Nicko’s Take the Win Sail For Your Soul

Five teams had potential to win the Miami World Cup 2015 heading into the medal race.  It was a blustery day with winds in the low teens, plenty of shifts and pressure changes and a suitable challenge for these top 49er sailors.

In pole position were Nico Delle Karth and Niko Resch of Austria.  These are two of the most veteran sailors on circuit having attended three Olympics already.  Perpetually in the top group at almost every 49er event these two had a chance to medal in London but were squeaked out by the Danes.  Looking to get back to winning ways, this medal race was a great test, and they always #SailForYourSoul.

The Austrian duo had a thin lead on a large chasing group who’s were all packing plenty of hardware.  Immediately behind them was the youngest sailor in the fleet, Jake Turner who substituted in for the Gold medal skipper Nathan Outteridge along with Gold medalist crew Iain (Goobs) Jensen of Australia.  Another ten points back of the leading two were three more teams with a chance at the win.  The Paz brothers of Spain, boasting Gold Medal Tornado crew from 2008, Anton Paz.  Next up was John Pink sailing with 2012 470 Silver medalist crew Stuart Bithell of GBR and finally the 2008 49er Gold medalist Jonas Warrer with Anders Thomsen of Denmark.

Plenty of experience went head to head and it was unclear who would emerge up the first beat.  Half of the teams including the Austrians and the Australians went left off the start all the way to the corner.  The Paz brothers went hard right, and then Pink and Warrer each played shifts up the middle.  The Australians looked to have great position until “They just missed a pressure line with an under tack, and then got rolled by the teams outside,” explained Nathan Outteridge, taking a keen interests on his crew Goobs and the young replacement.

The far right side didn’t pay either and the Paz brothers were knocked to the back of the heap.  That left Pink, the Austrians and Warrer to fight it out.  Warrer continued to play the shifts on the second beat and took the medal race in first.  Pink got bounced around middle of the pack, ultimately loosing out on a  few places right at the finish.  Sailing fast and smart all the way around were the Austrians, third in the medal race to comfortably take the title.  This is the fifth World Cup victory of their career, and first since Miami 2012.

It was the culmination of a very trying week for all teams involved.  Key Biscayne in Miami served up plenty of wind all week but often in very unstably.  Determination and flexibility kept the Nicko’s out in front, and they earned this victory.

The 49er race was followed by the 49erFX fleet in similar conditions.  This title was already locked down by Alex Maloney and Molly Meech from New Zealand with an unassailable 50 point lead.  Ever the compeititors, they were looking to take the medal race win to leave Miami in style!

There was a great battle for second place, however, as 2014 World Championship Bronze medalists Giulia Conti with Francesca Clapchich of Italy only one place clear of 2014 World Champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze of Brazil.  Another ten points back was Jena Hansen and Katja Iversen of Denmark who could theoretically get into the medals depending on how the other teams stacked up.

The Italians and Brazilians both started on port to duck the fleet and go right.  The Italians were below the Brazilians and sailed with great stability and commitment to their trapezing looking rock solid.  On their windward hip the Brazlians did not look as comfortable, possibly under powered they sailed a higher and slower course for much of the beat, working some motorboat chop to their advantage at times.  On the way into the windward mark the Italians were trying desperately to roll the Brazilians, but for the most part the Brazilians limited the damage and rounded behind the Italians, with both boat mid pack.

Both boat gybeset one after the other to seek out a right shifting puff as they rounded the mark.  By the bottom of the run the Italians were up to second and Brazilians up to fourth.  Giulia and Francesca never looked back, taking better shifts and sailing well, they moved into the lead and took the race win.  The Brazilians also managed to move up into second, but that was not enough and they ended up with the Bronze medal, yet another in their string of consecutive podium finishes.

The fleets pack up and head 4 hours north to Clearwater, Florida for the 2015 North American Championship Feb 5-8.  Clearwater will be the site of the 2016 World Championships, so many top teams will be anxious to get comfortable in a future worlds venue.

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