Breaks, bruises and capsizes in Guanabara Bay on the first day of the 49er and 49erFX Intergalactics in Rio

The strong winds, especially on the men’s fleet, where gusts of 25knots blew in the later races, took its toll on the Intergalactic Championship of 49er and 49erFX in the venue of the 2016 Olympics.

After the South Americans last week, the leading international names in the fastest and showiest of Olympic monohulls were in Rio de Janeiro to continue their adaptation to the ever surprising and difficult conditions of the racecourses in Guanabara Bay. At least for most part of the sailors. Because New Zealanders Peter Burling and Blair Tuke, world champions, world ranking leaders and victorious in the South American Championship in an incredible way, after missing the first three races and only discarding one of them, won the three races contested today in the “Escola Naval” racecourse and have a comfortable lead.

Among the 49er fleet, four boats had problems to finish the competitions in the strong winds that blew in the last two races of the day, particularly in the windward part of the racecourse. The Irish double had to abandon race after the crew, Matt McGovern, injured his right arm. “It was before the start and I tried to go on, but it was very hard to grab the trapeze line and I preferred to recover as soon as possible”, stated the sailor that lives in Belfast.

For one of the Argentinians boats it was the very trapeze line that broke and for GBR 98 a capsize in the last race sent them back to the club earlier. The Brazilians Rafael Gagliotti and Henrique Wisnieswski preferred to keep the boat in one piece, as they are not used to sail the 49er in these conditions.

On the leader board, after the super kiwis with 3 points, are the Britons John Pink and Hollingworth Bithell with 11pts, followed by the French duo Manu Dyen and Christidis Stephane with 18 pts. The son of Torben, Marco Grael and his bowman Gabriel Borges, in fifth place overall, are the best South Americans in the competition that brings together 24 boats from 14 nations.

FX – Among women, the best local sailors also carries the same surname.nze Martine Grael and Kahena Ku, recently elected the best sailors of the year by Isaf, appear in eighth among 20 boats from 12 countries. “Although I know the bay very well, for me it was hard to read the wind and currents today”, said Martine, the actual leader of the world rankings in 49erFX.

As they went out earlier, the ladies didn’t have the strongest of the breeze, but sailed in a solid 15 to 18 knots S/SE wind. In the chart, who comes first are Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskou-Iversen of Denmark, with 7points. In second place are the Germans Tina Lutz and Susan Bencke, with 12 pts, and in third are Charlotte Dodson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) with 14 points.

The champion of the 49erFX South Americans, Anemiek Bekkering, who sailed with her coach last week, returned to have a woman in the bow and is in 8th place with 27 points.

Tomorrow the Intergalactic 49er and 49erFX continues with three more races planned to start at 11: 30h (local time, GMT -02:00) for the men on 49ers and at 14:00 for the women on 49erFXs.


Men’s (49er) results:

Women’s (49erFX) results:


Murillo Novaes


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