It’s during the next Olympic Games in Rio that the Nacra 17, designed by the American architects Morelli-Melvin, will
make her entrance into the greatest sporting arena in the world.
Until that point, the Olympic catamaran was the Tornado
aboard which the French crews really sailed a blinder, especially during the Seoul Games in 1988 and in Barcelona four years
later, securing two gold medals.
Absent from the last Games, the catamaran is making its return to the Olympic
scene. For the occasion, the IOC has chosen a new boat, the Nacra 17, to replace the older model, which was designed in 1966
and is technically outmoded despite the pureness of its lines.
A little shorter, less beamy and carrying less sail
than the older model, though weighing exactly the same, the Nacra 17 is mainly characterised by its curved daggerboards, which
enable it to fly as soon as there is 12 knots of breeze. This new boat takes a certain amount of time for crews to adapt to,
but the main aim is simple: a bid to join the French team for some and, for everyone, a chance to secure the French ticket
to the Rio Games in 2016.
Another new feature is that this event can only be contested by a mixed crew, so teams
are formed so as to amass hours on the water together and refine the boat’s behaviour, which is certain to the fastest
of all time in the next Olympiad.
Mainsail surface area: 16.2m2
Jib surface area: 4m2
Spinnaker surface area: 18.5m2
Architects: Morelli-Melvin (USA)