With nine of 15 races completed at the Mussanah Open Championship in Oman there are five teams packed tightly atop the leaderboard in the 49er from five nations. So far the lead has changed hands at the end of each day, with Ganapathy Chengappa with Varun Thakkar (IND) surging into the lead today. In 11 knot gusting to 16 they scored a first, second, and third out of three races to move into a nine point lead atop the standings.
Second overall are young South African Sailors Benji Daniel and Alex Burger. The pair moved over to 49er two years ago after Benji sailed in the 470 and Alex from the 29er. They haven’t scored worst than seventh yet in any race and will surely be impressing the South African selectors who must approve their Olympic berth after this event.
Wei and Xiang (CHN), the Whitcraft brothers (THA) Sakai with Aylsworth (HKG), and Al Hadi with Al Kindi (OMA) are all chasing the Indians to be the top Asian nation. The Omani’s were the overnight leaders after day three, but a poor showing from them on day three moved them all the way back to sixth. It truely is anyone’s regatta to take of these six with six races remaining.
Both the top Asian and the top African teams will earn Olympic qualifying positions for Tokyo, the last berths on offer.
The 49erFX fleet also saw a lead change over night with Highfield and Choi winning two of the three races and four of six races to move just one place ahead of Shasha with Jin (CHN). The two teams are only 1 point apart and the final two days will be intense. In third overall is Klahan with Waiwai (THA) who remain in contention only seven points back, but must start winning some races if they hope to overtake the leaders.
The racing in Mussanah has been fantastic, with good winds and clear blue waters for the sailors. Day 1 was light at only six knots, but day two was twelve knots with gusts to 21 and then a moderate day 3, with 11 knots and gusts to 16. All together fantastic racing to determine the final Olympic berths.
The 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 fleets will be back in Oman in November for the 2021 World Championship.