Catch up time at Oceania Championships
Published on February 1st, 2020
The 2020 World Championships for the 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 will have racing on February 10-15 in Geelong, Australia. As the final event of the US Olympic selection system, all eyes will be on the teams hoping to compete in Tokyo 2020. In advance of the Worlds is the Oceania Championships being held January 31 to February 3 at the same venue. Here’s the day two report:
(February 1, 2020) – After blown-out conditions on the opening day kept the 49erFX and Nacra 17 fleets ashore, it was catch up time today. For John Gimson and Anna Burnett (GBR), who were named last week by Team GB to head to Tokyo, the duo rewarded their selectors by sailing well enough to lead after the first day.
With all conditions on the day, it was the local weed that sailors were talking about and the Brits were cool enough on the water to stop and reverse twice to clear their foils en-route to a final race second place. The non-standard move offers a bit of insight into the confidence they are sailing with after completing all of 2019 with top 5 finishes.
Most of the fleet competing at the 2020 Worlds signed up to race at this warm up regatta. There are a few notable changes since the 2019 Worlds just a few months ago. We are missing two contenders for the 2020 Worlds title in the Nacra 17. Neither Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) nor Ben Saxton and Nicola Bonniface (GBR) were selected for the Tokyo games and have stepped back from racing in recent weeks.
Also sailing well on the first day were three teams that are aiming to peak at the upcoming Worlds. In second – Riley Gibbs/ Anna Weis (USA), third – Ruggero Tita/ Caterina Banti (ITA), fourth – Jason Waterhouse/ Lisa Darmanin (AUS) are each locking into a domestic selection battle and will be looking to replicate these performances to begin the worlds next week.
Other teams took a different approach to the warm up regatta, and only completed a couple of the four races on the day. In the Nacra 17, the Outteridge siblings only sailed the first two races before heading into warm up on a day that was cool and rainy throughout. The abnormal wind direction also pushed out much more week onto the course area than typical, which the Nacras managed to pick up in quantity. Hopefully more standard conditions will resume.
In the 49erFX, it was much the same for Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze who completed only one race on the day.
Out in front of the 49erFX fleet are Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) with all races in the top five. A plethora of top teams chase them a few points back in the split fleet qualifying scores.
The 49er fleet headed to the water late in the day to try and make up for the partially completed day one.
Conditions were steadiest at to start the day, and Diego Botin and Iago Marra (ESP) won both of their races. The pair were each named to the Spanish Sail GP team and will start on that circuit starting in Sydney later this month.
As the day went on, the wind got shiftier and puffier. Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) had a good day, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. After one gybe set they lost over 200m in the first few moments before recovering some of that distance and salvaging an 8th.
The Spanish and Kiwis are first and second overall, and are trailed by a trio of Aussie teams.
Rejoining the 49er fleet are 2018 World Championship Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO). Sime is fully recovered from an injury in 2019 that forced him to miss the 2019 Worlds and is ready to get back to racing. The Croatian brothers started the regatta with all top 10’s, so they’re seemingly back in the game.
The fleets will be split into a 20 boat Gold fleet for 49erFX, a 25 boat Gold fleet for 49er with Silver and Bronze as well, and the Nacra 17 fleet will continue to race in one group for the remainder of the Oceanias.
Racing is from January 31 to February 3.
Source: 9er Inc