Sailing

Wollmanns’ joy at stunning debut

  • Cecilia and Michael Wollmann at the Nacra 17 World Championships in France

Cecilia and Michael Wollmann’s confidence is soaring after punching above their weight during a remarkable debut at the Nacra 17 World Championships, that concluded yesterday in La Grande-Motte, France.

The teenage siblings, who sail out of the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club, raised eyebrows after finishing 23rd in the 47-strong gold fleet.

“We are very pleased with our outcome at the end of the event,” said Micheal, the elated crew who attends Saltus. “This was our first world championship in the Nacra 17 and we are still new and inexperienced compared to the others, so we really didn’t know what to expect going into the first couple of races.

“To walk away knowing that we are 23rd in the world right now is definitely a confidence booster.”

The Wollmann’s managed six top-ten showings during the championships, with a best finish of third during the nine-race qualifying series.

The siblings were competing in only their second regatta in the Olympic-class foiling catamaran, which they are still coming to grips with.

“One big challenge to switching to the foiling boats is learning what the new settings for each of the different wind conditions are,” said helm Cecilia, who represented Bermuda in the Laser Radial at the 2016 Rio Olympics. “With the foils there are many new things you can change on the boat, so we have to learn what is fastest.

“This week we were able to be fast in the light winds, which helped us in the beginning of the week.”

The RHADC duo are in the midst of a journey which they hope will culminate in qualification to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“This is only the beginning and we are learning and improving every day,” Michael said.

“This summer was us testing out the new boat and comparing ourselves against the top Nacra sailors in the world. We think we are on track but we still have a long way to go.”

Great Britain’s Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson won the Nacra 17 World Championships hosted by Yacht Club de la Grande Motte.