May 06, 2012

NACRA goes Olympic

At an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) meeting in Italy, approximately 2 hours ago, the newest NACRA, a very high-tech 17 designed specifically for possible Olympic selection, was approved as the newest Olympic boat. It will be used in the new event, Mixed Catamaran (mixed male/female teams) for the first time at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil.

The first 100 boats will only be sold through the ISAF to National Olympic Teams. What that means is that private ownership of the newest Olympic class will probably not be possible until early 2013, and then it will be from a list, a line that is already being formed at Nacra distributors and dealers worldwide.

The new boat is the very latest state of the catamaran art - one of the biggest reasons for its selection was that it represents the catamarans of the future. If you do a search on YouTube for NACRA 17, you should find videos from the selection event last month in Spain.

As part of the fall-out from this ISAF action, we expect to see the rest of the catamaran world to get a bit more organized into different interest groups. While a lot of sailors are expected to migrate to the new boat over the next two years - expect to see it raced in local/regional/national events by men and women teams as well as the mixed teams aiming at the Olympics - two other classes should benefit; the F18 should remain a top end, development class where new ideas will constantly be tried, and will be the preferred boat for heavier sailors, while the F16 class, struggling to find its own identity, should develop more of a youth focus.

It’s a fun time to be associated with NACRA - my first one was way back in 1976! And its wonderful to have a catamaran back in the Olympic Games.

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