Final exam time at Olympic Test Event
Published on August 20th, 2019
Enoshima, Japan (August 20, 2019) – With southerly winds in the teens, five of the ten classes have wrapped the Qualifying Series at the Ready Steady Tokyo – Sailing, Olympic Test Event. The top ten in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X, 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 will compete tomorrow in the first round of Medal Races.
But for many nations and athletes, the test event has wider implications for Tokyo 2020 qualification. One such example is Katy Spychakov (ISR) in the RS:X Women’s fleet as she sits second overall, seven points behind leader Yunxiu Lu (CHN) and three ahead of Rio 2016 champion Charline Picon (FRA).
With an abundance of Israeli talent in this class, it will be a tough task for her to confirm her spot at the Games, but she can take a big step forward with a top-three finish tomorrow.
“For us, there are four important competitions – the Europeans in Palma earlier this year, this event, then the two upcoming Worlds in Garda and New Zealand,” Spychakov explained. “Here, it’s only me who can get some points, but only if I get a medal.
“I had a good day today and the conditions were nice; we had a nice sea breeze picking up during the day and some nice planing in the downwinds. I’m really happy with the way I’m sailing and I think it’s a pretty good sign for next year – I would like to be here.”
Lu and Spychakov took a win each today, as did Emma Wilson (GBR), who sits 11 points behind Picon in fourth.
Both Skiff Medal Races look to be interesting affairs for different reasons.
In the 49er fleet, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) have sailed consistently all week, so much so that they are able to discard their only finish outside the top 10 from 12 races. Claiming their third race win today puts them 13 points ahead of nearest challengers, Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL).
Przybytek and Kolodzinski are then eight points ahead of Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) who, after a tricky start to the week, have powered back into the top three, winning the final fleet race.
“Last year during the Europeans we were consistent but the Medal Race was difficult – this year we have been consistent and will fight until the end for a medal,” said Kolodzinski.
On the qualification process for Poland in the 49er, Kolodzinski added: “We need to qualify our country during the Worlds in Auckland in December, and at each Worlds and Europeans we collect points. Then the Polish Federation will make a decision in June.”
Mathieu Frei and Noe Delpech (FRA) collected the other race win.
While there is some space among the skiff men, the women’s 49erFX fleet has only seven points separating first and third going into the Medal Race.
Leaders Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) stumbled today, and while they remain in front, they are only a single point ahead of nearest challengers Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).
“It was a tough day for us so we are a little disappointed,” shared Dobson after a 15-13-6. “We just struggled to get off the line like we have done in previous days and that meant we got caught up in a lot of traffic. Luckily we hustled a little through the fleet and that has helped us on the scoreboard.”
A solid week for Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) puts them six points behind the Brazilians, with a three-point gap between them and fourth-placed Helene Nass and Marie Ronningen (NOR).
No one in the top seven won a race today – Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz (NED) got two bullets, with Albane Dubois and Lili Sebesi (FRA) claiming the other victory.
We’ll see another close Medal Race unfold in the Nacra 17 fleet, with just 10 points separating first and fifth and all able to claim gold.
Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti (ITA) have led all week long, but they take a slender two-point advantage into tomorrow’s showdown.
John Gimson and Anna Burney (GBR) leapfrog Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) into second, courtesy of a race win, but the Rio 2016 gold medalists are only five points behind them.
Vying for a podium spot are Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS), two points behind in fourth, and the other British team of Ben Saxon and Nikki Boniface, just a point adrift of the Aussies after winning the final race.
Taking the day’s other race win were Quentin Delapierre and Manon Audinet (FRA), which helped them confirm 10th place and qualify for the Medal Race.
And in the RS:X Men’s fleet, Mengfan Gao (CHN) has a 16-point lead over Thomas Goyard (FRA), helped by his third win of the week today, with Tom Squires (GBR) just three points behind the Frenchman.
Though Gao looks likely to wrap up gold tomorrow, there will be a fierce fight for a podium spot elsewhere as Mattia Camboni (ITA) sits level on points with Squires and the two Poles, Piotr Myszaka and Pawel Tarnowski, are one and six points behind the Italian respectively.
Angel Granada (ESP) and Piotr Myszka (POL) bagged the other two wins.
Elsewhere, fleet racing continues for one more day in the 470 Men and Women, Laser, Laser Radial, and Finn classes tomorrow.
Zsombor Berecz (HUN) has a 16-point advantage over Giles Scott (GBR) in the Finns, with Nicholas Heiner (NED) in third, still ahead of Andy Maloney (NZL).
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) stay in front in the 470 Men, with Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) switching places with Jordi Xammar and Nicolas Rodriguez (ESP) in the top three.
Americans Stu McNay and Dave Hughes, moving up from 6th to 4th, found the short windward leeward legs of the three-lapped Men’s 470 course to ultimately favor the US Sailing Team. “It was possible that we could have stepped away with pair of threes or a pair of 15s today,” noted Hughes after a 4-8. “We’re happy with where we ultimately ended up.”
In the 470 Women, leaders Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) dropped to third overall after receiving a disqualification in the final race of the day. Camille Lecointre and Aloise Retornaz (FRA) now top the fleet, ahead of Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR).
Jesper Stalheim (SWE) keeps his lead in the Laser fleet, with Matt Wearn (AUS) and Sam Meech (NZL) following.
And in the Laser Radial fleet, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) retakes second place, behind Emma Plasschaert (BEL) but in front of Maria Erdi (HUN).
Leading into the double points Medal Race stage tomorrow for the first five fleets, only Stephanie Roble/ Maggie Shea (USA) in the 49erFX have qualified among the North American competitors.
The 49erFX race gets underway at 13:30 local time tomorrow. Both the 49er and RS:X Women will follow at 14:30, with the RS:X Men and Nacra 17 fleets kicking off at 15:30. Fleet racing for the other five events starts at around 12:00.
The forecast suggests 8 to 10 knot winds that begin from the northeast and shift to the south.
Source: World Sailing, US Team, British Team
Top North Americans:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – Laser (8 races): 11th Chris Barnard (USA)
Women’s One Person Dinghy – Laser Radial (8 races): 8th Erika Reineke (USA)
Men’s Two Person Dinghy – 470 (8 races): 4th Stu McNay/ David Hughes (USA)
Women’s Two Person Dinghy – 470 (8 races): 16th Nikole Barnes/ Lara Dallman-Weis (USA)
Men’s Skiff – 49er (12 races): 16th Andrew Mollerus/ Ian MacDiarmid (USA)
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx (12 races): 10th Stephanie Roble/ Maggie Shea (USA)
Men’s One Person Dinghy Heavy – Finn (8 races): 17th Luke Muller (USA)
Men’s Windsurfing – RS:X (10 races): 20th Pedro Pascual (USA)
Women’s Windsurfing – RS:X (11 races): 18th Farrah Hall (USA)
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17 (12 races): 19th Riley Gibbs/ Anna Weis (USA)
USA Team roster… click here.
Racing in Enoshima commenced on Saturday August 17. The 49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17, and RS:X fleets will conclude racing on August 21 with the 470s, Laser, Laser Radial, and Finns following on August 22.