North Sails NEWS
Story Contributors: Christoph Burger
#NSVICTORYLIST: 5.5 METRE WORLDS
Kristian Nergaard Claims Tenth World Title
In the 76-year history of the 5.5 Metre Class, only one skipper has won back-to-back titles in both the Scandinavian Gold Cup and the World Championship: Artemis XIV’s Kristian Nergaard. Kristian was excited to repeat this impressive achievement again at this year’s championship in New South Wales, Australia, and he is even more excited to compete next year on his home turf in Hankø, Norway.
Even though this was Kristian’s tenth World title, he was still nervous going into the last day of racing. “We are not that strong in the light air. The sea state was lumpy and tough to get through while keeping up boat speed. In the first race we had an eye on New Moon II, as they were very close, but unfortunately by doing that we went the wrong way, putting us in fifth place. Going into the final race we had to stick with Ali Baba. We both got a bad start, but we knew as long as we were near them we would be okay.”
Kristian adds that he has a great team. “Johan has been sailing for many years on Solings, in the Olympics. Anders is headed to the Olympics [in the Finn] in a few months, so he’s also a great teammate to have on the boat.”
“I also want to thank the race organizers for running an excellent event,” he continues. ”They had a professional team organizing the races and it was a great regatta for all competitors. It’s not always common to get every kind of condition at a World Championship, and in the trickiest conditions, the PRO still held up their end to make sure we had true championship racing.”
Second place was determined by a tiebreaker; after a tough start to the event, New Moon II used consistency and better boat speed to finish in front of Craig Symonette’s Ali Baba.
North Sails 5.5M expert Christoph Burger, the middle crew on New Moon II, said the team had to pull together to climb back. “We had a decent first race, but then got off-track in race two. We were able to get our act together after that and got off the starting line with great speed. Once we were able to break away, it was all about positioning and fleet management, and keeping the boat going as fast as possible.”
With a 90% market share in the top 10, Christoph says “2020 was real proof that North is offering the right sail inventory options to the class. With the various conditions we saw each day, we used every sail that North offers. For our upwind selections, we went with the Li-2 light jib together with the Mi-1 medium jib and then swapped the Li-2 out for the Hi-1 heavy jib as the breeze increased, which worked very well.”
Downwind, the team used the S1, S2, and S3 and added the S4 as the wind increased. “With all of these sail options,” Christoph concludes, “we managed to cover the weather forecast perfectly and achieved our maximum boat speed goals each day.”
Will Alloway, crew on third place finisher Ali Baba, says they had a great first race even after going back to restart. “We led the fleet to the top mark, even after our corrected OCS; being able to come back is what kept us in the game.”
With several boats tight on points behind Artemis XIV, the last day was a nail biter onboard Ali Baba. “The last race we again had a bad start,” Will says. “We managed to get out to the right and caught up on the downwind. Our entire strategy that day was to go left and get the best pressure that was coming down. We got forced out right, so we had to slowly work our way back in to the left pressure. The team did a great job on boat speed and getting us back to where we needed to be.”
Just prior to the 2020 World Championship, North Sails clients won the 2020 Kaag Classic Cup & Hanko Evolution Cup, the Alfred’s Gold Cup, and the Scandinavian Cup. Interested in the world’s fastest 5.5 Metre sails? Contact your 5.5 Metre sail expert today and power through the wind ranges at your next regatta.