Olympic Dreams on the Line in Pan-American Games

Day 5 at the Pan-American Games has brought great action and intense competition in the skiff sailing regatta, with Olympic Dreams on the line.

49er Class in Pan-American Games:

The 49er class featured some exciting battles, with the American duo of Ian Barrows and Hans Henken leading the charge with 16 points. They demonstrated their skills and determination as they maintained their position at the top of the leaderboard.

Right on their heels were the Uruguayan sailors, Fernando Diz and Herman Umpierre, who started the competition really strong but had faced an unfortunate capsize on day 3, costing them their top-ranking position. Despite their best efforts they had an average performance today, which pushed them down to the third position.


Credits: Felipe Molina – Pan American Games 2023

The Brazilian pair of Marco Grael and Gabriel Simoes made a remarkable comeback. They had a challenging start to the race but thrived under the different conditions presented today, with a lighter breeze and fewer waves. Winning two out of the three races, they managed to secure the second spot on the leaderboard.

Credits: Felipe Molina – Pan American Games 2023

What makes the competition even more exciting is the rivalry between the Brazilians and the Uruguayans, both vying for Olympic qualification at the 2024 Paris Olympics, as neither of them managed to secure a spot at the Worlds in The Hague.

On the North American front, the Canadians Will Jones and Justin Barnes are locked in a fierce battle with the Mexican brothers Ander and Danel Belausteguigoitia Fierro. The points are tight, with the Canadians sitting at 27 points in fourth position, tied with the Uruguayan team, and the Mexicans at 30 points siting in 5th place.

The men’s skiff fleet is undoubtedly competitive, with teams like the Chilean brothers Benjamin and Exequiel Grez Ahrens making a significant improvement today. While they started the competition on a challenging note, they are starting to feel more comfortable. Just one point behind them are the Contessi brothers from Argentina. At the bottom of the standings is the young team of Taylor Fairbanks Hasson and Steven Christian Hardee from the US Virgin Islands. Although they have been sailing together for only four months, they are gaining valuable experience from their more seasoned competitors.

Credits: Felipe Molina – Pan American Games 2023

49erFX in Pan-American Games:

In the 49erFX class, the Brazilian duo of Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze continued to dominate, winning over half of the races in this fiercely competitive class. However, right on their tail, the USA team of Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea displayed remarkable strength, with just a two-point difference from the leaders.

The competition between the Americans and Brazilians reached a dramatic high on day 3 when the US team protested the Brazilians for tacking too closely, resulting in a narrow point difference. As both teams gained the same number of points today, the battle for supremacy in the 49erFX class became even more intriguing.

The Canadian duo of Alexandra Ten Hove and Mariah Millen made a strong comeback after overcoming a knee injury. They are fighting for a podium spot as they have automatically secured their place at the Olympics by competing in this event (USA having already qualified at the Worlds). Their determination and skill were evident as they won one race and secured second and third positions in the other two races.

Credits: Felipe Molina – Pan American Games 2023

The Argentinian team of Maria Sol Branz and Julia Pantin, yet to qualify for the Olympics, showcased their impressive teamwork despite limited time sailing together. Julia, a young sailor transitioning from the 29er class, stepped into the shoes of her experienced partner, Cecilia Carranza Saroli, who is on a break from the scene.

In the fifth spot, Diana Maria Tudela and Adriana Barron from Peru are facing new conditions, being accustomed to flatter water in their home country.

Peru 49erFX Credits: Felipe Molina - Pan American Games 2023
Peru 49erFX Credits: Felipe Molina – Pan American Games 2023

With three more races to go before the medal race scheduled for November 3rd, the competition remains intense. Sailing enthusiasts can catch the live-streamed medal races by staying tuned to our social media channels or by using the Panam Sports app or visiting https://www.panamsportschannel.org/main.

As the Pan-American Games continue, the world witnesses the passion and skill of these talented sailors from across the Americas. Their journey to qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics adds an extra layer of excitement to this prestigious event, making it a must-watch for sailing enthusiasts worldwide.