The Nacra 15 North American Championship was held at the Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, Louisiana this past weekend. Twelve races were scheduled over the three day event sailed on Lake Ponthcartrain. The championship consisted of seven boats looking to be crowned the best Nacra 15 in North America.
The first day of racing kicked off at noon with unusual winds for summer on Lake Ponthcartrain with 10-12 knots from the southeast with an occasional gust of up to 19 knots. “The Nacras were flying!” said PRO George Hero. George Hero also mentioned that everyone on the race committee was amazed at how fast the boats accelerate from a dead stop to full on top speed. The first race was a two lap windward-leeward course with a windward mark that was .8 miles upwind which lasted about 30 minutes. The second race finished closer to 40 minutes with a longer windward mark at 1 mile. The good breeze held for the afternoon and the race committee was able to get 4 races in.
The first race was scheduled for 10:30am on Saturday. The weather forecast was light and variable with scattered thunderstorms all over the region. The race committee postponed the first race due to lack of wind and sailors waited ashore for the breeze to fill. Around 11am the winds started to fill in and the race committee set out to get a race off. A light 4 knot breeze filled in and the first race of the second day of competition got underway. On the downwind leg the wind direction shifted 60 degrees and the race committee changed the course accordingly and hoped the wind wouldn’t die altogether. With thunderstorms moving in, the race was shortened at the leeward gate and after finishing the fleet was signaled to return to the harbor. Halfway home the storm hit with heavy rain and wind gusting over 30 knots causing two Nacra teams to capsize.
Once the storm cleared, 6 of the 12 races needed for the championship were completed. The fleet headed back out to the course at 3:30pm to a fairly steady 5-8 knots from the south. The race committees goal was to get all of the races for the regatta in and thus the windward mark was shorted from 1 mile to .5 miles. Two additional races were scored, bringing the events total to 8, and everyone was back ashore by 4:30pm.
Sunday was predicted to have similar wind conditions as Saturday but with a lower chance of thunderstorms. The race committee was bound by time to finish the additional four races needed. The sailing instructions limited the last start to no later than 2:00pm. The first race scheduled for 10:30am was postponed due to light winds but around 11am the southerly breeze filled in. It wasn’t much but it was enough to get the competitors around the course. With four races to complete in three hours, the windward mark was set at .5 miles upwind and the required races were completed in time.
First place finishers Nico Martin and AnaClare Sole carded six 1st place finishes in the twelve races. Their 18 points beat out the second place team of Ben Rosenberg and Sidney Charbonnett with 24 points. Third place went to Jack Sutter and Charlotte Versavel.
Congratulations to all the sailors who made the regatta. A special thanks to PRO George Hero for his hard work and words along with the race committee and everyone else involved in making the event.
Race results can be found here http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/17177#_newsroom+results