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Thread: Going For The Gold In Geelong

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    Going For The Gold In Geelong



    Gimson and Burnet Lead Out of the Start
    Nacra 17

    First Nacra 17 points went to Aussie siblings Nathan and Haylee Outteridge, scoring a win then a second and a 10th to finish second overall. Enviable opening scores but the GBR team of John Gimson and Anna Burnet went one better, a 10th then two wins to be the lead multihull.

    Nathan & Haylee Outteridge (AUS) second in the Nacra 17 after the first day of racing
    “It was a day that was dictated mainly by the seaweed in the water, a bit like in the warm-up regatta a week or so ago so we kind of knew what to expect,” Burnet said. “It’s a good start. We have lots of races to go but if we can carry on that form, then we will be pretty happy. We have a couple of windy days coming up.”

    A beaming Haylee Outteridge returned to Eastern Beach and commented, “It’s really good to have three keepers today because it means it is effectively like having them in Gold Fleet. Most of the people who have committed to keep going this late in the quadrennial are the ones pushing to go to the Olympics, so we are in good company.”






    49erFX & 49er

    Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) won races one and two in the FXs then just bailed out of the top 10 to finish fifth overall. “We’ve had a pretty long day on the water today. We spend all year trying to maximise time in all different types of conditions and this venue is throwing us all sides of the dice. We’ve had a challenging day, everyone has, but I think we have come out of it pretty well,” Tidey said.

    Second to the Germans was the Australian team of Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan and third the Spanish, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo. “Over the last month we have been doing a lot of starting practice with many of the international crews who are here, and it is definitely paying off,” Lloyd said.

    The 49ers made up the afternoon/evening session, the final race finishing close to 7pm due to the fleet being held ashore during the transition in the middle of the day. First bite in the 49er class went to Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) and they followed up with a second win and a second to lead the Austrians, Ben Bildstein, and David Hussl who appeared on today’s Daily Show and spoke about setting up a 49er like a pro.


    Dylan Fletcher-Scott & Stuart Bithell (GBR)
    “We only just managed to get to the racecourse in time today as we had to make some changes to the mast,” Fletcher-Scott said. “We snapped our top section a couple of days ago; put a new one on and rigged up today and had a little issue. In the end you can’t really start a worlds any better than we did. Stu made the boat go fast and I picked a couple of shifts, together this was the winning combo.”

    Third is Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL).

    The racing started off in dramatic fashion for German vice World Champions from 2019, Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel. Immediately following the first start a port tack boat crashed into them causing them to capsize, and Ploessel picked up a minor injury. They righted themselves to continue racing, rounding the windward mark in 25, but managed to work all the way up to 8th, salvaging the race.

    More breeze is forecast on the Corio Bay racetrack, located in the south-west corner of Port Phillip, Wednesday and Thursday, up to 25 knots on Thursday then moderating. Drizzle and showers are likely.

    Royal Geelong Yacht Club is host of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 2020 World Championship along with six other major events that fall under the club’s ‘Summer of Sailing’ calendar rolling out between January and March.

    **************************


    Temporary Tandem Top Leaderboard in 49erFX
    Former German 49erFX teammates combine beautifully to lead on day one of racing – much to their surprise.

    Tina Lutz’s regular crew Susann Beucke injured herself soon after the 2019 World Championship in Auckland and Lotta Wiemers agreed to step back into the boat to crew for the second half of the Down Under series of back-to-back world championships.

    The decision to bring the pair together delivered the German sailing team early fortunes in the six days series hosted by Royal Geelong Yacht Club. “I don’t know what happened today, we somehow went always in the right direction,” said a genuinely surprised and delighted Lutz.







    Tina Lutz & Lotte Wiemers leading FX
    “It felt always very good out there. Today was just crazy….we are super happy with our first day of racing,” Wiemers added. “I haven’t sailed for two-and-a-half years but I think we are doing a good job of finding the middle of pushing it, but [being relaxed too].”

    A condensed qualification round got underway at the 2020 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championship at Geelong. There will be at least one more day of qualification before the two skiff fleets are divided into Gold Fleets for the final three days. All racing finishes on Saturday February 15.

    It’s been a frustrating start to the world title for sailors and administrators with day one blown-out and day two race one in 8-12 kts of westerly before the breeze transitioned to the SSE, but not before collapsing to the point it was un-sailable for hours.



    49erFX & 49er

    Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) won races one and two in the FXs then just bailed out of the top 10 to finish fifth overall. “We’ve had a pretty long day on the water today. We spend all year trying to maximise time in all different types of conditions and this venue is throwing us all sides of the dice. We’ve had a challenging day, everyone has, but I think we have come out of it pretty well,” Tidey said.

    Second to the Germans was the Australian team of Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan and third the Spanish, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo. “Over the last month we have been doing a lot of starting practice with many of the international crews who are here, and it is definitely paying off,” Lloyd said.






    Tess Lloyd & Jaime Ryan second after the first day of racing
    The 49ers made up the afternoon/evening session, the final race finishing close to 7pm due to the fleet being held ashore during the transition in the middle of the day. First bite in the 49er class went to Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) and they followed up with a second win and a second to lead the Austrians, Ben Bildstein, and David Hussl who appeared on today’s Daily Show and spoke about setting up a 49er like a pro.

    Dylan Fletcher-Scott & Stuart Bithell (GBR)
    “We only just managed to get to the racecourse in time today as we had to make some changes to the mast,” Fletcher-Scott said. “We snapped our top section a couple of days ago; put a new one on and rigged up today and had a little issue. In the end you can’t really start a worlds any better than we did. Stu made the boat go fast and I picked a couple of shifts, together this was the winning combo.”



    Third is Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL).

    The racing started off in dramatic fashion for German vice World Champions from 2019, Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel. Immediately following the first start a port tack boat crashed into them causing them to capsize, and Ploessel picked up a minor injury. They righted themselves to continue racing, rounding the windward mark in 25, but managed to work all the way up to 8th, salvaging the race.

    Nacra 17

    First Nacra 17 points went to Aussie siblings Nathan and Haylee Outteridge, scoring a win then a second and a 10th to finish second overall. Enviable opening scores but the GBR team of John Gimson and Anna Burnet went one better, a 10th then two wins to be the lead multihull.


    It was a day that was dictated mainly by the seaweed in the water, a bit like in the warm-up regatta a week or so ago so we kind of knew what to expect,” Burnet said. “It’s a good start. We have lots of races to go but if we can carry on that form, then we will be pretty happy. We have a couple of windy days coming up.”

    A beaming Haylee Outteridge returned to Eastern Beach and commented, “It’s really good to have three keepers today because it means it is effectively like having them in Gold Fleet. Most of the people who have committed to keep going this late in the quadrennial are the ones pushing to go to the Olympics, so we are in good company.”

    More breeze is forecast on the Corio Bay racetrack, located in the south-west corner of Port Phillip, Wednesday and Thursday, up to 25 knots on Thursday then moderating. Drizzle and showers are likely.

    Results:

    Results are posted race by race, as they happen. Live Tracking is available for all fleets each day, all via https://49er.org/event/2020-world-championship/

    By Lisa Ratcliff/49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 World Championship media


    https://nacra17.org/gimson-and-burne...-of-the-start/

    https://nacra17.org/gimson-and-burne...-of-the-start/

    49er RESULTS

    49erFX RESULTS

    Nacra RESULTS
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    Reigning 49er world champions and Rio 2016 Gold medallists, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), bagged enough low scores in the qualification round to lead at the midway point of the 2020 49er World Championship in Geelong, Australia.

    The top 25 49er teams go through to gold fleet to fight in the coming three days for the world title, and Burling/Tuke are primed to defend their crown, which would make it six for the canny Kiwis.

    “It’s good to get through the qualifying series with some low scores, we didn’t sail our best at times, but we had some pretty good comebacks to make up for it. It was pretty tricky out there, plenty of shifts,” Burling said during the derig. “Tomorrow looks pretty similar in terms of the forecast - it should be nice. All the good guys are still here and pushing hard.”

    Chasing they are, as the top six teams through qualifying were all in the top eight at the 2019 Worlds. With so many highly-ranked teams close on points, the gold fleet racing will be dramatic. Join us from 1100hrs (AEDT) to watch all the action.

    The city of Geelong in the southern state of Victoria awoke to steady rain, grey skies and mist which affected visibility on Corio Bay. It’s been a rare sight at these championships but finally the sun broke through and up to 18 knots of SSE puffy magic blessed the afternoon session, on Wednesday February 12.







    49er & 49erFX

    Austria’s Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl tallied an equally low score to the frontrunners and the Spanish duo of Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra finished a strong third overall.

    Worth highlighting are the three Danish teams in the top 15, the best of those Mads Emil Lubeck and Nikolaj Hoffman Buhl. A strong USA presence in the top 20 is being spearheaded by Andrew Mollerus and his 49er crew Ian MacDiarmid who are eighth overall.

    “It’s the first step getting to gold; the regatta starts now,” MacDiarmid said. “We are checking off the list we have, making sure we get through the regatta - nothing crazy on the scoreboard and no letters; just putting it through well.”

    In the women’s 49erFX the top 25 teams also split off to gold fleet, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey keeping up their winning moves to be lead boat.

    “Today was a great day; It was about being as consistent as possible,” Dobson said. “We went super low risk and let our pace do the talking. The real racing is starting tomorrow though with gold, so it’s now rest recover and go again. There will be less space now and mistakes will be punished so we need to avoid them.”

    Second in the FX is Tamara Echegoyen/Paula Barcelo (ESP) and third is Anne-Julie Schutt/Iben Nielsby (DEN).

    A surprise package is the current world championship team of Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Deutz (NED) finding themselves 14th overall.







    Nacra 17

    John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) are stringing together a set of scores that must be troubling the competition, but they demonstrated they aren’t bullet-proof in the third race today. “Two wins; chuffed with that but then in last race we made a stupid mistake. We made a slightly late decision to tack and went swimming. But we are sailing well, and we need to keep this form. We say it’s all about the averages and it’s not done until the final race.”

    Nathan and Haylee Outteridge (AUS) collected a pair of second places and a 17th in the first race, which becomes their drop. Reflecting on this, Nathan commented, “We did not think we had that much weed on our foils early on in the race, but it ended up being around 50% of yesterday’s level. Once we started to clear it, our results improved dramatically.”

    Third Nacra is Quentin Delapierre and Manon Audient (FRA) and fourth are the current world champions Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari (ITA). “We arrived in Geelong two weeks ago and we are enjoying it. It’s very challenging on the water, we are happy to be consistent on such a strange day.”

    Royal Geelong Yacht Club is host of the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 2020 World Championships along with six other major events that fall under the club’s ‘Summer of Sailing’ calendar rolling out between January and March









    Results are posted race by race, as they happen.


    49er https://49er.org/event/2020-oceania-...p/#49erresults
    49erFX https://49er.org/event/2020-oceania-...#49erfxresults
    Nacra 17 https://nacra17.org/events/2020-ocea...nship/#results


    Live Tracking is available for all fleets each day via https://49er.org/event/2020-world-championship/

    By Lisa Ratcliff/49er, 49erFX, Nacra 17 World Championship media
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    Don't look now but Gibbs & Weis are in 1st in the Nacra 17!!!

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    National Selection In Play In Geelong



    Spanish Redemption

    Second by two points in the 49erFX is Spain’s Tamara Echegoyen, the 2016 World Champion with a different crew, and Paula Barcelo. The duo sailed through injury at the 2019 worlds and suffered, only managing a silver fleet finish. With the pressure of the Spanish trials on, these champions are in contention for the lead and are looking to give the Spanish selectors a hard choice.

    “It’s important [being a world championship] but we have to think more than this,” Echegoyen said after racing. “It’s really good training with the best teams looking for the next Olympics. We need to do a good championship, it gives us confidence in our work and for sure we will fight every day. We just go to the water, do our race and try to learn from our mistakes. And have fun.”

    In a similar situation is Anne-Julie Schutt and Iben Nielsby (DEN). They are in a tight domestic selection fight for the second straight Olympiad, and continue to sail at the highest level.

    With a one-point lead in the 49erFX are Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR). Dobson said, “We had a really good day. We keep finding some space and manging to be fast enough to end up with three top threes. I don’t know what we are doing right to be honest.”







    49er

    Gold fleet racing kicked off at the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 2020 World Championship in Australia, a benchmark regatta for those countries still to select their representatives for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

    Five-time 49er world champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke from New Zealand have fallen to second in the men’s skiff competition by two points, the Austrians Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl the new number ones, two days from the final finish line.

    The excitement level was low-key in the Austrian camp afterwards: “After today we have mixed feelings, the first two races we had very good sailing… really good rhythm with the wind, then with the new system the next two races were really hard. At this venue if you play the wind right you are in the front, if you don’t get it you are at the back. It’s pretty hard to get it right,” Bildstein said.

    The consistent Spanish pairing of Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra shrugged off a penalty in the pre-start and that dropped scored of 23in the closing race to be sitting in third. “We have a really good training group and we are making good gains,” said Botin.

    Two days remain before the 2020 World Champions in all three classes reveal themselves – and country selectors are watching. Nations like Italy, Australia and New Zealand have to keep the mindset of their sailors strong and the team cooperating, while at the same time scrutinizing each and every result at this last major championship prior to the Olympic Games. Battles are getting heated.










    Nacra 17
    Australians siblings Nathan and Haylee Outteridge continue to show their mettle, moving into the top spot in the Nacra 17. Their national teammates, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS), are also vying for a country spot for Tokyo 2020 and closing in at this world championship, now third overall.

    Sandwiched between the two country contenders are the Brits, John Gimson and Anna Burnet.

    “Our aim was to continue our form from earlier in the week. We are targeting top eights around the first top mark and working forward from there. All the training we’ve been doing is starting to pay off. We are feeling really comfortable and happy it’s all coming together,” Nathan Outteridge, Olympic 49er gold medallist and America’s Cup sailor said on the beach at Geelong after racing.

    Rio 2016 silver medallists Waterhouse and Darmanin have edged closer to their teammates but remain separated from them by a whole bunch of points. “We had a better day than yesterday – we were starting better and making smarter decisions. We had a little issue with one of our fellow countrymen tacking on top of us too closely. They have shown their cards and I think we can expect a good game in the next couple of days. Gloves are off, let’s do this,” Darmanin said.

    Italian selectors are in a similar position to the Australians, two worthy teams – current world champions Vittoria Bissaro and Maelle Frascari and the 2018 world and European champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti – hoping to impress.

    So far it’s Bissaro and Frascari who have this regatta, fourth versus 17th with two days of racing remaining. Tita/Banti were having a fantastic penultimate race of the day, in the lead around the leeward marks until they suffered a mechanical issue. They were forced to limp around the course for the final lap, finishing 12th while Bissaro/Frascari were back in 25th. It was yet another challenge for Tita/Banti, who are dozens of points behind their teammates in this critical selection battle.

    The Nacra 17 fleet of 34 will be whittled down to 10 teams for the final medal race on Saturday February 15, 2020.











    https://49er.org/event/2020-world-ch...73#49erresults

    https://49er.org/event/2020-world-ch...#49erfxresults

    https://nacra17.org/events/2020-worl...nship/#results
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    Valentines Day Off Day For Geelong Worlds Sailors




    Plan for the final day of 2020 World Championship racing
    With no racing on Friday February 14 due to summer storms that wreaked havoc with the breeze, Saturday’s final day of the 49er, 49er and Nacra 17 2020 World Championship looks like this:

    Schedule:
    Two gold fleet races for all three fleets commencing from 0955hrs
    Two silver and bronze fleet races immediately following
    Three medal races commencing from 1355hrs in the following order: Nacra 17, 49erFX, 49er
    Join us from 0950hrs (AEDT) to watch all the action live from the TV course on Corio Bay, Geelong, one of the ports along the vast horsehead-shaped bay in southern Victoria that is Port Phillip.

    Saturday’s forecast is promising - wind out of the south-west building to the class’ upper limit of 25 knots, a figure that also takes into consideration the sea-state, which is not a factor at this flat-water venue. Showers are forecast and the hope is they will clear early and not hinder the breeze once again.

    Summer storms passed over and around the host city, bringing thunder, rain and lightning, and leaving sick breeze in each frontal system’s wake. The race committee took off on boats after 4pm thinking there was a chance of a late green light, but it was not to be.



    From the kitchen

    Every sailor has their way of winding down after racing, making the most of some well-deserved leisure time. Home-made pasta with a variety of sauces is a popular dish at lunchtime, sailors able to save a few bucks and continue to eat healthily.

    Finnish 49erFX sailor Mikaela Wulff has a passion for baking: look at these cinnamon rolls she whipped up, posting at the time “Happy to trade for a port cross
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    Fantastic Finish At Geelong Worlds

    Thrilling medal races produce world champions

    Peter Burling and Blair Tuke from New Zealand dazzled to win another 49er world championship, the sixth for the magic combo, which is easily a class record.

    In thrilling medal race the Spanish 49erFX team of Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo and the British Nacra 17 team of John Gimson and Anna Burnet owned those class’ top spots respectively.

    Three medal races on Corio Bay in cool SW 10-14 knots building to 18 knots by the afternoon capped off the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 2020 World Championship, and added more data to the form guide for those nations yet to announce their representative teams for Tokyo 2020.

    Medal prospects for Enoshima, the sailing venue for the Olympic Games July 24 to August 9, are a little clearer. Then there are the surprise top 10 absentees including Rio 2016 FX gold medallists Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) and Rio Nacra 17 gold medal winners Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza (ARG).



    Nacra 17 – Gimson and Burnet’s spectacular rebound
    John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) rebounded from their tiller extension breakage in the final of two morning races to put themselves into the gold medal position. The Brits led from the first work, taking advantage of the two Australian teams playing a cat and mouse overall game for country selection further back.

    Gimson acknowledged back on the Royal Geelong Yacht Club hardstand, “We knew with the Australians trials still on, it definitely helped us. Our strategy was to get a clean start and stay on the lifted tack. Neither of us can believe it; after the week we’ve had we are unbelievably happy.”

    “We just kept fighting this week,” Burnet added. “We knew from the forecast it was going to be building, it ended up being a bit breezier than we thought. It’s been amazing having Iain Percy here mentoring and helping. We’ve been away since November 1, we’ll now head back home to get boats ready for Europe, then it’s all on for Tokyo.”

    With country selection to be announced, there was everything at stake for Australia’s two top 10 Nacra 17 teams, Nathan and Haylee Outteridge and Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, who were first and second respectively in overall standings prior to the gold medal race. The Outteridges scooped the silver medal and Waterhouse/Darmanin the bronze, and though the order seems correct on paper, it was not the result the brother and sister due were after.

    “We are happy to have a win today, and also go home with a medal,” Darmanin said. “We have really developed as a team in this quadrennial, and I am proud of how we are sailing. In a medal race like today, where there are so many things to think about and crews attacking you from everywhere, that is when the team comes together and really shines.”

    Country qualification
    US Sailing publish their points system so as of today, Riley Gibbs and Anna Weiss wrapped up USA selection in the Nacra 17 and celebrations were noisy on the boat ramp for Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea who pipped their USA countrymates with their medal race result. Both teams can now begin their preparations for Enoshima in earnest.

    Australian selectors are expected to make an announcement on their Nacra team as early as next week, with Rio 2016 silver medallists Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin widely tipped for the pick. The Phillips brothers, Will who drives and Sam who crews, reached a benchmark in terms of internal selection for Tokyo 2020 with their sixth overall.

    Another team that secured their first ever Olympic berth are Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen of Denmark. The two-time European Champions narrowly lost their domestic trials in 2016 and narrowly won their domestic trials this time, over teammates AJ Schutt and Iben Nieslby.










    Six-time 49er world champions Peter Burling & Blair Tuke (NZL)
    49er – six world championship titles to Burling/Tuke
    An integral part of the Emirates Team New Zealand America’s Cup defence team, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke went into the final double points gold medal race on Saturday February 15, 2020 with an 18-point advantage, but still posted a fourth to wrap things up cleanly.

    Second by 20 points was the Spanish pair of Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra and third by a margin of two points were the Germans, Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel.

    “We put together a couple of good ones this morning so we could be a bit more relaxed in that last one,” Burling said. “Being an Olympic year it’s a good one to win.”

    Tuke had this to say: “We’ve really stepped up in some areas this week. We’ll enjoy this win as they don’t come that often.”

    When asked how they will balance an Olympic and America’s Cup campaign for the second time, Blair commented: “We’ll just keep going as we’ve been going, and enjoying both. We’ve had more than a solid year of doing both campaigns; before Rio it was the same.”

    Burling/Tuke began the medal race on port tack at the boat end and showed great speed, especially downwind. They remained strategically cautious, avoiding any risk to their commanding first.

    Heil/Ploessel put together a strong start mid-line and were fast upwind. They went on to bullet in the medal race, giving them the bronze, while the Austrians Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl were left reeling after a penalty call at the start. Bildstein/Hussl, who were first on the leaderboard prior to the final day of racing, couldn’t close the gap on the racetrack and missed out on top three by one point.










    49erFX – Echegoyen and Barcelo win match race to secure gold
    Echegoyen with Barcelo (ESP) and Dobson with Tidey (GBR) locked horns throughout the medal race. Each team was well clear of any competition and only had to beat the other to secure the gold medal.

    “We are so so happy,” Echegoyen said on-water once the world championship result was clear. “You know this kind of course is shifting all the time, you have to think about what is the best plan. We tried just to be close to her (GBR); you have to be calm and keep going. If you do a split, you can lose control.

    “Because of the Volvo Race, Paula and I started this campaign a little late; it’s a short time to try and get to the high level of this fleet. At the last worlds in Auckland we had to abandon [due to an injury to Paula]. Here we just tried to focus every day,” the beaming skipper added.

    “Every moment it was so close and so stressful and finally we get the gold,” Barcelo said as the pair enjoyed some celebratory champagne, having beaten Dobson/Tidey.

    On the second upwind beat of the medal race, the British team made significant gains on the Spanish before tacking underneath. Echegoyen, the 2012 match racing world champion, tacked immediately on their line and Dobson/Tidey reacted. The Brits were locked in and made gains, but the layline forced both to tack back with the Spanish directly ahead into the windward mark.

    The British looked to have a slightly better hoist going but capsized when their kite filled with water halfway up. The Spanish sped away, only looking back moments later to realize the pressure valve had been released.

    The eventual silver medallists will be replaying the capsize in their heads for some time. “Our first reaction is we are a little disappointed,” Dobson admitted. “We could have taken it to the Spanish a little better in the medal race, but on the whole we have sailed a really good regatta.”

    Outside the match race for gold was an eight-team battle for the bronze medal. Almost all of the teams were in the hunt when drama hit at the leeward mark. Some teams over laid, others rode forward in a puff and all arrived at the leeward marks together. Chaos ensued, and Roble/Shea (USA) pounced with a smooth rounding, which they rode into the lead.









    Video Link


    Day Six: US Sailing Team Athletes Punch Their Tickets for Tokyo 2020 and Deliver World Championship Medal
    The final day of the 2020 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 World Championships was packed with excitement for the US Sailing Team. After a long series of challenging racing, the U.S. team has much to celebrate, including a medal and four athletes that have qualified to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

    At the conclusion of the final two Nacra 17 fleet races, Riley Gibbs (Long Beach, Calif.) and Anna Weis (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) rose to the occasion and were the first athletes to qualify for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team. US Sailing Team 49erFX athletes, Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wisc.) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) followed shortly after, managing to simultaneously secure the Bronze Medal and the Olympic berth in a nail-biting Medal Race.

    Gibbs and Weis began the event with a relatively comfortable, 12-point lead over fellow U.S. athletes Sarah Newberry (Miami, Fla.) and David Liebenberg (Livermore, Calif.). Though Newberry and Liebenberg delivered some solid races to close the gap, Gibbs and Weis answered back and wrapped up the event on a high, finishing the final gold fleet race in second place and securing their spot at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

    “It is seriously insane. This is something I’ve dreamed of for a long time and I just can’t believe it’s real. I can’t put this feeling into words. It’s unreal,” Weis said on qualifying. She and Gibbs have had quite a few highlights on their campaign together. Their accomplishments are especially impressive considering the pair only recently teamed up full-time.

    Weis continued, “Riley and I have only been sailing together for a year but we’ve already been through so many ups and downs as a team, and this event was just another challenge along the way. We really put our minds to making the most of training and learning as much as we can because we know time isn’t our friend. It’s been a total whirlwind but also so rewarding.”

    The team is looking forward to making the most of some brief downtime before they resume training for the Tokyo 2020 Games. “We are so pumped to continue training. We had so many learning moments and great takeaways this week that will really help us push and work hard all the way up to the Olympics. The real grind starts now!”

    Today’s 49erFX fleet races ran simultaneously with the Nacra racing and were filled with exciting non-stop action. Paris Henken (Coronado, Calif.) and Anna Tobias (Pittsburgh, Penn.) won the first race of the day while Roble and Shea trailed in 17th, vaulting the Olympic veterans, up the scoreboard to reclaim the lead in the U.S. Olympic trials.

    From that moment, it was clear to Roble and Shea that they had little leeway for error for the final fleet race. “After the first race today, we knew that we had used up all of our mistakes, so we had to execute solid races,” said Shea. “We also knew that Paris and Anna were sailing really well and that we had to be ready for a big push at the end.”

    As they were able to tighten the gap in the final fleet race, the medal race was set to be the final test for the 49erFX spot on the 2020 U.S. Olympic Sailing Team. After a false start and abandonment of the first medal race attempt, Henken and Tobias started off strong. However, Roble and Shea maximized the short course and good boat handling to make gains and pass them on the first run.

    The tight point spread between the third to 10th place boats made for a constantly shuffling leaderboard, and as the two American teams rounded the gate, Henken and Tobais’ spinnaker made contact with Roble and Shea, instigating a penalty turn from Henken and Tobias (watch below). “From there, we just said let’s send it and try to win this race and see how the cookie crumbles,” said Roble.

    Roble and Shea held on for the race win with just enough of a margin over Henken and Tobias to win a tiebreaker for the U.S. trials. “We had no idea—we crossed the line and were just really proud of how we sailed and said regardless of the outcome, that we were just really proud of how we rallied,” said Roble.

    The pair also had no idea that they simultaneously secured the Bronze Medal. “It’s still totally surreal,” she continued. “Literally, it’s the best day of my life. We’re so happy. We’ve worked really hard to come to this point. We have a group of supporters that have made this dream possible for us. We wouldn’t be standing on this podium without anyone who’s been supporting us on and off the water. This is a massive team effort and we’re really proud of it.” Shea agreed, “Our progress and this entire journey, for that matter, would not have been possible without the amazing team behind us. We have such an army of supporters.”

    This is the first World Championship medal won by an American 49erFX pair. Roble and Shea’s medal today isn’t just a victory for them, but for everyone who’s played a role in helping them get to this point. Roble added, “Paris and Anna also were obviously really, really good competitors. They’ve been pushing us absolutely to our limits to be better athletes every single day on and off the water.”

    While two of the three classes at this event celebrate the newly selected Tokyo 2020 athletes, the U.S. Men’s 49er sailors will have to wait to find out if they’ll be sending a team to the Games. At the 2019 World Championships, U.S. 49ers unfortunately narrowly missed out on a berth for country representation at the Games.

    Though the U.S. doesn’t currently have a berth, it is the first nation in line to receive a forfeited one from another country. Should that situation arise, Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Dane Wilson (Ojai, Calif.) will be the U.S. representatives thanks to their finish at this event and the 2019 World Championships.

    “We’re pretty stoked. Today was a tough day for us, so we have mixed emotions, but we’re excited,” said Snow. “This event has been a new experience because it felt like the first true trials for us. In Auckland, we were working on getting a spot for the US, which we still haven’t really gotten but we’re hoping it will come. In that respect, this is the first event where we’ve had the other Americans in the corner of our eye, even though no one wants to admit it. So, it has brought a different element for us.”

    In addition to the trial elements at play, Snow and Wilson are still learning plenty about what it means to campaign for the Olympics. “We’re also still pretty new to the whole process. Dane and I only started sailing together in April of last year. From our perspective, the group we’ve got going is an exciting thing to be a part of, and a huge step up for U.S. 49er sailing, because it’s proving to be a super-fast way to get better. As you can tell, there were so many American sailors in gold fleet at this event. We weren’t even doing that at intermediate events a year ago. If that’s not evidence of improvement, I don’t know what is.”

    After a challenging week battling tricky conditions and tight competition, all of the U.S. athletes will return to the states with plenty to be proud of.

    U.S. Final Results

    49erFX CLICKY
    Stephanie Roble & Maggie Shea, 3rd
    Paris Henken & Anna Tobias, 7th


    Nacra 17 Final Results CLICKY
    Sarah Newberry & David Liebenberg, 14th
    Riley Gibbs & Anna Weis, 17th
    Ravi Parent & Caroline Atwood, 21st


    49er Final Results CLICKY
    Andrew Mollerus & Ian MacDiarmid, 14th
    Nevin Snow & Dane Wilson, 20th
    Ian Barrows & Mitchell Kiss, 21st
    Harry Melges IV & Finn Rowe, 25th
    Judge Ryan & Hans Henken, 26th
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