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Juniors Launch Nacra 15 Program
In 2017, a hum started to come from the Junior Room. By now, it's grown into a buzz, and its emanating from the C-foils and rudders on the Nacra 15 as it skims through the water at incredible speeds. The buzz has captured the attention of many of our junior sailors. Read all about the newly launched Nacra 15 race program with Head Sailing Coach Adam Corpuz-Lahne...

You may have heard a buzz coming from the Junior Clubhouse. Actually, it’s more of a hum, and it’s emanating from the C-foils and rudders on the Nacra 15 as it skims through the water at incredible speeds. That sound has captured the attention of many of our junior sailors. The Nacra 15—a two-person, double-trapeze catamaran with a square-top main, jib, and gennaker—was introduced in 2015 as the trainer boat for the Olympic Nacra 17. World Sailing (formally ISAF) designated it the official catamaran in the Youth World Sailing Championship. Last May, StFYC teamed up with the St. Francis Sailing Foundation and the Nacra 15 class to host a clinic for local youth sailors to get their feet wet in the catamaran world. These sailors came from a range of backgrounds, with FJ, 420, Laser, and 29er sailors giving it a go. We even had a World Champion. The response from the kids was all positive, with almost everyone going faster than they ever had before. The smile-per-mile ratio was at an all-time high.

Fast forward a couple of months to when the US Sailing Olympic Development Program (ODP) hosted a training camp at StFYC and invited US Youth Worlds Teams, top national sailors, and local sailors in the Laser, Radial, 29er and Nacra 15 fleets. While it was billed as a “heavy air” training camp, the first day was fairly light. And still, as the Laser sailors were just getting into their hiking straps, the Nacra 15s were double-trapezing and ripping around, easily flying a hull upwind and downwind. As the breeze built over the weekend, the speed around the course kept increasing in the Nacras. At one point the Nacra fleet blew past the 29ers like they were standing still. The sailors gained confidence to push the boats harder and harder, flirting with disaster and coming away grinning. Two teams stood out. Despite having only a couple of months in the boat, Jack Sutter/Charlotte Versavel and Helen Horangic/Teddy Horangic were sailing with confidence.

Fast forward a couple more months and things were progressing rapidly. In November, there was two weeks of training in Miami followed by the inaugural Nacra 15 North/South American Championship (where Sutter/Versavel claim 8th in their first major regatta), and an ODP camp. In early December, Helen and Teddy went to China to represent their native country of Canada in the Nacra 15 at the World Sailing Youth Sailing Championship, nabbing a couple of bullets and finishing 11th. After Christmas, Sutter/Versavel traveled to Clearwater, Florida and sailed in a clinic held by Red Gear Racing (run by catamaran guru Robbie Daniel) then competed in the Nacra 15 Midwinters East. With big breeze pumping from the north on day one of Midwinters, Sutter/Versavel came out of the blocks firing, with a score of 1,2,2. Unfortunately, they were caught OCS in race three, so it was really 1,2,OCS. With a bunch of carnage on day one, the Race Committee chose not to sail the next day, as the breeze was forecast to be even stronger. To quell the competitive desires of these high-end racers, the entire regatta went to a local Go Kart track and to get our racing fix in. Day three brought good breeze, but a westerly breeze meant it was shifty and puffy. Jack and Charlotte struggled to connect the dots and finished the regatta in 5th, with the OCS costing them 3rd. While not quite the result we were looking for after such a strong showing on day one, it was still a nice improvement from the North American Championship.

As we move along in 2018, we will be adding two more teams to our Nacra 15 squad, and hope to bring in a couple more boats. Within a few months there will be 7 or 8 of these high-performance catamarans tearing up the Bay! We have a full regatta schedule on tap for 2018 and look forward to helping the fleet grow in the U.S., where there is a waitlist to get new boats. Stay tuned!
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