A fleet of 41 boats, 23 male (49er) and 18 females (49erFX), which brings together the elite of the world’s fastest and most extreme Olympic monotype is since last week gathered at the Yacht Club of Rio de Janeiro in two great events.
First, was the South American Championship and, since this Monday until Friday, we have the 49er and 49erFX Intergalactics. The regattas shows that the Olympic racecourses of Rio de Janeiro, contrary to what was said when the IOC chose the city, are among the best. And who says that are the many foreign athletes who are surprised by the good winds in the wonderful city.
Today, then, the smiles were numerous. The race committee decided to take the races to the “Niterói” racecourse, out of Guanabara Bay, facing the ocean beaches of the city that baptizes the race area, one of five planned for Rio 2016. And the strong winds made its part, giving another dimension to the races. Collisions, capsizes, and a lot of speed and adrenaline stimulated the sailors from all over the world.
In the SE 15-20 knots of wind, a big collision in the leeward gate that left a hole on the Brazilian boat, on the second race, led to a protest involving the locals Marco Grael and Gabriel Borges and Jonas Warrer and Anders Thomsen, from Denmark. But, for some, the sailing was near perfect. “The day was beautiful, the view of the city from outside the bay is really wonderful and the wind was great,” said a laughing Peter Burling, that, along with partner Blair Tuke are living legends in 49er class. They simply were first in every event they participated from the silver medal at London 2012 until today. Well, the kiwi duet won no less than five of the six races contested in the Intergalactics in Rio. The kings of the universe!
The leading performers in the Intergalactic, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), now have 5 points after 6 races and one discard (a 4th, today). On the second place is a pair of Britons, John Pink and Hollingworth Bithell, with 17pts. The Americans Brad Funk and Trevor Burd, shows up in the third line of the table with 22pts.
FX – Among girls, local stars Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, elected the best sailors of the year by ISAF in 2014 and leaders of the world rankings, are on intermediate positions and occupy the ninth place overall after six races. The first five places bring doubles that are among the 10 best in the world, in a further demonstration of the high level of disputes in Rio.
On the top of the table, Alexandra Maloney and Melly Meech, from New Zealand, have 15 points. The Spaniards Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzoz, are close behind with 16pts. The Danishes Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskou-Iversen, with 20pts, are the thirds.
The Intergalactic 49er 49erFX Championship continues until Friday at Rio de Janeiro Yacht Club. Tomorrow, we have three more races scheduled to begin at 11:30h (local time, GMT -02:00) for women in 49erFX and 14:00 for the men’s 49er.
Men’s (49er) results: http://bit.ly/49erM_InGalac
Women’s (49erFX) results: http://bit.ly/49erFX_InGalac