Rio de Janeiro – The wrap up of the VIII South American 49er Championship and the II 49erFX South American Championship took place in a good south by southwest breeze of 10 to 14 knots on the epicentre of the international Olympic sailing nowadays, the Guanabara bay, in Rio de Janeiro.
The cloudy day began early for the men’s fleet, as they were the first to hit the water this Saturday, which meant no beers Friday night and no morning surfing on Arpoador beach like some of the guys did yesterday.
The first race on “Escola Naval” (the Brazilian Navy Academy, the oldest university in the country) racecourse had a new winner in this event, the Yankees Brad Funk, an American Laser champion, and his mate Trevor Burd. Their success, although, did not helped too much for a better position in the overall leaderboard as they finished in 21st among the 25 boats fleet featuring 14 nationalities.
On the other hand, the great winners of the day and the winners of the championship were the amazing, to say the least, kiwi double, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke. Peter said that “the racecourse is tricky, specially for the strong current. But is the same way to everybody”, apparently do not fit in that ‘everybody’ part of the sentence.
He and his crew simply won two races today to complete five wins in the 12 races series and, even counting 52 points of two of the three DNCs for the missed first day when they were flying back from the ISAF Sailor of the Year party in Palma de Mallorca, manage to outpace all the opposition and claim the overall victory with 68 points. Another great feat for the actual world champions and silver medallists in London that are becoming a legend in the 49er class and since the last Olympics have not lost the first position on any regatta the attended.
The rest of the podium is another tale, a protest drama that is going on since yesterday and became a novel with many chapters and overturns. At first the Danish duo Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen got a redress on the 8th race for a starting line situation involving Americans, Italians and Austrians as well. But this Saturday morning new video evidence got them disqualified, and another protest was filled by them, trying to cancel the new decisions. Since the last protest has not been judged yet, the Frenchs Mann Dyen and Christidis Stephane got the second ladder of the pedestal with 76pts.
In the South American exclusive fight, the brothers Yago and Klaus Lange, sons of the Argentinian sailing legend Santiago Lange, had not a good day, with two intermediate positions, but it was enough to claim the continental title and the 3th place overall. Marco Grael and Gabriel Borges, from Brazil, got the second South American place (7th overall) and their compatriots Dante Bianchi and Thomas Low-Beer were third (13th overall).
49erFX – The girls had more time to rest on the hot and humid Saturday and got to work about 1:30pm in a traffic jam of weekend sailors and other Olympic class boats going to practice leaving the club too. But nothing that disturbed the peace of the mixed Dutch boat of Anemiek Bekkering and Rick Peacock that with two wins and a third saw their immense lead grow more and get them in the summit, winning the event with only 19 points. Peacock, the coach of the girls said that he intended “to have fun, of course, and get to know better the manoeuvres inside the boat and the details of the racecourse. Also is very good to leave the tender and feel the real thing”, he added.
The first all female crew and vice-champions in Rio were the Newzealanders Alex Moloney and Molly Meech, with 37pts. The third place overall feature the British double Charlotte Dodson and Sophie Ainsworth with 51 pts. The South American title remained in Brazil as Juliana Senfft and Gabriela Nicolino, in 13th overall, were the first of the continent among 13 countries represented in the event.
“For me is great to keep the title home. Last year, Martine and Kahena won it, but this year they did not raced for real as they were coming from the prize giving of the Sailor of The Year Award ceremony in Palma. It was a high level regatta and for our training was great”, said the new South American 49erFX champion Juliana Senfft.
The prize giving ceremony took place on Rio de Janeiro’s Yacht Club (ICRJ) with sandwiches and beer. The winners of the event were awarded with exclusive Seiko watches and the sponsor also granted the FX Chilean double, last place overall, an new spinnaker for the developing of the class. The Mackey boats donated the perpetual South American Prize and the winners on both classes got their names written on the beautiful wood plate with a painting showing the boats sailing.
The next important event for the leaders of the international 49er and 49erFX Rankings and the top contenders for medal positions in Rio 2016 is the Intergalactic Championship that will start on the 11th and on November 14th.