Teammates Ben Saxton/ Nikki Boniface and John Gimson/ Anna Burnet – both ahead of the Aussies – fought each other around the short course.
Geniuses in the breeze, Waterhouse/Darmanin continued to extend their lead, and their bullet, combined with average finishes from the dueling English teams allowed them to jump both UK teams to take 5th for the event.
Top female helm Gemma Jones and crew Jason Saunders (NZL) finished just ahead of Tita/Banti while keeping a charging Fernando Echavarri/ Tara Pacheco (ESP) behind; they would hold on to the second podium place and earn their silver medal with a strong and consistent week, and just three races all week outside the top ten.
All week long Echavarri/Pacheco were smoking in the light air, but when the breeze came on they found it hard to hang with the leaders – a problem Echavarri said he and Tara “are working hard to fix” before next month’s World Championship in Aarhus, Denmark.
North America update: Four teams competed, with Riley Gibbs/ Louisa Chafee (USA) and Ravi Parent/ Caroline Atwood (USA) finishing 8th and 21st in Gold, respectively. In Silver, Bora Gulari/ Helena Scutt (USA) and Sarah Newberry/ David Liebenberg (USA) finished 3rd and 7th, respectively.
Final Results (Top 5 of 27)
1. ITA Ruggero Tita, Caterina Banti 34
2. NZL Gemma Jones, Jason Saunders 47
3. ESP Fernando Echavarri, Tara Pacheco 56
4. DEN Lin Cenholt, CP Lubeck 64
5. AUS Jason Waterhouse, Lisa Darmanin 74
Source: Nacra 17 Class