Sailing

Wollmanns reach gold standard

  • Shining siblings: Cecilia and Michael Wollmann sail at the Nacra 17 World Championships in France this week (Photograph supplied)

Cecilia and Michael Wollmann are making waves at the Nacra 17 World Championships in La Grande-Motte, France.

The teenage siblings, who sail out of the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, are in the midst of a remarkable debut at the championships, having qualified for the gold fleet in only their second regatta in the Olympic class foiling catamaran.

“It’s been really nice sailing with my brother,” said Cecilia, who represented Bermuda in the Laser Radial at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro last summer. “We are one of the younger teams, so it’s great we made the gold fleet.

“This is our second regatta in the Nacra 17. Going against the top cat sailors in the world, our initial goal was to be in the top 35, so we have met [that]. But we still need to learn a lot to sail these boats consistently well and we’re looking forward to the final two days of racing.”

The siblings are 23rd after posting a 22-21-21 record during yesterday’s opening three races among the 47-strong fleet.

“We are really happy and excited about making the gold fleet,” crew Michael said. “Now it is the new challenge of being able to perform and match the speeds of everyone with us.

“They are the best in the world and we are just trying to match them and learn quickly.”

Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, of Italy, topped the leaderboard after the first day of racing.

The Wollmanns sailed consistently earlier in the championships, producing five top-ten finishes during the qualifying series, including their best finish to date of third in the third race of the nine-race qualifying series.

The local pair warmed up for the championships during a four-day training camp in Weymouth, England, and made their first regatta appearance in the Nacra 17 at the 2018 Sailing World Championships test event in Ega Marina, Denmark, last month, when they placed ninth.

The Wollmanns competed in the Nacra 15 catamaran at last the Youth World Sailing Championships last year in Auckland, New Zealand, finishing an impressive eighth in a fleet of 20.