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Ocean Elements 2018

Nacra 15 selected as the next Youth multihull

by Tim Johnson 13 Dec 2015 21:04 GMT 13 December 2015
The Nacra 15 has been selected as the next Youth Multihull © Iain Philpott

In November of this year ISAF directed the introduction of a new youth multihull - the Nacra 15. This boat will replace the current ISAF youth multihull the SL16. Their decision was based upon modernising the existing design, reflecting recent advances in multihull technology and utilising a design that reflects that of the Olympic Nacra 17.

The Nacra 15 will be introduced at the ISAF Youth Worlds 2016, crews will remain open until the 2018 ISAF Youth Worlds when it will become mandatory mixed sex, reflecting the Olympic multihull event. ISAF also directed that the Nacra 15 will be one of the three classes selected for the 2018 Youth Olympics where it will also be fully foiling for the event.

The current RYA recognised multihull class is the 16ft Spitfire. The Spitfire is an affordable pathway to youth multihull sailing. It remains, and will continue to remain a very important boat within the UKCRA youth pathway. The current ISAF youth multihull, the SL16, is not sailed in the UK. Training and competition is sailed using the Spitfires with the RYA Youth Squad moving over to the SL16 ahead of the Youth Worlds.

It is intended to continue with this approach until numbers of the Nacra 15 sailors are equal to that of the Spitfire. Teams choosing to buy a Nacra 15 are encouraged to join UKCRA Youth and the extensive youth training programme UKCRA Youth provides. The Nacra 15 has a lower entry crew weight >120kg and is well suited to smaller teams transitioning from junior classes. This gives the chance for smaller teams to start earlier, whereas previously teams have needed to be a bit older and bigger, limiting the time they are eligible for youth selection.

Many new teams have joined UKCRA Youth this year and the Spitfire is an opportunity to start multihull sailing either before the NACRA 15 is available, or if you are older and looking at transferring from one of the other RYA Youth classes. UKCRA youth are working closely with the RYA Youth Racing Team to ensure the inclusion of the Nacra 15 is managed, to continue the growth in youth cat sailing in the UK and to produce world class youth multihull sailors. Mark Nicholls, RYA Youth Racing Manager, said today "The RYA will be at the forefront of the new catamaran generation..." (The full RYA Youth Catamaran Sailing press release can be read here)

Alongside The America's Cup, BAR Racing, the Red Bull Foiling Generation and the advancing technology the message of speed and excitement is filtering through to our most junior members of sailing in the UK. The UKCRA Youth Multihull programme has never looked stronger. In 2015 12 Spitfire teams competed at the RYA Youth Nationals - an all time record. In 2016 some 20 Spitfire teams will compete at the RYA Youth Nationals!

The future of sailing is with our youth. The future of sailing is on two hulls.

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