A Dutch Olympian that goes like the wind
SCHEVENINGEN _ Recession? What recession? The Dutch builder of the Nacra-17 has constructed 100 or so in under a year after the catamaran was named a mixed crew Olympic class in 2012. Its order book lists another 100 or so. Helping matters is the fact the Nacra-17 was named 2013 Sailboat of the Year at the HISWA Amsterdam boat show.
It is a design of Morelli & Melvin, a California studio with a vast track record in creative, sound, safe, fun and fast multi and mono-hulls that works both ends of the spectrum. It helped design the AC-72 cat and has also worked on paddle boards.
The Nacra class (the acronym stands for North American Catamaran Racing Association) originated in the USA in 1975. In 2007, its current owners Gunnar Larsen and Peter Vink bought it and moved the brand to the Netherlands. The brand comprises a variety of cat sizes and styles _ from resort hire boats to performance racing.
The last Olympic multihull event took place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the Tornado. “That boat, in fact, was no longer a one-design. All sorts of changes were added which created an uneven playing field. The Nacra-17s that will race at Rio 2016 will come straight from my factory here in Scheveningen. No nation can bring its own,” says Larsen.
Nacra Sailing Technical Manager Jesse van Leeuwen oversees 17 people making Nacra cats. “The vacuum-injection fiberglass hulls are made in Asia and, in places, reinforced by carbon. They are shipped to Scheveningen where we assemble the cats using parts that come from all over Europe,” Van Leeuwen told the trade magazine Jachtbouw Nederland.
NACRA makes the sails in Scheveningen. Van Leeuwen: “We use Pentex for the jib and SK80 nylon cloth for the spinnaker. The standing rigging is made of 4-mm stainless steel and we use Dyneema for the running rigging,”
In naming it Sailboat of the Year, the Amsterdam boat show jury said the NACRA concept “works really well. It’s a great pleasure to sail this boat with a good deal of stability. There are 3 positions for the dagger boards. But you have to know what you are doing. Or it becomes a difficult boat to sail. It’s an extreme boat, but sailing her is very doable for a mixed crew.” The jury said it set an “innovative example. “Its curved dagger boards generate much lift. Detailed and fine balance is required to control longitudinally for optimum speed. Although the Nacra is very fast, this is achieved with a relatively simply built and equipped boat.”
Nacra 17 “Olympic Mixed Multihull” Specifications:
Length Overall: 5.25m
Mast Length: 9.10m
Mainsail: 16.25 sq. m.
Jib: .4 sq. m.
Asymmetrical Spinnaker: 18.50 sq. m.