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Olympic Prelude In Lanzarote

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  • Olympic Prelude In Lanzarote

    Canary Islands become a prelude to the Olympic Games

    The Spanish team continues to dominate the Lanzarote International Regatta, with Canary Islander Tara Pacheco and Catalan Florian Trittel holding first place in Nacra 17, plus Cantabrian Diego Botín and Galician Iago López topping the 49er. Could we see the same result in Tokyo 2020?

    Finland (Nacra 17), Ireland (49er) and Belgium (49er FX) are the European countries that will be competing for an Olympic pass in the Canary Islands. The Medal Race will be broadcast live simultaneously on the Olympic Channel and World Sailing media channels, in addition to the Lanzarote International Regatta.

    The Canary Islands have given us a beautiful day of racing with a fairly stable wind direction, from the east with an average intensity of between 10 and 14 knots, although somewhat unstable in some areas; in short, a perfect day for "racing". On Wednesday, the 25 best boats in the men's and women's Olympic modalities (49er and 49er FX) qualified, in which the Spaniards Diego Botín and Iago López continue to dominate, innate sailors who have shown that they are capable of coming back from any position. "We had another fantastic day, we have never done so many firsts in so few days, but we still have a long way to go in the championship and the Danes are very close", says Galician Iago López. In the Cantabrian's words, "it's important to perform well in this regatta because it's probably the last one before Tokyo".

    In the 49er, Ireland is the country that holds the Olympic pass with Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in third place. Both Irish 49er teams are sailing very well and remain in contention for a place at the Olympics, but there are still many races to go and anything is possible, so there is a lot of work to do. "We'd love to compete in Tokyo, but the goal is to do well this week first," explains Matt McGovern, coach of the Irish.

    In the mixed modality of Nacra 17, Tara Pacheco from Gran Canaria and Florian Trittel from Barcelona continue to stand out, maintaining their first place, even improving on yesterday's results, sailing with around 10 knots in the first and second races, positioning themselves at the starts and maintaining their speed, which has allowed them to achieve almost three first places in a row. "They have made very good decisions in general, especially in the positioning of the starts and in the first 150 metres, which has been key in this competition", explains their coach, Álvaro Del Arco.

    However, the German duo of Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer are close behind. "It was difficult, especially during the first two races, but when we had a clear strategy, we got the speed we need to win races," said Kohlhoff and Stuhlemmer. In this Olympic class, Finland's Sinem Kurtbay and Janne Jarvine move up two places and, for now, qualify their country for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

    The Brazilians, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, continue to dominate the women's 49er FX category, but there is still a lot at stake and anything can happen with strong southerly breeze forcast for the end of the week. The Brazilians won Olympic gold at Rio 2016, and on the Lanzarote regatta course they are proving that they will be great rivals at the Tokyo Olympics. The Danes have also proved to be up to the task, so they are "very happy with the strategy we followed today, the first and last race we finished well, but everything was quite difficult and unpredictable," said Ida M. Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard. However, it must be remembered that it is the Belgians who are playing for the Olympic place.

    Which European countries are competing for a place at the Olympic Games?

    Nacra 17: Finland, Croatia, Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Russia

    49er FX: Sweden, Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, Belgium, Russia

    49er: Ireland, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal, Estonia, Slovenia, Turkey, Russia


    The Spanish Team dominates the Pre-Olympics

    Tara Pacheco from the Canary Islands and Florian Trittel from Barcelona have shown that they know how to read both the wind and the waves of Lanzarote better than anyone else on the Canary Islands regatta course.

    The Spanish duo formed by Diego Botín from Cantabria and Iago López from Galicia also lead in the 49er class. Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barceló managed to climb 7 positions, which allowed them to reach the 49er FX podium this Friday.

    The conditions on the regatta course favoured the Spanish Olympic team, who demonstrated in the Canary Islands waters that they are more than ready for the Olympic Games, although with a light veil of calima so characteristic of the islands that covered the three regatta courses, making visibility difficult. But this has not been an impediment for the favourite duo formed by Tara Pacheco from Gran Canaria and Florian Trittel from Barcelona to snatch the first place from the Germans, Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer, after an intense dispute.

    Tara and Florian took first place in the second leg; however, on the third lap, the Germans made a miscalculation, confusing the offset with the first mark. "The truth is that the day has been shorter, we have had 3 very good races with 10-11 knots and spectacular conditions," says Pacheco. The European Olympic pass is now in Finland with Sinem Kurtbay and Janne Jarvine in seventh place.

    Even the 49ers got out of the water first, completing the three races very quickly with ideal conditions, the wind decided to calm down and blow with an intensity of between 12 and 15 knots, while the sea seems to have taken a bow to allow the 49ers to advance at full speed, with very little wave, and especially giving way to the Cantabrian Diego Botín and the Galician Iago López, who managed to do a hat-trick, finishing first in the three races. "There was an easterly wind that came in very well at Playa Blanca, perfect conditions for sailing, it was important to start and go fast, we had to go left", explains Botín. In his words, "it has been one of those few days when things go well", although the championship starts tomorrow. In this class, Ireland is the country that holds the Olympic pass with Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove in third place.

    In the third Olympic sailing class, the women's 49er FX class, Galician Tamara Echegoyen and Mallorcan Paula Barceló, who will represent Spain in Tokyo, have managed to climb from 16th to ninth place, an incredible feat that once again opens up the possibility of a podium. In first place are the Brazilians, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, Olympic gold medallists at Rio 2016, so they will be direct rivals of the Spaniards in Tokyo.

    Among the European countries, Croatia is aiming for Tokyo with Enia Nincevic and Mihaela Zjena as number 7. "It's a very close class and that gives it passion, there is a lot of respect among the teammates and there are very powerful teams that have shown it for years, such as Brazil, England, the Netherlands or Norway, so this regatta is a good test to see what will happen in the Olympic Games", says Tamara Echegoyen. For the Galician sailor, the Canary Islands are a paradise for water sports, especially for establishing a winter base, as the conditions on the water are ideal, but also the temperature is perfect and the days are longer, as well as the treatment of the local people, it's like "being at home".


    2 March, 2021

    Lanzarote tests the strategic intelligence of Olympic competitors
    The gusty winds have tested the sailors` ability to read the Lanzarote regatta course, so strategy has prevailed over speed, with the debut of the Bocaina being a challenge to advance towards Tokyo

    Canary Islander Tara Pacheco stands out among the best strategists, advancing to third place in the Nacra 17 flying catamaran, as did the pair of Diego Botín and Iago López in the 49er class. However, the island has put the women's duo of Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barceló to the test.

    The wind dropped significantly on Monday. The sailors risked a lot at the start in order to be able to sail with free wind. Monday has been a strategic challenge, a very technical race that has managed to bring out the nerves. However, Tara Pacheco from Gran Canaria and Florian Trittel from Barcelona were able to read the course to move up three positions, although they hope "to have a better chance tomorrow on the first upwind leg, so that we can be in front from the start". In general there has been little pressure, "the boat could hardly fly downwind, which means that the speed differences between the boats are huge", explains Pacheco.

    Their direct rivals for the Olympic Games are the French Delapierre and Audinet, current European runners-up and second in the Lanzarote International Regatta, while the German duo of Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer are still in first place. It should be remembered that some European countries such as Holland (currently in eighth position with Järudd Emil and Jonsson Cecilia as sailors) or Finland (with Sinem Kurtbay and Janne Jarvine in tenth position) are competing for the Olympic spot.

    For their teammates in the men's 49er, Diego Botín and Iago López, the easterly winds allowed them to advance to third place. "It was all about going left on the race course, almost the whole fight was decided at the start, at the beginning it was difficult, but we managed to come back, it was a very good day for us", said the Cantabrian sailor. Despite having come back three positions, the British take the lead on the second day of racing as the best readers of the Lanzarote wind: Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell, third in the World Championship held in Auckland (New Zealand) and gold in the European Championship in Weymouth (United Kingdom) in 2019.

    In the women's 49er FX, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barceló have not been so lucky, they have decided to take risks at the start and it is of little use to have the boat perfectly tuned, new sails and the crew trained to the best level if you go over the starting line of a regatta, and this fact has characterised the day for the women's boats, and also for the favourites to be champions of the Lanzarote International Regatta after the world gold medal, as they will have a hard time recovering from the 16th position, after two disqualifications for being out of line. On the other hand, the Norwegians Helena Næss and Marie Rønningen have taken the first place.

    Lanzarote: a precedent for Olympic qualifying events in the Canary Islands

    The competition, a European and African qualifier for Tokyo 2020, sets the precedent for positioning the Canary Islands as a sports tourism benchmark and safe destination in the world with the support of the Canarian government’s Department of Tourism, Industry and Trade led by Yaiza Castilla. For the first time, the islands are the continental passport to compete in three modalities of Olympic sailing: Nacra 17, 49er and 49er FX: The results can be followed live on the official website of the Lanzarote International Regatta.



    LANZAROTE, CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN (March 19, 2021) – Five American skiffs are scheduled to compete in the Lanzarote Winter Series event with racing starting on Sunday, March 21. US Sailing team members and Team USA Tokyo Athletes, Stephanie Roble (East Troy, Wis) and Maggie Shea (Wilmette, Ill.) will race in the 49erFX class, and the four USST men’s teams will compete in the 49er division: Nevin Snow (San Diego, Calif.) and Dane Wilson (Ojai, Calif.), Ian Barrows (St. Thomas, USVI) and Hans Henken (Coronado, Calif.), Andrew Mollerus (Larchmont, NY) and Ian MacDiarmid (Delray Beach, Fla.), and Harry Melges (Fontana, Wis.) and Finn Rowe (Fontana, Wis.).

    In the past few months, the US skiff group took various approaches to training. Mollerus and MacDiarmid almost exclusively trained in Europe, Roble and Shea split their time between Europe and the states, and the remaining three men’s teams trained together in Florida and California. For Snow, Wilson, Barrows, Henken, Melges, and Rowe, this will be their first time back in international competition in well over a year.

    Although Roble, Shea, Mollerus, and MacDiarmid have been training in Europe for months, large events with the international fleet are few and far between. Only a few opportunities remain for the fleets to gather prior to the 2020 Tokyo Games taking place this summer.

    “It’s been 7 months since we last raced [in Kiel, Germany], and we’ve been sailing ‘full steam ahead’ since then,” said Roble. “We are super grateful to have the opportunity to race again with the fleet. We have been over here since the end of January and have made a lot of progress on our goals. We don’t know how much racing we will have before the Olympics, so we are excited to work our process and learn more in this final push to the Games!”

    “This is the first big regatta of the season with a very competitive fleet,” said MacDiarmid. “We would love to keep it easy and be able to mix it up with the top boats when gold fleet starts.”

    “Harry and I are very excited to get back to racing in a big fleet,” said Rowe. “It’s been over a year since our last international regatta [in Kiel, Germany]. Our biggest goal for this event is to focus on starting.”

    With athletes both preparing for the upcoming Games in Tokyo and embarking on their campaigns for Paris 2024, all are excited to reconnect with the international fleet to check in on their progress.
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