Skunked at Niner-Nacra Worlds
Published on February 10th, 2020
Geelong, Australia (February 10, 2020) – The opening day for the 2020 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 World Championship was skunked when 25 to 30 knots out of the east kept the three fleets onshore.
As a result of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, the ten classes that are part of the Olympic program find themselves with a compressed schedule to complete their 2020 Worlds prior to the Games. For the 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 classes, that meant their 2019 World titles were awarded just two months ago in Auckland, New Zealand.
Barely enough time for a parade, and far from enough time to enjoy being kings and queens of the world.
This compression compounds the issue of athlete nomination for Tokyo 2020 as the ability to peak for championship events has limits. For nations with a subjective system of selection, their choice may already have been made if they have a clear leader in the class. For those chosen athletes, they can approach the 2020 Worlds differently than sailors still needing to outperform their nation rivals.
Another variable is how the 2020 Worlds venue compares with the 2020 Olympic venue, and by all accounts the Geelong venue will be a bit different. With the course area nearly surrounded by land, the water is exceedingly flat while extreme shiftiness in the wind will likely lead to some shocker scores.
While Tokyo can have similar conditions with northerly winds, it is the frequent onshore direction that keeps athletes up at night. When the wind pumps in from the Pacific Ocean, massive waves form on Sagami Bay, tempting the skittish skiffs and foiling catamaran to tumble downwind.
Surviving these carnage conditions will likely determine the medals in Tokyo, but who is best at throttling back won’t be learned at the 2020 Worlds.
The forecast tomorrow is for lighter winds in the morning then SSW 15-20kts in the afternoon with the chance of thunderstorms. The original event plan for February 10-15 is three days of qualifying races before the three day final series to determine the title winner.
Event details: https://49er.org/event/2020-world-championship/
To track USA selection, click here.