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Posts Tagged ‘recall’

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Nacra and the designers of the foiling Nacra 17 have more egg on their faces after they cancelled the Nacra 17 medal racing day at the Aarhus “Test Event” last week due to a problem with the foil bearings.   The radical recall was necessary because of safety concerns for boards that were breaking during normal sailing conditions.  With the first-ever foiling N17 World Championship scheduled to go off in just three weeks, the latest snafu threatens to wreck schedules and budgets for the dozens of teams headed to the South of France for Worlds.

No one who has followed the life of the N17 (or any new foiler, really) could be surprised, as the Olympic cat has been plagued by design and build issues for most of its life.  The last cycle saw NACRA dealing with a faulty mast design early on, the Dutch builders replacing literally hundreds of masts with temporary tin rigs before supplying retooled carbon sticks a few months later.  This cycle has already seen one daggerboard recall thanks to faulty paint, but the latest bearing mess is the first problem that threatens to derail a major championship.  The silver lining is that only the 47 teams who’ve already gotten their foiling boats (or retrokits) are effected – a fraction of how many new masts needed to be provided back in 2013/14, but the black cloud won’t clear until the Class meets this week to decide on whether to cancel their Worlds.

We have a lot of respect for the risky step the builders, Class members, and World Sailing took when they opted to thrust the foiling option out into the world, and we expected plenty of problems with what, to many, was a rushed decision that led to an overcompressed design/build/test/build cycle for a type of boat that would have plenty of fixes necessary even if it wasn’t rushed.

If you’ve been paying attention, you know that Moths, Phantoms, GC32s, America’s Cup boats, A-Cats, and everything else that flies has had similarly unexpected tech gremlins; the difference this time lies in the abuse Olympians subject their boats to, and the production volume promised by the builder.

NACRA is clearly guilty of overpromising and underdelivering, but the sailors tell us they’ve done a good job providing repairs, replacements, and support as quickly as possible.  We also direct you to the Nacra 17 Class manager’s statement, which is comprehensive, detailed, and doesn’t shy away from any of the heat – wouldn’t you like your Class to talk to you like this when shit goes wrong?

What’s most interesting to us about the latest Olympic multihull brouhaha is how a select few sailing media outlets and shit stirrers have jumped on Nacra’s problems as some kind of karmic expression of just how evil multihull/foiling is.  A handful of ancient mariners – some of them running their own news sites – remain so angry that these newfangled catamarans and inhuman ‘flying’ boats have ruined ‘their’ America’s Cup, debased the cherished Whitbread, sullied their World Match Racing Tour, and reduced the beloved Star boat to irrelevance, and you’ll likely hear bitching and moaning from them until 12 meters are racing in the America’s Cup again.  In other words, we all have to listen to their shit for the few years they have left.

It doesn’t matter to these old timers that every young sailor wants to foil, and it doesn’t matter that people want to watch fast boats far more than they do slow ones.  These people don’t care about the sport’s future at all – they’d rather sailing continue its slow death as long as they still have some voice in it…

Thread about the Nacras is here.

 

August 14th, 2017 by admin

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