Imagine this scenario: a Formula 1 driver takes possession of a car four days before the biggest race of the year ... and then puts it together.

That's the prospect facing Liv Mackay, of Napier, and Micah Wilkinson, of Cambridge, ahead of the Nacra world championship next week.

The pair got their new foiling Nacra yesterday and will spend two days putting it together before lining up for the first race of the world champs in Grande Motte, France, on Tuesday next week.

They are among a group receiving the second batch of Nacras that have been built.


Fellow Kiwis Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders, who were fourth at last year's Rio Olympics in the non-foiling Nacra, took possession of their boat in June and will help Mackay and Wilkinson assemble theirs.

It's not ideal for the two 21-year-olds who have big ambitions and they feel like they are playing catch-up on the best in the fleet.

"For Micah and I, it has probably been the most frustrating year because we started to get some momentum in the old boat," Mackay said. "We were improving and starting to compete and all of a sudden it's the Olympics and then everyone takes a year off and then there's no boat."

Said Wilkinson: "The Olympians got their boats a couple of months ago. We have been sitting on the sideline watching. We are involved with Gemma and Jason a lot, and they are great, so we have learned a lot but nothing is the same as sailing the boat."

The pair have been sailing other boats.

Wilkinson was part of the NZL Sailing Team who came agonisingly close to winning the Youth America's Cup, missing out on the trophy only when another crew got caught on the last mark and allowing the British to sail past, and also sailed the Nacra European championship (on the new foiling catamaran) with Jones.

Mackay has competed in the World Match Racing Tour and M32 world championship and was even at the helm of a team at the Madeira leg of the Extreme Sailing Series (Wilkinson was trimmer).

The pair also convincingly won a leg of the Flying Phantom Series together on a foiling catamaran.

Their experience of foiling - they won last year's Red Bull Foiling Generation world title - should ensure they catch up quickly but they are a team in a hurry to enjoy success.

"We both want to win a gold medal in 2020," Mackay said. "Right now, we are definitely at a disadvantage but in the past we have loved being the underdogs and having that frustration drive you."

"Liv sails extremely well frustrated so we will keep that frustration there," Wilkinson said.

"You have to balance it. We are at a disadvantage but we have missed out two months of three years [by having to wait for a new foiling Nacra]."

One of their biggest competitors, but also allies, will be Jones and Saunders. Only one combination can sail at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics but, to be successful, they also need each other to create the most competitive environment.

The two crews will spend the New Zealand summer training together with a handful of the world's top combinations joining them in Auckland.

The world championship is a more pressing matter and they don't really know what is realistic in France.

A lot will depend on how well they put their new Formula 1 racing machine together.