Gstaad Yacht Club Team Takes 3rd Place in 2013 Olympic World Cup Regatta
Photo: Gstaad Yacht Club
By Cindy Schönrich
GYC members Nathalie Brugger and Matías Bühler scored an unexpected triumph in the recent prestigious 2013 Olympic World Cup - Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères, France.
Olympic 2012 participants Brugger and Bühler partnered in the new mixed boat class, Nacra 17. This regatta win was the first in what they hope will be a string of victories leading up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
“United toward a common goal, we work well as a team and also manage to have a lot of fun,” Bühler stated about their newly formed duo.
Rain and wind affected the course of the 7-day regatta, shuffling the first finishers. In the Nacra 17, Tim Shuwalow/Hanna Klinga SWE closed the gap on Billy Besson/Marie Riou FRA and took the overall win, thanks to their results in the two medal races. Gstaad Yacht Club’s very own Matias Bühler/Nathalie Brugger SUI finished an impressive 3rd, just 9 points behind the leading sailors.
“This is only my second regatta in the Nacra 17 and I am thrilled with our performance,” said Bühler. “We work hard and improve every day. Nathalie does an excellent job as tactician and we maintain a good boat speed. Also, Sebastian Godefroid is a tremendous coach. “
“It has been a fantastic week,” added Brugger. “Olympic sport is hard – and such a great win in one of the first events is a real confidence-booster.”
Placing third also allowed the sailing team to fulfil the criteria for the Swiss National team.
A star team is born
After last year’s Olympics, Bühler and Brugger decided to make a play for the 2016 Olympics as a team – and started up their Nacra 17 duo. Nacra 17 refers to the ‘mixed multihull’ equipment approved for the upcoming Olympics by the International Sailing Association, which measure approximately 17 feet long. The Gstaad Yacht Club supported the team’s kick-off, but it’s actively looking for sponsors and partners to support the 2016 Olympic campaign.
Both team members are long-time sailors who bring a certain amount of clout to the sport through their impressive credentials. Brugger came in 6th in the 2008 Olympics in Peking and 12th in London in 2012. Argentinian-Swiss Bühler coached in both years, leading the Tornado Duo Santiago Lange/ Carlos Espinola ARG to bronze in 2008 and Richard Stauffacher to a ranking in the first 10 in 2012.