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Nacra 17 Worlds - Unwanted publicity

The Nacra 17 Worlds start Tuesday in La Grande Motte, France, with the class facing considerable unwanted media attention following the recent foil problems and the injury to USA sailor Bora Gulari.

The class was forced to cancel medal racing at the recent World Sailing Aarhus Test Event due to failure of the foil bearing blocks.

Then Bora Gulari lost parts of three fingers on his right hand when his Nacra17 capsized during training for this World Championships.

A less dramatic problem has been the use of the gennaker upwind, which has split the class and raised the chance of more gear failure from the stresses involved.

NOTE: The class has changed the Sailing Instructions this morning to prohibate the use of the gennaker when sailing on a leg to mark 1.

The Nacra 17, which made its Olympic Games debut in Rio, has undergone a transformation to a fully foiling class for the Tokyo 2020 cycle, and the European Championship in Kiel last month was the first regatta to use the new equipment since its rollout.

While the class is keen to raise its profile for the Tokyo 2020 Games and capture media interest in foiling multihulls, the original design limits need to be reconsidered if more breakages and injuries are to be avoided.

Great Britain boasts the top three crews in the current world rankings, with European bronze medallists Ben Saxton and Katie Dobson at the top of the table, John Gimson and Anna Burnet second, and Tom Phipps and Nikki Boniface in third.

Also competing for GBR are Rupert White and Kirstie Urwin with Chris Rashley and Laura Marimon.

Four time champions France’s Billy Besson and Marie Rio are not defending their title at this first foiling World Championship here in La Grande Motte, France.

But Rio gold and silver medal-winning pairings from Argentina and Australia, and the bronze medal-winning helm from Austria will be in action as part of the 45-boat foiling entry.

Three days of qualifying racing is followed by two days of fleet racing with a final Medal race Sunday.

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