Spain gets punished at Sailing World Championships

Published on August 3rd, 2018

Aarhus, Denmark (August 3, 2018) – Competition at the Sailing World Championships for the 10 Olympic classes and two kiteboarding fleets is staggered from August 2 to 12, and with 49ers not starting until tomorrow, this gave the Spanish team some extra time to get into trouble.

After a night in the jury room, all three Spanish 49er teams are now in crisis mode as they have each been disqualified from the first race of the Championship.

While training in afternoon yesterday, the three boats were lined up doing some speed testing and sailed through the local ferry channel. The ferry is a fast catamaran, and they spotted it at a distance. They attempted to sail out of its way, but as it approached at speed they ultimately were in its way, and it was required to alter course and slow significantly.

The maritime infraction was reported to the Organizing Authority who decided to protest the three teams. After a lengthy hearing, each of the three teams has been disqualified from the first race. Additionally, their coach has been barred from the water for 4 days, which includes the first two days of racing.

2015 World Championship Bronze medalists, Federico Alonso, was distraught at the decision. “Clearly we made a mistake, but the penalty seems awfully severe for an unintentional breech before racing has even begun.”

The penalty has effected two major contenders for this championship. The Alonso brothers, as mentioned above were penalized, as was Diego Botin and Iago Marra who won the European Championship only three weeks ago. The third boat was their young team mates Luis Arriola and Jorge Roman.

While the individual disqualifications are tough, it’s almost more impactful that it happened to include all of the Spanish entries. Since it is the top eight nations at the championship that win Olympic berths, this is a major blow to a nation hoping to be free and clear for Tokyo in this super competitive fleet.

An appeal to the decision has been raised, and ultimately if the teams sail strong qualifying series the DSQ score can be dropped, but the pressure is certainly on!

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The Sailing World Championships, held once every four years for all ten Olympic classes, has 1,400 sailors from 85 nations in close to 1,000 boats for competition on August 2-12.

There are also two kiteboarding events competing, which along with the Olympic classes, have their competition staggered from August 2 to 12. The provisional schedule has five events racing today: Finn, 470 M and W, Laser, and Laser Radial. Click here for schedule.

In addition to World titles, the event is the first and largest country qualifier for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with 40% of the places being decided. For information on how nations qualify for the 2020 Olympics, click here.

Source: 49er class

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