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Tokyo 2020: Setting up for the skiff medal races

by 49er & Nacra 17 Sailing 3 Aug 2021 02:06 NZST 28 July - 4 August 2021
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) on the precipice of a repeat. © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

The 49er and 49erFX medal races each set the returning Rio Gold medalists against a cadre of worthy challengers. It will not be an easy task for either Peter Burling with Blair Tuke (NZL) nor Martine Grael with Kahena Kunze (BRA) to defend their titles. There will be no simple match races of a single opponent.

In each fleet there are technically six teams who could still take gold, though five real contenders are more likely as the sixth is a stretch in each instance. The test ahead is a pure fleet racing challenge. No doubt the strategies, tactics, and actions will be a constant blend only managed by the very best sailors.

While the minutia of the point differential is crucial, the story here is how each returning champion will perform in a single race for Gold. There are no repeat 49er or 49erFX gold medalists in the history of the class, so either or both of these teams could be writing the record books.

Read on here...

Tita and Banti (ITA) working on Olympic low score in Nacra 17

It was not meant to go like this. The Nacra 17 fleet is an assembly of incredibly experienced, accomplish, and on form sailors and the title was meant to be wide open. After the opening series of twelve races held in a full variety of conditions, the Italian team of Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti have dominated. The pair have only 23 points counting from 11 races, averaging just over two points per race. By contrast, the joint leaders in the 49erFX are tied on 70 points heading into the medal race.

The Italian pair were impressive in the powered-up conditions to start the regatta over the first two days. They have been fantastic in wavy and windy conditions all quad, so there remained doubt as to whether they could keep up the pressure. The wind backed off over the recent two days of qualifying, but the Italians surged even farther forward and finished the regattas with a 3, 2, 2, 1, 2 over the last five races to build a twelve-point lead over Britain's John Gimson and Anna Burnett.

Read on here...

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