Please select your home edition
CoastWaterSports 2014
Product Feature
NeilPryde Sailing Equipment Bag
NeilPryde Sailing Equipment Bag
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine

Full racing risks
New for old cover

Mapping the route to Tokyo 2020 for the 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 classes

by Ben Remocker 26 Feb 06:48 GMT
49erFX fleet - 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami - Day 2 © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

World Sailing and the IOC have finally concluded the Tokyo 2020 qualification system, including continental qualification. The 49er has 19 spots at the games, 20 for the Nacra 17, and 21 for the 49erFX. The previous baseline of 20 was slightly adjusted to account for a 50-50 male-female ratio at the games, while managing to have 4.5 events for women and 5.5 events for men.

The basic qualification system is 1 spot in each event for the host nation, then 40% of the spots at the Aarhus 2018 Worlds, then the next group qualify at the 2019 Worlds in Auckland, with the final opportunity being the continental qualifiers which are six spots, one each for Europe, Africa, Asia, Oceania, North America, and South America.

So, here is the table of total spots available, with the green ones as already completed.

With almost half of the spots assigned, here is who has qualified (green) and then next 15 countries in each class from the last Worlds.

The cut off line at 4, 5, and 6 (left) shows who would hypothetically qualify via the 2019 Worlds in Auckland, and then the cut offs at 19, 20, and 21 (right) represent the Olympic fleet size.

The final stage of qualifying is continental qualifying, which has one spot per continent. Heres where things get a bit tricky. With only 18 months until Tokyo, we basically know whos trying to get there and how things have already worked through qualifying.

In Africa, we do expect teams to try and qualifying in 49er and Nacra 17, but not in 49erFX. Each of these African nations will get a spot to Tokyo 2020, but their National Olympic Committees may opt not to send them, which cannot be accounted for at this point. So the 49erFX will likely get one additional quota place up for grabs in Auckland.

In Oceania, both New Zealand and Australia qualified in both 49erFX and Nacra 17, and we wont expect other nations to try and qualify. In 49er, Australia is assured of winning the Oceania CQ, since no other teams will be trying, and it would seem likely their NOC will send them since they have won medals at each of the last two Olympics. So both 49erFX and Nacra 17 will get one additional quota spot up for grabs in Auckland, and in 49er, we an assume that the Australians will get the Oceania spot, and therefore there might be one additional quota spot if they are in the top 4 not yet qualified in Auckland.

In all of the other continents, there will be multiple teams competing for the Continental Spots, so they seem likely to be taken.

That leaves the overall table looking like this:

The above outlines whats at stake for the 2019 Worlds, and highlights why the 2018 Worlds were so important.

The continental qualifiers have recently been announced, and they play the next crucial role.

Most of the continental regattas are pretty straight forward, but each has a few wrinkles.

The Genoa World Cup entry system will be modified so all teams needing to qualify will get entry to the regatta. This could be especially crucial in the 49er with so many European teams on the outside right now. Africa will also use this regatta as it continues to be a greater challenge to assemble a fleet of shipped boats in Africa than in Europe, where boat availability and transport are much easier.

The Pan Am Games is also allowing every nation to enter, which helps more nations get to the Pan Am Games. However, it is strictly one entry per nation, so MNAs that have many teams, like the USA for example, are at a bit of a comparative disadvantage than had another regatta been selected. However, having national teams able to combine their efforts toward both the Pan Am Games and Olympics was seen as such a large factor in the Americas that the trade off was deemed worth it. This regatta is also out of sequence with the timing continental qualifying is designed for, but the terms of Olympic qualifying dictate that the Pan Am results will be utilised as if the regatta occurred after the 2019 Worlds in Auckland.

The out of sequence Continental Qualifiers makes for odd incentives at the 2019 Worlds. Because the Pan Am Games occur before the 2019 Worlds, the attributed order is important.

For a nation in either North or South America that comes 2nd at the Pan Ams, they will still have two routes into the Olympics. They can either finish in the 2019 Qualifying Nations outright, or if the nation that beat them at the Pan Ams can finish as a 2019 Worlds Qualifying Nation, they will inherit the continental spot. So in either case, they will gain an Olympic berth.

The Oceania Qualifier is straight forward enough. The 2020 Worlds occur two months after the 2019 Worlds, and most teams will be doing a down under circuit to compete in both events.

The Asian qualfiers are the only ones separated out from each other. The primary driver for hosting three events is that 49er and Nacra 17 growth in Asia is so strong that the class wanted to reward three key builders of the classes with these events of consequence.

In the past five years, Asia has accounted for 25% of all sales, with that rate reaching 33% in 2018. The 49er, which leads the growth, may have 10 or more nations competing in the continental qualifier, which would make Asia the second largest continent for high performance sailing. Each of Shanghai, Abu Dhabi, and Hainan have invested in these classes, and therefore have the ability to supply charter boats for teams unable to ship a boat to the CQ, which is of huge importance.

We are very proud of the recent growth rates in Asia of high-performance sailing. Both the 49er Class and Nacra 17 Class have been working hard to facilitate new countries joining our classes, and it seems that the tipping point has been reached as growth and participation builds, said the president of both Classes, Marcus Spillane.

Qualifying in general remains a huge challenge for teams in all three classes and a major milestone to achieve. Each of these classes is approaching participation numbers near 40 nations, so roughly half of the countries trying to get to the games will not be able to. However, the journey of Olympic qualifying is an incredibly rewarding one, and both the teams who qualify and those who dont will take satisfaction from knowing they did all they could to reach for their dreams.

For more here are the overall document and continental document links.

Related Articles

49er FX Nacra17: New era of live sailing coverage
SidelineApp the official international broadcaster of the 49er FX Nacra17 Worlds New Zealand streaming platform SidelineApp is announced as the official international broadcaster, on a subscription basis, for the the upcoming 2019 Hyundai 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 World Championships. Next week's Oceania Championship will be free. Posted today at 2:26 am
49er sailors take environmental action
Sailing as a sport has a huge environmental footprint There is no question that sailing as a sport has a huge environmental footprint. We travel the world by air, sea and road, shipping boats built from exotic materials from continent to continent. Posted on 17 Nov
Sailors uniting to help clean seas
Taking to the shores where we sail to help clean up plastic and other garbage All around the globe sailors are taking to the shores where we sail to help clean up plastic and other garbage. As passionate users of the sea, racers, cruisers, sailors young and old unite behinds a love of the oceans. Posted on 28 Sep
Medal Races of consequence decide medals
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have stamped their authority on the 49er class Finishing eighth in the double-points medal race was enough to secure victory for Burling and Tuke. The Kiwis spent the entire medal race matching the Polish team who were the only team that could catch them, disregarding their own finishing position. Posted on 21 Aug
49er, FX & Nacra17s at Ready Steady Tokyo day 4
Another day of racing and yet another style of breeze Another day of racing and another style of breeze for the Tokyo2020 Olympic Test event. In a much more stable and predictable sea breeze the Nacra17 leaderboard tightened up around the top five teams as we head into tomorrow's double points medal race. Posted on 20 Aug
Garda to host 2020 49er/FX/Nacra 17 Europeans
The classes return to Garda for the first time since 2012 2020 European Championship for 49er, 49erFX, and Nacra 17 will be jointly held by Fraglia Vela Malcesine and Fraglia Vela Riva on Lake Garda! The best mix of sailing will return to one of the World's most iconic sailing locations. Posted on 17 Aug
Hyundai backs 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 worlds
Hyundai have come on board as a principal sponsor of the 2019 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 This year's 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championships is to be held at the Hyundai Marine Sports Centre at the Royal Akarana Yacht Club in Auckland, New Zealand, the first time a world class event has been held at this venue. Posted on 29 Jul
49er, FX and Nacra 17 Junior World Championship
Italy claims 2 of 3 titles in Norway The flashy 49er skiffs and foiling Nacra 17 were hosted by Risor, Norway, a historic wooden boat building town on the Southeastern Norwegian coast, but the classic element was more about sailors and friends coming together to compete. Posted on 9 Jul
49er class looking for fantastic regattas hosts
Events intended to provide the best racing opportunities for sailors and crew The 49er Class, in conjunction with the Nacra 17 class, is looking for fantastic regattas hosts! Posted on 22 Jun
Volvo 49er, 49er FX & Nacra 17 Europeans overall
Elation for Bekkering and Duetz as they qualify under pressure Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze won the Open European Championships, the Olympic Champions from Brazil in a different class this week in Weymouth. Posted on 20 May