Marco Grael and Gabriel Borges (BRA) carried an onboard camera during the 2020 Oceania Championships in Geelong. There were some wild days on the water, and the duo released a video that encapsulates one of the greatest aspects of 49er sailing, survival!
At first things appear fairly tame, just a windy downwind. The Brazilian pair seem like they’re about 8th around the windward mark and heading downwind.
We start to get a sense things are going to be a challenge when they have to dip low to avoid a capsized boat, and Gabe had to come in from the wire to do so.
We approach the gybe point and the graveyard starts to stack up. Boat after boat have capsized trying their gybe until there is only one boat left, and they stick it in during their gybe.
The Brazilian veterans decide that since nobody has successfuly gybed, they’ll try something else. They take down their chute for a chicken gybe. You can tell how windy it is as when they slow down during the drop the unbalalnced forces in the rig built and Marco has to frantically steer to balance the boat. The jib even goes wing on wing at one point.
They do manage to get going on 2 sails again, and then go for the tack. With upwind settings way off, they get through head to wind but only Borges gets to the new side. Here’s where Marco saves a capsize. If he crosses the boat it will capsize on top of him, so instead he stays overboard and swims around the stern. Borges grabs hold of the job sheet to bring the boat onto port while Marco swims back onboard.
They get up and going without much more fanfare and then pull of a pretty slick left handed bear away to continue down to the leeward marks.
Skiff sailing at it best!
Marco Grael is the brother of 2016 49erFX gold medalist Martine Grael. He and Gabriel will be representing Brazil at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics after breaking into the Olympics at Rio 2016.
The 2020 Oceania Championship was the warm up regatta to the 2020 World Championship.