Tight Final Day of Qualifying Determines Who Contests USA for Olympic Berth
The 49er Olympic nation qualifying went down to the wire at the mid point of Sailing World Cup Miami regatta. Three nations from North America were fighting it out for Gold Fleet berths along with two teams from South America. The USA were in good shape, as the teams of Thomas Barrows with Joseph Morris and Judge Ryan with Hans Henken were both securely in the top 15 overall with Brad Funk and Trevor Burd just behind them. The British Virgin Islands and Canada were much closer to the Gold Fleet cut off of top 30 teams, with the Canadians just above the line and Virgin Islanders just below it.
In the Yellow qualifying fleet Alec Anderson and Chris Brockbank (IVB) had themselves quite a good day, with a 9, 4, 13 pulling themselves to 16 of their fleet at that point. Over in Blue fleet, starting was a major issue, as six teams were called over early in the first race of the day and another 7 teams were scored over early in the second race of the day. That pulled up the average score of the Blue fleet and delayed them, leaving IVB scoreboard watching for the final race to see if they would be in the top 30 overall and qualify for Gold, keeping their Olympic qualification hopes alive.
It was tense on shore as the Blue fleet’s extended delay on the water meant a delay in finding out if an Olympic campaign for Rio was still on the cards for Canada and IVB. Canada was on the water, so in control of their own destiny, and in a good position as only a very high score would knock them back to Silver fleet. IVB sat on 109 points with 15 teams already ahead of them. Four teams would control the destiny of IVB however, FRA 24 (Dyen/Christidis) on 100 points, USA 17 (Strammer/Kuschner) on 104, AUT 29 (Bildstein Hussl) on 104, and GER 59 (Schmidt/Boeme) on 106. All of those teams could concievably finish with fewer than 109 points, and with an additional 13 teams in safe position ahead there was only room for one of those teams if IVB were to skate in. In the end, none of the critical teams had good races, and they all fell back to Silver fleet leaving two teams from the USA, one team from Canada, and one team from the British Virgin Islands to fight it out until the end of the week in Gold Fleet.
With two races remaining, it remains a tall task for either the Canadians or IVB to catch three American teams all ahead of them, but a margin of 40 points. It is possible, but would take some great sailing.
Meanwhile, the battlers for the South American place had less luck, as Uruguay’s Santiago Silveira and Phillipe Umpiere got disqualified for starting early in both races, pushing them back in the standings and closing the gap with the Chilean Grez brothers, who had been having a poor championship but managed just a single disqualification followed by an 11th. Their fight for Olympic qualification will extend through the end of the week.
A the time of writing, all results are provisional and subject to protest.
Catch the medal races on the final day live on youtube. https://youtu.be/_V2YQYar0IU