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Helm of the only team to take a win off Waterhouse and Darmanin in Melbourne so far and one of the few female Nacra 17 helms worldwide, Kiwi sailor Olivia Mackay, embraces the move to foiling. On the experience of flying above the water she says it’s really quiet and surreal, and hard to judge speed when the boat is lifted on its hydrofoils.
“I’m so excited for the class to go foiling,” Mackay said. “Forty boats foiling into the bottom gates is going to be interesting, and entertaining to watch.”
To retrofit the current generation of Nacra 17s would compromise performance according to Waterhouse, and the plan is for brand new boats to be manufactured. The talk about the yard is the new fleet will be ready in time for next year’s European Championship at Kiel, Germany, in July, but Waterhouse has some reservations that the new technology may price youth and developing nations out of the mixed gender class.
“For a kid it’s going to be harder to convince mum and dad or a federation to fund them in the Nacra, without a result to help them out. The positives are it’s a new challenge and development is part of the sport; it will be good for sailing’s image,” Waterhouse added.
After six of a 12-race schedule in Melbourne, the last event of the six-part World Series, Waterhouse/Darmanin (AUS) lead Mackay/Wilkinson (NZL) by seven points and the Great Britain team sits in third overall.
Not only will the Nacra 17 will be flying in Tokyo but at the same conference in Barcelona the foiling Nacra 15 was confirmed as official equipment for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires 2018.
By Lisa Ratcliff/SWC Final media
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