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Grandjean and Felhmann are crowned 2021 Nacra15 World Champions

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Swizerland's Axel Grandjean and Noémie Felhmann are crowned  2021 Nacra15 World Champions
Swizerland's Axel Grandjean and Noémie Felhmann are crowned 2021 Nacra15 World Champions

The last day of the Nacra15 World Championships delivered on all its promises of a dramatic, exciting showdown. A fiercely contested finale decided the top 10 places which would be a dream result for most of the young contenders, but best of all to finish on top of the world. 

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The big bonus for all, champions or simply contenders, were the fantastic conditions. It was a magical spectacle contested in the north-westerly wind of 15/20 knots, choppy seas and sun to alleviate the autumn chill at the onset of winter in the South of France. There was close racing and place changes all the way through the fleets, tight at the rounding marks. Finally all the boxes were ticked to conclude this world championships in memorable style.

And the suspense lasted until the end! Across the four races sailed today the Gold medal positons kept changing, at one time hanging on the necks of the French Proust / Clabon tandem then that of the Swiss Grandjean / Fehlman who, despite a catastrophic  race 11 - capsized while launching their spinnaker and ended up 33rd. But even so they still managed to win the title only really thanks to their superb consistency since the start of the championship. 

Two points behind the winners, the La Rochelle pair Thomas Proust and  Eloise Clabon take the silver medal.

Swizerland's Axel Grandjean and Noémie Felhmann are crowned  2021 Nacra15 World Champions
Swizerland's Axel Grandjean and Noémie Felhmann are crowned 2021 Nacra15 World Champions

The calculators overheated in the deliberations over who would take third place, several crews making a foray into the top three like France's Clément Martineau and Lou Mourniac (FRA), Camille Rigaud and Julien Moutarde (FRA) and Kwinten and Lieselotte Borghijs (BEL). At the end of race 10, there were six of them who could all get on the poidum. Again, we had to wait for the last crossings of the finish line to do the math and put the results in order. It was not long before Manolo Geslin Grimaud and Marion Declef walked away with bronze medal. After a bad start (16th and 22nd), they managed to get back on track when they won the last race of the day.

This prize list honors two very young teams: the Swiss winners Axel Grandjean and Noémie Fehlmann are just 17 years old. Their runners up are Thomas Proust and Eloïse Clabon just 15 and 17 years old. These two duos both topped the under-19 classification and at the same time and so won their tickets for the World Sailing Worlds (mid-December in Oman).

The curtain falls on successful Worlds

Beyond the results, each of the 73 crews banked a very useful amount of top racing experience during these Championships. Only one day was canceled and 12 races were contested in often demanding conditions (choppy waters and medium to stong winds). Some very young duos had very little experience - the Fanny Bourrust / Thibault Clouet pair, fresh out of the Optimist, had only sailed a dozen times in a Nacra15 - and were learning and improved as they raced. Others, more experienced, are already dreaming of Nacra17 like bronze medalists Manolo Geslin Grimaud and Marion Declef or Camille Rigaud and Julien Moutarde (5th in the standings).

Swizerland's Axel Grandjean and Noémie Felhmann are crowned  2021 Nacra15 World Champions
Swizerland's Axel Grandjean and Noémie Felhmann are crowned 2021 Nacra15 World Champions

For the foreign teams (from 10 nations outside of France), it was also an opportunity to discover La Grande Motte and its sheltered body of water, ideal for sailing all year round. The Swiss and Belgian teams already come now regularly in winter to train with the CEM racers. 

As for the men and women of the Yacht Club de la Grande Motte (and the 50 volunteers), they once again demonstrated their know-how in organizing a major international regatta.

TOP 10 after 12 races
1 SUI 270 Axel GRANDJEAN/ Noémie FEHLMANN, 35 pts
2 FRA 222 Thomas Proust/ Eloise Clabon, 37 pts
3 FRA 167 Manolo GESLIN GRIMAUD/ Marion DECLEF, 40 pts
4 BEL 300 Kwinten BORGHIJS/Lieselotte BORGHIJS,42 pts
5 FRA 175 Camille RIGAUD/ Julien MOUTARDE, 44 pts
6 SUI 196 Clément GUIGNARD/ Marie MAZUAY, 48 pts
8 FRA 223 Clément Martineau/Lou Mourniac, 50 pts
5 NED 134/ Bart KOOIJMAN / BEUK,  51 pts
9 FRA 210 Eliott Coville/Gustave Liot, 53pts
10 ESP 140 Max RONDEAU/ Mar GARCIA, 56 pts

The Nacra15 in brief
The Nacra 15 is a 4.7-meter catamaran equipped with curved daggerboards (first stage before the foils) reserved for mixed crews in the U17 to U19 categories. Little sister of the Olympic Nacra17, it is recognized as an international series by the World Sailing (International Sailing Federation) and is the youth class for World Sailing events (international championships) and for the YOG, Youth Olympic Games. It is now the pathway series before the switch to 17-footer.

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