Dueling training regattas along the Atlantic Seaboard sees a 49er and a Nacra fleet in Santander, an FX and another 49er fleet in Cascais!
Santander, Spain – An Olympic-sized 49er fleet with about half the Tokyo lineup is racing a training regatta in Santander currently. Burling and Tuke (NZL) are in contention for the lead after nine races, beating all of their Olympic rivals and only sitting behind their countrymen Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn. While the world’s hottest sailing pair have won 3 of the nine races, they also have an 11th, 13th, and 8th on the scorecard, from a fleet of 16. This may indicate the kiwi duo haven’t lost a bit of their boat speed, but may not quite be in the racing form once they get mixed up with the pack. The winds have also been light, which typically means more variable scoring.
There is plenty of talent chasing the kiwis for Tokyo glory. Spanish 2020 World Championship runners-up, Diego Botin and Iago Mara, just won the Lanzarote regatta by a landslide and seem to have developed some extra pace while little racing has been going on. This week in Santander they are a single point behind Burling and Tuke. Also chasing in Santander are Ben Bildstein and David Hussle (AUT), the Fantela Brothers (CRO) and Eric Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER), who missed the first day of racing and are therefore not in contention on the leaderboard. Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (GBR) are not racing in Santander as they’ve exceeded their time allocation in Europe this spring, and are home training with the British squad instead (everyone still enjoying Brexit?)
The preparation for Tokyo continues to be a wild affair for all teams, as the NOR for Tokyo was recently updated with a TBD on the arrival and venue opening date. Here we are in May with little insight on when the Olympic fleets can defend on Enoshima and less than eight weeks to go. The preparation may be hardest for the champs, as Burling and Tuke have left New Zealand and are presumably on the road till Tokyo. With strict quarantine requirements on re-entering NZ, they’ll be chasing around Europe until heading to the games.
After winning back to back world titles in 2019 and 2020, they put their 49er aside to defend the America’s Cup which took the bulk of their focus well into March. With only four months between winning the AC and the start of the games, that alone would put any team under pressure, but they also launched their Sail GP team and just spent 2 weeks in Bermuda (mostly) rigging a GP 50 and then have two more Sail GP regatta between now and the opening ceremony.
Cascais, Portugal – Consolidation of the podium for men and everything open for the women.
On the third day of the 2021 Cascais 49er & 49erFS Championship races the two Olympic class 49er fleets returned to the Guia race area to fulfill, once again, the scheduled races of the day.
Today was the time for men to start the day in Cascais. Since the wind, at the schedule time of the first warning signal, still showed some instability, it forced the Race Committee to delay the first race of the day since it had to move around to find a better place for the demanding Olympic fleet of the 49er class. The men’s fleet completed the trio of the schedule races, as usual, and with the wind blowing in the northwest quadrant building up during the morning from 14 to 18 knots. On the third day of racing, and after 9 races, the podium in the men’s race begins to take on a final form, but as we know, anything can happen. The east coast team from the United States of America, Ian Barrows and Hans Henken remains in the lead but with the first race of the day less successful they let them approach by their compatriots Nevin Snow and Dane Wilson in the General overall. Snow and Wilson today practically reached perfection with a third in the first race of the day and two bullets in the following races. With these results the American teams, who are tied with eighteen points each, are playing a real duel in Cascais. The Brazilian team of Marco Grael and Gabriel Borges fell today to third place.
In the 49erFx class, the ladies went outside after the men. The fleet of 28 boats completed the day’s program in the race course of the guide. Today with the most demanding wind conditions, in the northwest quadrant and blowing on twenties, there have been significant changes in the podium. The Galician team, composed by Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo, took la roja (Spain) to the highest place on the podium at the end of the third day of the championship. In second place we have new faces on the podium with the rise of the Bavarian team composed of Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke. Closing the women’s podium is the Danish team made up of Ida Nielsen and Marie Olsen.
In total we have 4 continents are represented – America, Europe, Asia and Oceania – in a total of 19 nationalities will sail in the bay of Cascais. The championship will take place in Cascais from the 4th to the 9th of May and 15 races are planned, plus a Medal Race for each class.
This championship has the support of Turismo de Portugal, Visit Cascais, Cascais Town Hall, Portuguese Sailing Federation, Cascais Marina and Vista Alegre. We also have the institutional support of the non-governmental association Sailors For The Sea – Portugal