New leaders at Niner-Nacra Worlds

Published on November 17th, 2021

Mussanah, Oman (November 17, 2021) – A big challenge for the teams competing at the 2021 Nacra 17, 49erFX, and 49er World Championships has been trying to see the puffs, as the bright waters and endless sun don’t leave much shading to see the variances. As a result, there are new leaders on day two for all three Olympic classes.

It might be expected that the most decorated Nacra 17 sailors lead the fleet but today’s shift by Italians Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari to the top slot didn’t come easy. Bissaro and Frascari, the 2019 world champions, were most consistent with a 2,4,1 scoreline to hold a two-point lead over both Paul Kolhoff and Alicia Stuhlemmer (GER), and John Gimson and Anna Burnett (GBR), Tokyo’s bronze and silver medalists respectively.

Despite more mixed scores further down the fleet, it is clear that small errors are causing big losses on the water. Competitive fleets and variable winds have left plenty of passing opportunities. The Italians scored double digits in race two when Frascari fell overboard and needed to be recovered. In race six, the British capsized during a gybe and dropped back to 8th. Clearly there is some rust on these teams after a competitive break.

Despite a tenth in the last race of the day, the Finnish pair of Sinem Kurtbay and Akseli Keskenin were impervious to the wind and sea-state challenges and won the first two races, making them the biggest mover on day two. “Yeah, it felt good to have a win again,” said Kurtbay. “Once ahead, things got easier, we were able to go fast enough to hold off everyone. We were a bit nervous across the finish, as the horn was a bit late.”

The 49er fleet saw teams go from hero to zero on some of the beats today. Korean and Indian teams felt the pain after their sides caved in as they neared the weather mark. But downwind speed and linking into long shifts allowed the top three in most races to fight amongst themselves.

Locked into that tight battle was the still-hot Australian team of Otto Henry and Miles Davey, who now sit in first.

There is a massive squad of young and hungry Australian skiff teams ready to take over the mantle left by Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen. However, almost all of them are stuck at home due to virus travel restrictions. All but for Henry and Davey, who escaped in August to race the Junior Europeans and never went back.

Unable to return home, they’ve practiced and raced for the European fall season, gotten to the Worlds, and landed on top of the standings after day two. They are as surprised as anyone. Even after a good day on day two, with a 2, 13, 5, they didn’t expect to be trading their third place jerseys for yellow ones.

At nineteen and twenty respectively, Henry and Davey are living the vagabond life Australians dream about. They are under no illusion, however, that the rest of the regatta will be easy. They did seem convinced all their buddies back home will now be saying, “That would be us if we were in Oman.”

Jakob Meggendorfer with Andreas Spranger (GER) had the best day on the water with a 4, 2, 2 and seem pleased to have escaped without any pitfalls. They are tied with the young Aussie team.

Among the 22-team 49erFX fleet, a protest could have shaken up the top five but a port/starboard incident between Odile van Aanholt/ Elise Ruyter (NED) and Martine Grael/ Kahena Kunze (BRA) was deemed no foul by the jury. The Dutch team are five points clear of Norwegeians Helene Naess and Marie Ronningen, and Day One leaders Ronja Gronblom and Veera Hokka of Finland.

Racing is planned for November 16-21. The 49er fleet will have three days of qualifying followed by two days of gold fleet and a medal race. The smaller 49erFX and Nacra 17 fleets will have five days of racing followed by a medal race.


Race details:
Nacra 17:

Day Two Results – North America:

Men’s Skiff – 49er (36 teams; 6 races)
13. Ian Barrows/ Hans Henken (USA)
15. Andrew Mollerus/ Ian MacDiarmid (USA)
25. Ryan Wood/ Andrew Wood (CAN)
34. Ander Belausteguigoitia/ Danel Belausteguigoitia (MEX)

Women’s Skiff – 49erFX (22 teams; 6 races)
5. Stephanie Roble/ Maggie Shea (USA)
9. Georgia Lewin-Lafrance/ Antonia Lewin-Lafrance (CAN)
19. Lucy Wilmot/ Erika Reineke (USA)

Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 (15 teams; 6 races)
13. Ravi Parent/ Sara Stone (USA)
15. Carson Crain/ Caroline Atwood (USA)

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