Photo: Courtesy of Franck Tiffon-Terrade . For foils check previous post on the N17.
I contacted Gunnar Larsen (Nacra CEO & current 2x F18 WChamp) to know actual details on the new upgrades and how ISAF (now World Sailing...) and Nacra will implement the new foiling kit:
Gunnar Larsen: "Next week is the World Sailing meeting and we have to wait their position on all Olympic classes, after that we can provide you with more accurate and solid data on the upgrade. Showing an updated used Nacra 17 was good in Hyeres. The whole idea is that the existing fleet can be easily upgraded by having a retro fitting kit available.
So Olympic sailors can choose to continue with their current boat or purchase a new one. Also for new generation sailors is important, so they can step in at reasonable costs, sailing needs the young kids to have any future.
Showing both sides here at Hyeres, Starboard side is fitted out with hull update but still with curved daggerboard in combination with a bearing cassette. And the portside is fitted with out rake adjusting system, 'Z' board, and bearing cassette.
It seems that the majority of the crowd wants to go foiling. Specially the younger crews I must say. The older and more established crews have lots of questions that we were able to answer and sometimes discuss with each other. Interesting times I should say for sailing in general. The pressure on WS grows noticeably to have the Nacra17 flying for Tokio.
As per Gunnar's response the idea is actually to retrofit current fleet, so is clear they will need to support their past customers on the modifications and upgrades. For the new boats and the foiling mode, is strange to know that part of the 'older' guard might be reluctant to go foiling, beyond any ISAF handling on these mods and equipment details, which we will know more about next weeks, those Olympic sailors who don´t want to go foiling should start looking for other classes, like Laser or Finn.
Olympics are the pinnacle of our sport, thus right now a foiling cat is the way to go, campaigns are not cheap either as we all know. Two local crews who didn´t qualified for Rio bought 2 boats each (1 for Europe other to train locally), spending almost 60k only in equipment out of their pockets.
So costs at Olympic level are secondary to performance, it is what it is, this ain´t no F18. Olympic campaigns are the toughest projects outhere for sailors.
Of course we would like Nacra to improve the structural quality for boats to last longer and protect sailors investment, more now with the extra loads foiling will provide,
but I'm addressing here any possible costs vs foiling which is nonsense discussion for an Olympic cat nowadays.
After World Sailing meeting we'll get back with Larsen on updated status and we'll do a Q&A on the retrofits, new boats , current fleet structural issues, actual foils for the Nacra 17 .