Three bullets on day two, making it four in a row, put Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler firmly in first place. The 2022 Worlds silver medalists were faster than the rest ‘by far’ and didn’t make any mistakes to pull into the lead.
Hear us chat with the pair as they exit the water below.
The Swedish pair formed up as three 49erFX teams from the Tokyo quad disintigrated after missing Tokyo qualification. The squad boasted deep talent and good finishes but failed to execute at the qualification regattas last time. That disappointment broke the three teams, with retirement from one team and the other two switching skipper and crew. Only Bobeck and Netzler still remain, and they are clear in their focus on qualifying here for Paris.
Bobeck won the 2018 Junior World Championship in Marseilles, the sailing site for Paris 2024. The pair were in contention to win the Test Event in Marseilles last month when they withdrew just before the medal race due to an injury Bobeck picked up in a capsize. They haven’t been sailing since then until the start of the 2023 Worlds, but no rust seems to have built up.
Isaura Maenhaut with Anouk Geurts (BEL) sit tied with Olivia Price with Evie Haseldine (AUS) on twelve points, six behind the Swedes. The Belgium pair were involved in a pair of protests to finish the day, neither of which they felt they could be disqualified for. Their one blemish came in the first race of day two, a fourteen, which was the focus of their protests.
Qualifying continues for another day until the fleet will split into gold and silver.
A pair of gold medalists moved up into a tie for fourth and fifth. 2012 470 Gold medalist Jo Aleh with 2016 silver medalist in the FX, Molly Meech (NZL), sailed pretty cleanly all day, with good starboard starts, minimizing maneuvers, and sold speed to move up the standings. Their one blemish came on an upwind capsize when Aleh fell off her trapeze hook. There was no shortage of capsizes for the fleet on the day as conditions picked up nicely to challenge the bunch.
Tied with the Kiwi pair are 2012 Gold medalist in the Match Racing, Tamara Echegoyen with Paula Barcelo (ESP). Echegoyen and Barcelo won the 2020 Worlds, but haven’t been at their best yet this quadrennial. Perhaps the 2023 Worlds will reannounce their challenge for gold in Paris.
Two-time defending World Champions Odile van Aanholt with Annette Duetz (NED) continue to sail solidly and are tied for sixth. Duetz is also struggling with an injury that impacts the pair’s ability to boat handle at the elite level they are used to. The less-dense qualifying racing may provide them with an easier challenge, so this story could be one to watch once the gold fleet racing begins.
Follow along at International 49er Class Association » 2023 World Sailing Championship for all the results, photos, link, and live.
The 49erFX and 49er racing will conclude on August 18, 203 with medal races for each fleet.