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Rio 2016 Skiff Gold Medalists secure victory at Ready Steady Tokyo Olympic Test Event

by 49er & Nacra 17 Sailing 21 Aug 13:27 BST 15-22 August 2019
49er class winners - Ready Steady Tokyo 2019 © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy / World Sailing

49er - Burling and Tuke on form at key moment

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke have stamped their authority on the 49er class - again - 12 months out from the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

Finishing eighth in the double-points medal race today 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.

Spain's Diego Botin & Iago Lopez Marra took the race victory with great pace on the last downwind leg, passing Germany's Justus Schmidt and Max Boehme who lead for the first three legs of the race.

Great Britain's Dylan Fletcher & Stuart Bithell crossed the line in third place which was enough to leapfrog the early regatta leaders Przybytek & Kolodzinski for the silver. The British were much further down the fleet at the first weather mark after being forced to the unfavoured side of the course, and were mathematically out of the medals until the second half of the race. After a clean leeward mark rounding they banked hard on the right-hand side of the course to make multiple critical passes.

The Polish team, who had wrestled for the lead for much of the regatta, had to settle for third overall. Their medal race was compromised from the start when then they had to return after being over early and never recovered. Having to settle for a ninth-place finish in the medal race and a Bronze medal, the Przybytek & Kolodzinski are aware that they had greater opportunities over the course of the regatta.

Getting bounced out of the medals into a close fourth place were Ben Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT). Rounding the first windward mark in the leading group, their decision to perform a gybeset rounding turned out to be the wrong one, shuffling them back in the pack.

With a gold medal in Rio 2016 and a silver in London 2012, four 49er World Championships and an America's Cup victory thrown in for good measure, the New Zealand duo of Burling and Tuke already have a results sheets to retire on. With an 11 point victory at the Tokyo 2020 test event this week, they are without a shadow of a doubt the form boat heading into the final stretch of this Olympic cycle. If they can win the next Olympic Games and defend the America's Cup, they will fall into legend category before their thirtieth birthdays.

After a break from the class to win the America's Cup in 2017 and complete the Volvo Ocean Race in 2018, Burling & Tuke stepped back into the class in early 2019, going on to win the Open European Championship at Weymouth in May. Great Britain's Fletcher and Bithell are also hitting their stride at the perfect time. Juggling a 49er Olympic campaign and the British SailGP program, they won the European Championship and the Trofeo Princesa Sofia in Palma.

The Ready Steady Tokyo teams will now be joined by the extensive 49er fleet for the Sailing World Cup, which begins on Sunday. This will be the last major hit out on the Olympic waters before the games in August 2020. Next up on the calendar is the 2019 World Championships to be sailed in Auckland, New Zealand. With Olympic qualification spots up for grabs and teams looking to secure their countries nomination for Tokyo 2020, the summer down under will be one to watch.

49er Results: (top five)

1st Peter Burling / Blair Tuke (NZL) 53pts
2nd Dylan Fletcher / Stuart Bithell (GBR) 64pts
3rd Przybytek / Kolodzinski (POL) 68pts
4th Ben Bildstein / David Hussl (AUT) 71pts
5th Justus Schmidt / Max Boehme (GER) 77pts

Find full results here

49erFX - Grael/Kunze secure second gold in two weeks

The double-points medal race was brought in to Olympic sailing to add excitement, drama and spectacle to the end of a sailing regatta. And at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic test event, it delivered!

Regatta leaders from race one, Great Britain's Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey, held a slender one-point lead over Brazil's Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze. With four boats capable of winning overall, the mathematically game of chess was set for fireworks.

In a steady sea breeze off Enoshima, the 2016 Rio Gold medallists Grael & Kunze sailed smart and safe to finish third in the medal race, three places ahead of Dobson & Tidey. This was enough to secure another win for their already impressive trophy cabinet, having won the Open European Championship & Pan American Games, and numerous World Cup's in 2019.

Norway's Helene Næss and Marie Rønningen took the medal race win to claim second on the podium on countback ahead of Dobson & Tidey. Norwegians are one of the few teams to emerge this cycle to become contenders in the elite field. After missing out on Rio selection, they trained continuously while many teams took a break, and now have a Silver medal here Ready Steady Tokyo, along with consecutive bronze medals at the 2018 and 2019 European Championships. Training partners with the Brazilian and Kiwi teams, they are well placed to keep improving prior to Tokyo 2020.

Dobson & Tidey found themselves crossing the line in sixth place, and with the double points factored in, dropped to third overall. In some ways, this might have been a somewhat disappointing end after leading for the entire regatta, but a medal at the Olympic Test Event is likely to have secured their nomination to Tokyo in the British system, which, if confirmed, would mask any sort of disappointment.

The Ready Steady Tokyo teams will now be joined by the remainder of the 49erFX fleet for the Sailing World Cup, which begins on Sunday. This will be the last major hit out on the Olympic waters before the games in August 2020. Next up on the calendar is the 2019 World Championships to be sailed in Auckland, New Zealand. With Olympic qualification spots up for grabs and teams looking to secure their countries nomination for Tokyo 2020, the summer down under will be one to watch.

49erFX Results: (top five)

1st Martine Grael / Kahena Kunze (BRA) 57pts
2nd Helene Næss / Marie Rønningen (NOR) 62pts
3rd Charlotte Dobson / Saskia Tidey (GBR) 62pts
4th Alex Maloney / Molly Meech (NZL) 67pts
5th Tamara Echegoyen / Paula Barcelo (ESP) 86pts

Find full results here

Nacra 17 - Tita and Banti back to their winning ways

The 2018 World, European and just about every major regatta champions of Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti have secured a commanding 12 point victory at the Test Event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

With only one result outside of the top ten, Tita and Banti grabbed the lead on the third day day of the regatta and their fourth placed finish in the double points medal race was enough to hold on to the gold medal.

While the Italian's had a sizeable gap to the remainder of the fleet, second to sixth overall were separated by only seven points and show the fleet is compressing in the latter half of the Olympic cycle.

Great Britain has again put on a podium filling regatta, with a tight battle between European Champions Ben Saxton & Nicola Boniface and their teammates John Gimson and Anna Burnet coming down to the final race of the regatta. However, it was Gimson and Burnet who had enough of a buffer heading into the medal race to hold on to second overall, with Saxton and Boniface just two points shy.

Gimson and Burnet finish the regatta with the most consistent scoreline in the Nacra17 fleet. With two wins, two seconds and discarding an 8th, the British Sailing Team has their work cut out for them deciding who to send to the games in August next year.

Within the British selection system, Saxton/Boniface felt they needed to leapfrog Gimson/Burnet to gain selection for Tokyo 2020. As such, they match raced in the pre-start and both teams found themselves on port tack in the final moments of the start. With starboard tackers to deal with, Saxton was the windward boat but was able to call for room to duck. Both boats ducked two starboard tackers and managed to just clear the starting vessel to safely begin the race before continuing to drag race to the far right-hand side of the course.

When both teams tacked, Gimson and Burnet were penalised and forced to take a 360º penalty turn. It was not immediately clear what their foul was, as they had been sailing in clear water for the previous few minutes, but it could have been a leftover foul from the pre-start that was only able to be clearly communicated after the boats were separated.

With the two British teams locked in battle, both Australia's Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin and Rio 2016 gold medalists Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli had the opportunity to gain medal places. Though both teams were at times into second place overall, their decision to favour the right hand side of the windward leg didn't pay, resulting in both missing out on medals by just 1 point, settling for 4th and 5th respectively.

With different winners at all major events this year, other than the Australians winning in both Miami and Palma, the Nacra17 fleet is growing tighter than ever before. As teams perfect, refine, and develop their foiling techniques on the challenging multihulls, there is no clear cut favorite for the gold in Tokyo.

The Sailing World Cup Enoshima begins on Sunday before we head to New Zealand in November for the 2019 World Championships, where Olympic qualification is on the line.

Nacra 17 Results: (top five)

1st Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti (ITA) 54pts
2nd John Gimson / Anna Burnet (GBR) 66pts
3rd Ben Saxton / Nicola Boniface (GBR) 68pts
4th Jason Waterhouse / Lisa Darmanin (AUS) 69pts
5th Santiago Lange / Cecilia Saroli (ARG) 69pts

Find full results here

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