Category Archives: Sailing

Hat-trick Puts Dutch 49erFX Team In Pole Position At Hempel World Cup Series

Odile van Aanholt and Marieke Jongens (NED) snapped up a hat trick of race wins in the 49erFX to propel themselves into pole position at the Hempel World Cup Series event in Genoa, Italy.

Hitting the top of the 49-boat 49erFX fleet holds special relevance for van Aanholt and Jongens as the event is the first of two qualification events for Dutch qualification to Tokyo 2020 in the 49erFX, so the stakes are high. Four other Dutch teams are currently competing and sit in ninth, 18th and 36th.

Genoa was alive and kicking on Thursday for the fourth day of competition after fleeting winds the days prior dented progress in the racing schedule.

A 5-7 knot western breeze ensured that every fleet, minus the Laser Radial, managed to complete at least one race as the organisers work hard to catch up on races lost the days prior.

Van Aanholt and Jongens’ fleet, the yellow, completed three races in the 49erFX whereas the blue completed two. The 49erFX fleet now has five complete races which has brought the qualification process to a close, enabling gold and silver fleet racing on Friday.

Hempel World Cup Series Genoa is an important event for many teams with internal Tokyo 2020 qualification battles heating up but for Van Aanholt and Jongens, their perfect day has gone a long way in giving them an early initiative.

“Only one team per fleet goes to Tokyo 2020 in sailing,” said Jongens. “We’ve got four Dutch 49erFX teams and we’ve got two events to decide who goes to the Olympic Games.”

Van Aanholt continued, “Our trials are here and at the European Championship in Weymouth [Great Britain]. Both regattas are weighted equally so it is important to do well here and there. To pick up points towards the trials you have to finish in the top ten. If you finish tenth you take one point and if you finish first you take ten points. If you finish outside of the top ten then you get no points. At the end of the whole thing it’s who gets the most points goes.

“It’s done this way, with the scores in the top ten, because we want a stable team who’s always at the top. If you’re in the top ten then it shows that there is potential for a medal at Tokyo 2020.”

Their performance has given them a good grounding for the remainder of the event. They currently lead on eight points followed by Sweden’s Klara Wester and Rebecca Netzler on 11 and Julia Gross and Hanna Klinga (SWE) third on 17.

Dutch rivals and 2018 World Champions Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz remain firmly in the hunt for points in the qualification process. They are ninth, just 13 points off the leaders. Willemijn Offerman and Cecile Janmaat (NED) are 18th on 33 points with the final Dutch team of Dewi Couvert and Tess Wilschut in 36th and out of contention for points as they did not make the gold fleet.

Plenty of racing remains in the 49erFX with four races scheduled for Friday ahead of Saturday’s Medal Race which will be broadcast live on World Sailing’s YouTube Channel – http://www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv.

The 49er also completed their qualification series. The yellow fleet sailed four races and the blue completed three as the scores from five races are combined.

Croatia’s 2018 World Champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela took three wins out of five and hold the lead on 14 points. They are three clear of Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra (ESP). Australian brothers David and Lachy Gilmour are third.

The top 33 racers will advance to gold fleet racing on Friday before the top ten progress to Saturday’s Medal Races.

After a patient two day wait ashore for breeze, the 20-boat Finn fleet finally took to the water for three races.

Finland’s Oskari Muhonen revelled in the light winds in Miami, winning the Medal Race which gave him a silver medal. He excelled once again in Genoa’s light wind clinching a 1-(2)-1 scoreline.

“It was really nice to finally get on the water,” said Muhonen. “The wind was quite light but surprisingly stable. I had pretty solid speed throughout the day which made it easier for me. I just had to start good and find the right lanes to finish well.”

On his success in light wind he concluded, “It’s been my strength for a long time. Maybe because there is never any wind in Finland!”

Jorge Zarif (BRA) took the third race win of the day and is second overall with Alex Muscat (ESP) in third.

Much like the Finn, the Men’s and Women’s 470 also commenced racing but were only able to complete one race each.

Nikolaus Kampelmühler and Thomas Czajka (AUT) took the Men’s 470 victory ahead of Japan’s Naoki Ichino and Takahashi Hasegawa. In the Women’s 470, Gil Cohen and Nao Lasry (ISR) beat Fernanda Oliveria and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA) and Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter (GBR) to the finish.

“It was a very hard race,” said Cohen. “We had a few recalls before the race got going. It was very important to remain focused at all times. On the last downwind we had very good speed and we moved up from second to first to take the win.”

Two blue and one yellow fleet race was completed in the Nacra 17 to establish an overall scoreboard with three results.

Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface (GBR) took a race win and a second in the blue fleet and now lead on two points. Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders (NZL) finished third in the only yellow fleet race which was enough for them to move into second.

The single yellow fleet race win went to Denmark’s Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lübeck who are 12th overall.

Three Laser blue races and two yellow races were completed. Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) sailed his way to a second, tenth and a 36th. His 36th does not yet count as the yellow fleet are a race behind. He holds the lead but he currently discards his tenth but his discard will be his 36th once the yellow fleet catch up.

Most of the competitors hold high scores so once the yellow fleet complete their fourth, plenty more shuffling around is expected.

The Laser Radial pushed to complete a race but it was just not possible as the wind died towards the latter part of the afternoon. Line Flem Høst (NOR) and Maud Jayet (SUI) remain tied on a point each after one yellow and blue race.

Racing starts at the earlier time of 10:00 local time on Friday as the Race Committee look to capitalise on a stronger breeze forecast early in the morning.

By Daniel Smith – World Sailing

First Laser Radial Victories Go To Høst (NOR) And Jayet (SUI)

Laser Radial racing commenced on the third day of competition at Hempel World Cup Series Genoa and Line Flem Høst (NOR) and Switzerland’s Maud Jayet took the first race wins of the series to share an early lead.

The 67-boat fleet is split into blue and yellow for the qualification series and the Norwegian triumphed over Greek favourite Vasileia Karachaliou in the blue fleet with Jayet defeating Rio 2016 bronze medallist Anne-Marie Rindom in the yellow.

Only the Laser Radial and the 49er yellow fleet managed to complete a race on Wednesday as a consistent breeze failed to develop. A 3-4 knot south easterly breeze was just enough for the Laser Radial and 49er to sail. The 470s and Finn will have to wait another day to get their competition underway. Meanwhile the Nacra 17 remain on three qualification races, the 49erFX on five and the Laser on two.

The calibre of competitors in the Laser Radial is extremely high with numerous Olympic, World Championship and World Cup medallists.

Mistakes can be punished quickly but racing in the yellow fleet, Jayet was near faultless, leading at every mark. “I started quickly,” commented Jayet, “I got out of the pack to sail at the front of the race and managed to beat Anne-Marie.”

Long waits on the water for a sailable breeze to develop can make the mind wander and when racing does start, concentration levels have to rise as the Swiss racer explained, “It is hard to keep focused when everything is going slowly. You have to learn to be patient. As soon as you lose focus you would lose your speed. In days like this, whoever is the most patient will be in front.

“From the start, I try to relax. Instead of running after the gusts, I just wait until I get one. It was one of those days where you could see girls on the other side of the course had more wind but by the time you would get there, it would go. You have to wait your turn and eventually it will come.”

The secret to mastering the conditions and maintain focus is simple, as Jayet continued, “You have to force yourself to sail and train in these conditions. Whenever people see light winds they might not train. You have to train in really light sessions and learn how to stay calm. It’s important to get used to it. None of us can choose what we sail in so we have to try and be good in strong and light winds.”

And as a Swiss sailor from Lausanne, sailing out of Societe Nautique de Geneve, has training and sailing on famous Lake Geneva helped? “I don’t sail on the lake much anymore,” she laughed, “but on days like this, I wish I did more often.”

Jayet took the race win ahead of Rindom with Canadian Olympian Isabella Bertold and Daphne van der Vaart (NED) following.

In the blue fleet, Flem Høst was equally impressive, leading from start, “I managed to separate well from the fleet so I could get some private wind,” explained the Norwegian. “Then it was about staying on top of everyone which I managed to do.”

On keeping focus, the Norwegian had a similar mindset to Jayet, commenting, “It is hard to keep focused. You see everyone coming from behind so it’s important to focus on doing the basics right and keeping calm. I just focused on myself and tried to forget about everyone else.

“You can train the technique in lighter winds, speed, tacks and gybes so you have the right technique but then it’s about breathing right and keeping your cool.”

Greece’s Karachaliou followed Flem Høst in to the finish with the experienced Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) and Carolina Albano (ITA) coming through in third and fourth respectively.

Just one 49er race was completed and Croatian World Champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela clinched it, securing their second race victory from three completed so far. Their remaining race result is a disqualification that they picked up in the opening race.

The blue race was the third of the series and does not yet count on the overall leaderboard as the yellow were unable to complete a race on the water. Once their third race is completed the scores will be combined.

Racing is scheduled to continue at 11:00 local time on Thursday 17 April with additional races planned for all fleets in a bid to catch up on those lost.

By Daniel Smith – World Sailing

Public Voting Opens For 2018 Rolex World Sailor Of The Year

World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport, and Rolex, the leading name in prestige watches that includes watches engineered specifically for sailing, are now inviting the public to vote for one male and one female who they think should receive the 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year title.

Public voting is open now through to 12:00 UTC on Monday 29 October, one day before the announcement at the World Sailing Awards in Sarasota, Florida, USA.

Click here for the online voting form.

The 11 nominated sailors personify excellence and represent the best of the best in international sailing over the last 12 months with kiteboarders, offshore racers and Olympic class specialists all shortlisted.

The names vying for the coveted and prestigious 2018 Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards are:

Female
Caterina Banti (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion
Carolijn Brouwer (NED) / Marie Riou (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winners
Daniela Moroz (USA) – 2018 Formula Kiteboarding World Champion
Wendy Tuck (AUS) – Clipper Round the World Race winning skipper

Male
Charles Caudrelier (FRA) – Volvo Ocean Race winning skipper
Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) – 2018 49er World Champions
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) – 2018 Laser World Champion
Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) – 2018 Men’s RS:X World Champion
Ruggero Tita (ITA) – 2018 Nacra 17 World Champion

Click here for more information on the nominated sailors.

The public vote will contribute 30% of the overall vote with World Sailing’s Member National Authorities making up the final 70%.

Each winner will be presented with the unique marble and silver trophy depicting the globe, crowned with five silver spinnakers representing the continents, together with a Rolex timepiece.

The Awards night is the social highlight of the World Sailing Annual Conference and 2018 is
set to be a ground breaking edition with the introduction of the World Sailing 11th Hour Racing Sustainability Award, the Team of the Year and the Boat of the Year.

Alongside Rolex World Sailor of the Year and the new Awards, the Beppe Croce Trophy, President Development Award and eSailing World Championship Trophy will be presented.

The Rolex World Sailor of the Year Awards is the most prestigious award of recognition in the dynamic sport of sailing. Since the awards’ inception in 1994, the trophy has proudly accumulated the names of those who have demonstrated unparalleled endurance, performance and accomplishment in sailing.

Beginning with Sir Peter Blake, Sir Robin Knox Johnston and Teresa Zabell (ESP), the inaugural winners, the trophy reads like the definitive who’s who in sailing.

Previous recipients of the Rolex World Sailor of the Year Award include:

2017 Peter Burling (NZL), Marit Bouwmeester (NED)
2016 Santiago Lange (ARG), Hannah Mills & Saskia Clark (GBR).
2015 Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL), Sarah Ayton (GBR)
2014 James Spithill (AUS), Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA)
2013 Mat Belcher (AUS), Jo Aleh & Polly Powrie (NZL)
2012 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Lijia Xu (CHN)
2011 Iker Martinez & Xabier Fernandez (ESP), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2010 Tom Slingsby (AUS), Blanca Manchon (ESP)
2009 Torben Grael (BRA), Anna Tunnicliffe (USA)
2008 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Alessandra Sensini (ITA)
2007 Ed Baird (USA), Claire Leroy (FRA)
2006 Mike Sanderson (NZL), Paige Railey (USA)
2005 Fernando Echavarri & Anton Paz (ESP), Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2004 Robert Scheidt (BRA), Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
2003 Russell Coutts (SUI), Siren Sundby (NOR)
2002 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Sofia Bekatorou & Emilia Tsoulfa (GRE)
2001 Robert Scheidt (BRA), Ellen MacArthur (GBR)
2000 Mark Reynolds & Magnus Liljedahl (USA), Shirley Robertson (GBR)
1999 Mateusz Kusznierewicz (POL), Margriet Matthijse (NED)
1998 Ben Ainslie (GBR), Carolijn Brouwer (NED)
1997 Pete Goss (GBR), Ruslana Taran & Elena Pakholchik (UKR)
1996 Jochen Schümann (GER), Lai Shan Lee (HKG)
1995 Russell Coutts (NZL), Isabelle Autissier (FRA)
1994 Peter Blake (NZL) & Robin Knox-Johnston (GBR), Theresa Zabell (ESP)

Argentina Win Nacra 15 Gold At home Youth Olympic Games

Dante Cittadini and Teresa Romairone (ARG) won gold in the Mixed Nacra 15 fleet in front of a packed Club Nautico San Isidro at the Youth Olympic Sailing Competition, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

On home waters, and in a variety of conditions, the Argentinians sailed consistently throughout the week and led the fleet for the vast majority of the competition.

Already in first place ahead of the Medal Race, Cittadini and Romairone finished sixth, which was enough to hand them the gold medal with a seven-point advantage.

“It’s really exciting to see all the people on this river, which we’ve been sailing on for a long time, cheering for us – it’s amazing,” said Romairone.

“I’ve learned a lot of things this week, such as how to stay focused all the time and how to manage nerves. I never usually get nervous, but this time I did!”

The Athlete Role Models for Sailing are Argentineans Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, who won gold in the Nacra 17 fleet at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

They have been present at the venue daily, and Romairone believes that gave herself and Cittadini extra inspiration throughout the week.

“They [Santi and Ceci] always give us encouragement and advice – they were a really big help,” she said.

“They are such good sailors, and just to see them in the club and be so close to them was very motivating.”

After going all out for the Youth Olympic Games, Romairone admitted she is unsure of their imminent plans, but expressed an interest in one day moving into the senior Nacra 17 boat.

“Our objective was always the Games. We didn’t project anything further, so at this moment I don’t know,” she added.

“Anything can happen. There are a lot of boats to sail in. It would be amazing [to sail the Nacra 17] – it’s a really cool boat.”

Titouan Petard and Kenza Coutard (FRA) claimed an impressive Medal Race win, which moved them from fourth place overall up to a silver medal position.

The French duo won the opening race of the competition and actually enjoyed more top-three results than their Argentinian opponents, but a discard of 14th and three further finishes outside the top five added extra points to their total.

However, they hit form just at the right time, winning the last race on Friday before their sublime victory in the Medal Race gave them France’s second silver in Sailing so far.

“It’s really amazing to win this medal – we didn’t know if it would be possible so we are very happy,” said Coutard.

“To take bronze or silver, all we had to do was attack in the final race, and we did that.

“After this we won’t continue to sail together – I have another helm and Titouan has another crew – but it’s been an incredible event.”

It meant Laila van der Meer and Bjarne Bouwer (NED), who started the day in the silver medal position, lost out by just one point after finishing fourth in the Medal Race.

But after narrowly missing out on a medal at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA earlier this year, they were pleased to claim bronze and finish on the podium this time.

“It was so close and we were so afraid because we didn’t want to finish fourth again, but everything came together,” said Bouwer.

“We had a good start and then chose the right side. We lost our chance at winning silver in the last few metres, but we are so happy with bronze.

“This week, the boat-to-boat racing has been intense. With everybody so close, you have to be good at that, and you have to be so sharp because every point counts here.”

On their future ambitions, Bouwer added: “We are going into the Nacra 17 together, so we will now spend some time learning the boat.”

Elsewhere, Henri Demesmaeker and Frederique van Eupen (BEL), level on points with the Dutch sailors before the final race, could only finish eighth, which wasn’t enough for a medal.

The Kiteboarding class managed to complete the first of two semi finals in both the Boy’s and the Girl’s fleets, heading out onto the water shortly before 15:30.

They will use tomorrow’s reserve day to complete the second semi final, before racing the Petit final (which will determine fifth to eighth place) and the main winner-takes-all Final to crown the Youth Olympic champion.

Racing continues at 10:00 local time on Sunday 14th October – an earlier start for the Kiteboarders to take advantage of better wind conditions in the morning.

German Kiteboarder Continues Dominance At The Youth Olympic Games

A dazzling display on the water from Alina Kornelli (GER) ensured she remains top of the Girl’s Kiteboarding fleet at the Youth Olympic Sailing Competition at Club Nautico San Isidro, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

With lighter windspeeds than the previous day, all three classes were able to race. Windsurfing reverted back to fleet racing, and though Kiteboarding was initially affected by a postponement which saw them return to shore, the wind picked up sufficiently for them to return to the water.

Kornelli has won four out of five races so far, including two wins today, and is five points ahead of Sofia Tomasoni (ITA) in second and six points ahead of Nina Font (ESP) who is third.

“The last A final was really close between me and Nina; at the beginning I was first, then she was first, but I won it in the end,” Kornelli explained.

“I’m really happy with my results in the competition. I will try and stay focused and really do my best.”

In the Boy’s fleet, Slovenian kiteboarder Toni Vodisek moved into the top three with a win in the last race of the day.

“The wind was pretty light today; we had the 17s, the biggest kites we have, and we finished a race from yesterday before doing two more,” he said.

“Yesterday I was unlucky as the equipment I took was too small, but today with the same equipment it went better.”

Deury Corniel (DOM) lost his 100% record with two sixth places but keeps the overall lead, two points ahead of Cameron Maramenides (USA).

In the Nacra 15 fleet, the Dutch duo Laila van der Meer and Bjarne Bouwer stormed into second place, taking two wins from four races.

They are now six points behind leaders Dante Cittadini and Teresa Romairone (ARG) who took a race win, a second, a sixth and one seventh, which they discard.

“The wind was really shifty and gusty; it was hard to predict what was going to happen,” explained van der Meer.

“The number three is always the tricky spot, so the number two feels good, but we’re still not there,” added Bouwer.

“The Olympics is so much more than a normal regatta. My roommate won a medal in rollerspeed skating and he was so happy. We are enjoying every second.”

In Girl’s and Boy’s Windsurfing, the overall leaders remained unchanged as Giorgia Speciale (ITA) and Alexandros Kalpogiannakis (GRE) kept up their excellent form on the water.

Speciale has yet to finish outside the top three during the competition and is 13 points ahead of second-placed Manon Pianazza (FRA).

Entering the top three for the first time is Naama Gazit (ISR) who is now level on points with her French opponent.

“I started the day not so good (7th, discarded) but my second race was better and in the last race I finished second,” she said.

Alina Kornelli at the Youth Olympic Sailing Competition

“The wind was really shifty and the course kept changing so we spent a long time on the water, but I’m really happy to be in the top three.”

There’s a close fight between Kalpogiannakis and Nicolo Renna (ITA) in the Boy’s fleet. The pair are separated by six points, with third-placed Finn Hawkins (GBR) 15 points behind the Italian.

“It was a really tricky day today; a lot was happening and the wind was flicking about all over the place,” said Hawkins.

“You had to pick your spot, find your outwind and try and get some consistent results.”

Racing continues at 12:00 local time on Thursday 11th October. It will be a reserve day for the Nacra 15 fleet, meaning only Kiteboarding and Windsurfing will be competing.

By Liz Owen – World Sailing

Buenos Aires Prepares To host 100 Sailors At The Youth Olympic Games

The third Youth Olympic Games, to be held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, between 6-18 October 2018, will welcome 100 sailors from 44 different nations.

Five sailing events will take place at Club Náutico San Isidro in the Argentine capital, including debuts for two classes – Girl’s and Boy’s Kiteboarding (Twin Tip Racing) and the Mixed Multihull (Nacra 15). Elsewhere, Girl’s and Boy’s Windsurfing (Techno 293+) will return for its third consecutive Games.

The Nacra 15 will race in one fleet, with up to 12 opening series races and one final race.

In the Techno 293+, the first race of the opening series will be a fleet race. Following the first race, either a fleet or slalom single elimination series race will be held. All fleet races will race in one group and each slalom race will be divided into four heats with semi-finals and finals to decide who gets maximum points from that race. The final race will be a fleet race, featuring all the competitors.

The Twin Tip Racing Kiteboarding, however, will include up to 24 qualifying races, with a heats-based system eventually determining which four athletes will progress to the final. The racecourse will also contain several obstacles as an extra challenge for the kiteboarders.

A host of qualification regattas across all five events were held to help dictate which nations would compete at the Youth Olympic Games. Places were awarded to the highest performing nations in the World Championships of each class before a series of continental qualification regattas across six regions took place. Hosts Argentina were automatically awarded a spot in each fleet.

No fewer than eight medal-winning athletes from this year’s Youth Sailing World Championships, held in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA, will be competing in the Youth Olympic Games, including three World Champions.

Nacra 15 sailors Teresa Romairone and Dante Cittadini stormed to gold in Corpus Christi by an astonishing 36 points, dominating the fleet with just one race finish outside the top five throughout the competition. The Argentine duo will be sailing on home waters at Buenos Aires, with Cittadini also selected as his country’s official flag-bearer at the Opening Ceremony.

Islay Watson (GBR) is the other 2018 Youth Worlds gold medallist participating at the Youth Olympic Games. In a competitive RS:X Girls fleet, the British windsurfer won three out of her last four races to claim the title by two points. In Buenos Aires she will be racing on the Techno 293+ and will be joined by some tough competitors.

Veerle ten Have (NZL) and Giorgia Speciale (ITA) shared the podium with Watson in Texas and they will both be aiming to claim the Girl’s Windsurfing fleet in Buenos Aires.

17-year-old Ten Have, who took the silver medal at the Youth Worlds, has had a busy few months – she also made an appearance at the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, finishing 52nd overall out of 62 sailors.

Speciale, meanwhile, picked up bronze in Corpus Christi, finishing 23 points ahead of fourth-placed Palma Cargo (CRO), who will also race at the Games. The Italian heads to Argentina in good form, with a recent 2018 RS:X Youth European Championship title under her belt.

Her compatriot Nicolo Renna is the sole male RS:X Youth Worlds medal-winner to be making the trip to South America; he won silver in Corpus Christi, 12 points ahead of third place.

World Champion Geronimo Nores won’t be at the Youth Olympic Games but his younger brother Manuel (USA) is part of the Techno 293+ line-up in Buenos Aires. Similarly, the younger sister of Youth Worlds bronze medal-winner Fabien Pianazza, Manon, is amongst the Girl’s Windsurfing pack.

Concluding the 2018 Youth Worlds podium representatives are silver medal-winners Andrea Spagnolli and Giulia Fava (ITA), who will be taking on Romairone and Cittadini in the Nacra 15 fleet.

Elsewhere, some of the brightest young names in Kiteboarding will light up the water as the discipline makes its Youth Olympic Games debut.

The winners of the 2018 Kiteboarding TwinTip: Racing Youth Worlds completely dominated the regatta. Both Deury Corneil (DOM) and Nina Font Castells (ESP) ran riot to claim a winning total of just four points each, and they’ll be eager to recapture that form on the global Olympic stage.

And there were several teenage competitors at this year’s Kiteboarding TwinTip: Racing World Championships in Italy, with many of the Youth Olympic Games representatives tasting success.

Sofia Tomasoni (ITA) won her first senior championship, while the Pump Kite Trophy was won by Poland’s Oliwia Hlobuczek.

Tomasoni qualified for the Youth Olympic Games via the Africa and Europe Qualification tournament in Dakhla, Morocco, in February this year, where Toni Vodisek (SLO) also snatched a place in the Boy’s event after a tight battle with France’s Benoit Gomez.

Elsewhere, Jingle Che (CHN), who became Asia’s first Kiteboarding World Champion in 2017 at the age of 16, finished first in the Asia/Oceania Kiteboarding Qualifier regatta in March this year to seal her spot at the Games.

From the two previous Youth Olympic Games, held in Singapore in 2010 and China in 2014, a host of participants have gone on to compete in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Several medallists are continuing to perform at the highest level of sailing – six previous Youth Olympic Games medal winners were present at the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, including Kieran Holmes-Martin (GBR), Techno 293+ bronze medallist in 2010, and Daphne van der Vaart (NED), Techno 293+ silver medallist in 2010.

Additionally, all 31 sports are also represented by Athlete Role Models, who will provide support in a mentoring capacity throughout the competition. Taking on the task for sailing are Rio 2016 Nacra 17 gold medallists and Argentine nationals Cecilia Carranza Saroli and Santiago Lange; Lange himself is from San Isidro, the very heart of this year’s Games.

Windsurfing racing begins at 12:00 local time (UTC-3) on Sunday 7 October, with the Kiteboarding and Nacra 15 events following suit at the same time on Monday 8 October.

Windsurfing will then finish one day earlier on Friday 12 October, before Kiteboarding and the Nacra 15 wrap up on Saturday 13 October.

Liz Owen
World Sailing

SailGP gains World Sailing Special Event Status

SailGP, a thrilling new fan-centric grand prix racing circuit, has received Special Event status from World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport.

Special Event status ensures the world governing body formally recognises and sanctions the event.

Over the course of the 11-year partnership, SailGP sanction fees will be invested back into the sport to support World Sailing’s development initiatives.

World Sailing will support SailGP with promotional and marketing activities as well as supporting the World Sailing Race Officials overseeing the event. SailGP will be held under World Sailing’s Racing Rules of Sailing and Regulations, with World Sailing overseeing in particular the anti-doping and nationality rules.

Founded and owned by Larry Ellison, SailGP’s day-to-day operations are overseen by CEO Sir Russell Coutts. The new property sets out to redefine sailing with five global grands prix featuring six national teams on identical wingsailed F50s – the world’s fastest, most technologically advanced catamarans.

Five-person teams from Australia, China, France, Great Britain, Japan and the United States of America will compete in the inaugural season.

In season one, SailGP will bring inshore racing to the following locations:
Sydney, Australia – 15-16 February
San Francisco, USA – 4-5 May
New York, USA – 21-22 June
Cowes, Great Britain – 10-11 August
Marseille, France – 20-22 September

Each event will be comprised of two competition days with five fleet races culminating in a final match race between the two leaders to decide the victor. The final in Marseille will feature a winner-take-all, $1 million championship match race between the season’s top two teams to conclude three days of racing.

“World Sailing is thrilled to be working with SailGP to bring a new, exciting and fan friendly elite racing league to life,” said Hunt. “SailGP is an ambitious project that is spearheaded by an incredible forward thinking leadership team. We’re excited about SailGP’s commitment to innovate and advance the sport forward and by working in partnership, we will aim to inspire millions more people to fall in love with sailing.”

“SailGP distills all of the most successful, exciting and relevant elements of high-performance, professional racing, while adding the extra edge that comes with nation-versus-nation competition,” said Coutts, SailGP CEO. “We are aiming to be pioneers of new technologies, boat design, commercial partnerships and global audience engagement. But with every crew on the same groundbreaking F50 catamaran, this isn’t a tech arms race, rather the ultimate test to establish the best sailing team in advanced foiling catamarans.”

The new F50 boats will begin launching in Marsden Point, New Zealand, later this month, with the inaugural race to set sail on 15 February in Sydney.

SailGP becomes World Sailing’s seventh Special Event joining the Volvo Ocean Race, Extreme Sailing Series, World Match Racing Tour, PWA World Your, Star Sailors League and the Global Kitesports Association’s freestyle world tours.