The international regatta debut for Bora Gulari and Helena Scutt came nearly a half-year after it was initially scheduled. Not surprisingly, the Nacra 17 duo was chomping at the bit to get going on Day 1 of the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, which is taking place on Florida's Biscayne Bay through Sunday, January 28. The regatta is the second of four stops on World Sailing's 2018 World Cup Series tour.
A lack of wind this morning made them wait just a little bit longer, but it eventually filled in enough for three light-air races. Of the 10 classes competing on Biscayne Bay in the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, the Nacra 17 fleet was one of just two to get in the scheduled number of races, with four classes getting completely shut out.
“Today was our first international regatta together ever, so we were very excited about that,” said Scutt, who finished 10th in the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in the 49erFX class before switching the coed Nacra 17 catamaran. “We were postponed on shore for a while because it was very light, but it ended up getting sailable. I thought the committee did a great job of getting off three races with the conditions that we had.”
While the breeze never built into the double digits, it was enough for the catamarans to utilize their lifting foils—a new addition for this Olympic cycle—on the downwind legs, hitting speeds in the low to mid-teens.
“It was definitely too light to foil upwind, and honestly sometimes we were just trying to even fly one hull,” said Scutt. “But except for the last race, we could foil downwind. These boats can get foiling downwind in very light air. Then it's a game of looking for the puffs and just trying to stay on the foils as long as possible, which is not easy when it gets that light.”
The difference in speed between a boat up on the foils and one still dragging a hull through the water is dramatic.
“Downwind most people pop up [on the foils] at the same time, after the offset mark,” said Scutt. “The real game is coming out of a gybe—how good is your gybe, and how soon can you get back foiling because you can't foil-to-foil gybe—so there's definitely some focus demanded there.”
As for Gulari and Scutt’s overall results, it was a bit of a mixed bag: a second in Race 1, followed by a 16th in Race 2 and a fifth to close out the day. But that was the case for most of the fleet, with all but one of the 19 teams recording a double-digit result. With their lowest score dropped from the results, Gulari and Scutt currently sit sixth, two points off the lead.
“It was a fun day for us,” she said. “Our middle race was not great, but our other two were really solid. We're happy and we're excited for more.”