Sailing World Cup Miami preview

Published on January 24th, 2016

Sailors from 64 nations are gearing up for the first big showdown of Olympic and Paralympic sailing in 2016, Sailing World Cup Miami. More than 780 athletes will feature across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events from Monday, January 25 to Saturday, January 30. Whilst the Paralympic racing wraps up on Friday, the Olympic competitors will be fighting it out to appear in Saturday’s live television broadcast of the Medal Races.

Set to be shown in front of a live audience on the World Sailing TV YouTube channel and on more than ten global broadcasters, Sailing World Cup Miami will provide sailing fans with a window of opportunity to see who is looking strong on the Road to Rio.

If World Cup glory was not enough to drive the sailors forward, those from North and South America will be aiming to qualify their nation for Rio 2016 as the event acts as the Continental Qualification regatta for both regions.

The Nacra 17 will be fiercely contested as Puerto Rico’s Enrique Figueroa and Franchesca Valdes face off against two Canadian teams for the North American spot. Long term campaigners and Olympians Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke will be the main Canadian hopefuls aiming to to overcome the Puerto Ricans. They’ll have compatriots and relative newcomers to the Nacra 17 Maxime Loiselle and Justine Antaya for company in the fleet.

Throughout 2015 the Puerto Ricans faced Ramsay and Girke on six occasions in highly competitive fleets. Figueroa and Valdes finished ahead of the Canadians at World Cup Miami, the World Championships and the European Championships.

Ramsay and Girke were in front of the Puerto Ricans at World Cup Hyeres and Weymouth & Portland as well as the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Regatta.

At each regatta the separation between the teams was minimal. That rivalry will resume in Miami for what could be the final bout between the teams as there will be no second chances for whoever misses out.

As for South American qualification, Guatemala’s Jason Hess and Irene Abascal, Uruguay’s Pablo Defazio and Mariana Foglia and Venezuala’s Yamil Saba and Andrea Saba will go toe to toe for the Rio 2016 spot.

At the head of the fleet World #1 Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) will spearhead a pack of 49 that includes high profile Nacra 17 contenders. Teams such as three-time World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), World #2 Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) and the experienced Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) will all be on the start line.

In the 49er, crews from the British Virgin Islands, Canada and USA will be going for the North American Olympic spot and duos from Chile and Uruguay will aiming for the South American position.

The 66-boat 49er fleet features a strong and seasoned contingent of skiff racers. London 2012 Olympic gold medallists Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) are amongst the entrants. They are joined by defending champions Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) and Beijing 2008 gold medallist Jonas Warrer and crew Anders Thomsen (DEN).

Newly crowned 49erFX World Champions Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich (ITA) are amongst the 36-boat 49erFX fleet in Miami. The Italian duo won their first World Championship together in Buenos Aires, Argentina last year and will be looking to bring that form into Miami.

They will be joined by World #1 duo, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA), defending Miami champions Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) as well as three leading Danish crews.

Partnerships from Aruba, US Virgin Islands and USA will be aiming for the North American Rio 2016 place and Chilean sailors are the only representatives from South America.

Forty-nine sailors will compete in the Finn class. London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Jonas Hogh Christensen (DEN), World #3 Jake Lilley (AUS) and national favourites Zach Railey (USA) and Caleb Paine (USA) will all be in the running for the medals. Sailors from Argentina and Chile as well as Canada are looking to qualify for Rio 2016 from South and North American.

In the Men’s and Women’s 470, fleets of 24 and 18 will sail on Biscayne Bay across the week. Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA) and two-time World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) will lead the charge in the Men’s and Women’s fleets.

South American Olympic Qualification will be between Chile and Ecuador in the Men’s and Argentina and Chile in the Women’s. As for North America, Canadian and Mexican sailors will compete for the Men’s Rio 2016 slot and Canada’s Allie Surrette and Ali Ten Hove are left uncontested in the Women’s.

Paralympic sailors had a fast paced finish to 2015 with back to back regattas in Melbourne, Australia. The Para World Sailing Championships was quickly followed by Sailing World Cup Melbourne in December and for those in the 2.4mR and Sonar, they’re back on the Paralympic campaign trail in Miami.

2015 Sonar Para World Sailing Champions John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR), runners up Colin Harrison, Jonathan Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) and bronze medallists Aleksander Wang Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR) will all be in Miami.

Paralympic sailing regular Paul Tingley and his crew of Logan Campbell and Scott Lutes (CAN) will join the fleet, as will as the strong French trio of Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont Vicary.

Twelve boats will compete in the 2.4mR. London 2012 gold medallist Helena Lucas (GBR) will be wanting to break her Miami hoodoo and take a maiden victory on the American waters. However, four Canadian and three American sailors will be aiming to put a halt to the Britons charge.

Racing is set to commence at 10:00 local time on Monday, January 25 across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic fleets. Medal Races on Saturday, January 30 will bring Sailing World Cup Miami to a close with the races to be broadcast live on the World Sailing TV YouTube Channel.

Live Medal Races will be available from 11:00 EST on Saturday here.

With so many of the elite Olympic and Paralympic competitors based overseas, it is fortuitous to have an event in North America that delivers high level competition. Gary Bodie, who has been involved in running the event since 2005, offers his view of the upcoming competition, click here for more.

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