More Questions Than Answers Heading to Marseilles Olympic Regatta

49er and FX skiffs race off in Olympic simulation – YCPR Magic Regatta

Watch the full regatta recap video:


Buksak and Weirzbicki (POL-49er) dominated in all conditions after the most arduous domestic trials of all 49er Olympic-bound teams. The Polish pair are in great form leading into the Marseilles Olympics. They sailed six straight races to top three positions until a miscue in their final race interrupted their run of results. That scoreline only won the regatta by two points, but it is a serious accomplishment in a regatta full of serious teams! The Polish quad has the deepest this quadrennial, and Buksak/Weirzbicki fended off their domestic rivals in a super late Olympic selection by Poland. All the results from the 2023 World Championship through the 2024 European Championship were considered, and they had to perform against two other top 10 domestic rivals. If they can hold their form for just one more month, that will be an incredible accomplishment of mental focus over a long duration!

2024 World Champions Fischer and Pequin (FRA) also had a great run of races to secure second place. Bildstein and Hussl (AUT) took third on another tidey scoreline.

The 49er fleet was deep and complete, with most Olympic teams racing all races and a few training partners. The teams that did well had a run of consistent races and will get a confidence boost here in the home stretch to the Games, while those who did not can discard the result and look forward to better days.

The FX regatta was far more mercurial, with all teams scoring a wide variety of results, missing many races, performing better or worse depending on the conditions, and generally creating more questions than answers.


Ronja Gronblom with Veera Hokka (FIN) won the regatta on the strength of their early results in the big breeze and big waves. They won the opening race on the opening day, with huge conditions limiting the fleet to just a single race.

On day two, they extended their lead in powered-up and extremely wavy conditions that were picture-perfect for what Marseilles can offer:


The Finnish pair hung on during the final day, in light air, to narrowly win. It’s their first top performance since they burst on the scene with a pair of top 5 finishes at the 2021 and 2022 World Championships. They were looking like early contenders for medals after the Worlds in Nova Scotia, but then had a huge fall from form for most of 2023 and 2024. Does their return to the leaderboard signal their issues are cleared up?


In second place were the ever-improving Maenaut and Geurts (BEL) who could easily have won the regatta if not for a twelfth-place finish in the final race. This pair has been consistently improving since they joined the class in 2018, and have steadily moved forward to a point where they are now truly in medal contention. In third overall was the French junior team of Peyre and Stamminger, who will not race in Marseilles but are heading to the Junior World Championship in Galicia in mid-July. The youngsters dominated the 2023 Junior World Championship, and won’t get a chance to head to the games this time.

Over the quadrennial, the coaches regattas have risen to prominence as fleet coaches have coordinated efforts and calendars to have more serious racing moments outside formal regattas. These are great rehearsals for the fleet, but not all took advantage.

Dutch Love

Conspicuously missing from the regatta were Dutch pairs Bart Lambriex with Floris Van De Werken (NED – 49er) and Odile Van Aanholt with Annette Duetz (NED – FX). The two helms had other things on their mind and took the pre-regatta moment to announce their engagement!


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A post shared by Odile van Aanholt (@ootje5)

The two Dutch skiff teams have won six of the eight world titles this quadrennial, so the fleets in Marseilles this week didn’t get a final chance to size up the Olympic favorites.

Missing in Action

Also missing were Diego Botin with Florian Tritel (ESP) who had Sail GP commitments and have battled the Dutch pair all quad for top honors.

More conspicuously ‘missing’ were the FX Gold medalists who attended the regatta but were off the pace. Best placed was Chaline Picon (FRA), who crewed her way to a solid fourth place. Echegoyen and Barcelò (ESP) had a fairly strong regatta too, and were the top placing team that didn’t finish the race on the opening day, where only 11 of the 19 teams managed to get around the course in strong winds and huge waves.


Jo Aleh (NZL) team finished in 11th place, while Olivia Price (AUS) in 17th, and Grael/Kunze (BRA) only sailed two of the seven races. Recent World Champions Bobeck and Netzler (SWE) had some strong moments, leading races at times in the strong winds, but didn’t quite manage to finish in the top, also purposely deciding not to finish the last race. While the 2023 European Champions Naess / Ronningen (NOR) were out of the running for a medal and finished in 7th.

Tough Bets

Overall, knowing what to make of the FX regatta is hard. Six different teams won from seven races.


The fleet performs differently depending on the wind conditions. Some teams survive well in the heavy, like the Finns. Other teams do well in powered-up conditions, like the Swedes and Brits, and still others do well in the light, like the French, Norwegians, and Germans. The Belgium and Dutch and Spanish teams seem to have all conditions covered pretty well, but what will happen when the fleet starts racing for real is anyone’s guess. The easy answer in past years would have been to bet on the mental toughness and racing skills of Grael and Kunze (BRA), but they have been out of the elite picture since the 2023 Worlds with few moments showing a return to top form.


It is no exaggeration to say that a dozen teams could win each 49er or FX Olympics. With the 49er fleet, an oddsmaker could do a decent job of creating a fair betting table. For the FX, it’s anyone’s guess!

Out with a Bang

French veterans, Julien D’Ortoli with Noe Delpech, retired following this coaches regatta. They had already retired once but came back to the fleet for the chance to represent France at a home olympics. Showing they still have the form, they won the final race of the regatta, and shared their thoughts with us as a fond farewell!