Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Nacra Championships 2011 : Mitch Booth Shows Up and Leads after Day One

Start. Image copyright Claire Matches.

by Diana Bogaards

Mitch Booth is eating his Dutch ‘kroket’ and feeling good. This morning, he and his teammate Olivier Witteveen (NED) won three races in a row. We’re actually surprised to see him here on Texel. “Me too,” he says laughing. “Last week I decided to come and I arrived on Friday. Because I couldn’t miss it to be on Texel. I don’t know how many times I have been here, don’t ask, but it is a lot of fun. Today is a good start for Wednesday, the Dutch Open. Now it is a small regatta and ideal for training. I have never sailed a Nacra 20 before and starting to warm up for it.”

This morning it was close racing with Xander Pols and Sascha Larsen. Both teams were in a kind of match race the whole time while the rest of the fleet was way behind. “You notice there are different levels in the fleet”, says Mitch. “For a lot of sailors the circumstances were difficult. There wasn’t a lot of wind and the waves were higher than you would expect with this amount of wind. So if you are a moment not really focused than you loose a bit.”

Today and tomorrow Mitch is sailing with Dutchman Olivier Witteveen, but coming Wednesday he will race with his son Taylor (23). He did several world championships with him before and father and son are a good duo. Mitch: “He is also with us on the America’s Cup team. He will arrive on Wednesday and has to race immediately then. But he’s young, he can do that. And then we’ll see how it goes. I don’t know what our chances are at the Dutch Open, but I expect a lot of competition. There are going to be more boats and a lot of different boats than with the Nacra championships. We’ll give it a try.”

Mitch Booth - surprisingly back on Texel. Image copyright Claire Matches.

Mitch is getting ready for two more racing this afternoon. “It will be more difficult. The wind this morning was up and down. Now he is going to be more steady in strength, so that’s better. But the current is the other way and that is more challenging, because it is more difficult to line up for the start and not drift over it immediately. We’ll see.”


After rains comes the sun. It is a beautiful day on Texel, with wind force three and clear skies. The first three races are sailed, the lunch break is over and the cats are back on the water for two more races. The provisional results are not final yet, as there are some problems with sail numbers. But we spoke to the first few Nacra Infusion and Nacra carbon 20 sailors.

From bullet to structural damage

Boskalis duo Pim Nieuwenhuis and Ferdinand van West from the Netherlands took off really well this morning. They won the first bullet, but their fortune did not last for long. They were pushed over the line at the second start and scored a BFD. Van West: “And at the last start, we had a frontal collision before the gun.” It happened as Conrad Schwindt and Dave Holigan from Abu Dhabi bore away. “We have considerable damage on the hulls, that are delaminating.” The protest hearing is about to start.

De Koning/Visser like ‘technical breeze’

“It was a technical breeze with on and off trapeze conditions and oblique waves on the course”, said Coen de Koning from the Netherlands, while carrying his wheels. “It is challenging. In the first race, I still had some problems with it, but afterwards we won pretty easily. We did not lead from the beginning, but we just sailed a bit smoother in terms of tactics and speed. We had a nice battle with Adam and Jamie. They go very well.”

The last start was tricky with the current that pushed the fleet over. That resulted in quite a few back flags, like Adam Beattie and Jamie Leitner (AUS). Beaatie: “We knew we were over, but we couldn’t stop anymore. Well, that is just racing.”

Gunnar Larsen: “You need to change gears”

“It is difficult weather”, says Gunnar Larsen at the lunch table. “Your boats need to tuned for maximum power, until you get a surf. It is about balance and constantly changing gears.” Larsen and his crew Sam Frank finished second in the first race, about ninth in the second after having hit the pin-end at the start and fourth in the third match before lunchtime.

In the Nacra carbon 20 the top two battle is fierce. Former Olympian and current AC 45 skipper Mitch Booth and his occasional crew Olivier Witteveen are leading after three races and three bullets, followed by Xander Pols and Sascha Larsen.

Nacra World Championships 2011