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Allianz Sailing World Championships Off To A Flying Start

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  • Allianz Sailing World Championships Off To A Flying Start

    The Allianz Sailing World Championships got off to a flying start in The Hague with strong Italian, American and Spanish showings.
    Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti caught the eye with three bullets in the Nacra 17, while in the 49er, there were two wins apiece for Diego Botin and Florian Trittel (ESP) and Nevin Snow and Mac Agnese (USA).

    Elsewhere, there were some surprise results in the Mixed 470 and 49erFX classes, while Betsy Alison’s strong start in the Women’s Hansa 303 was one of the stories of the day.

    Nacra 17

    Olympic champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti arrived in The Hague having seen compatriots Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei take victory in the Olympic Test Event last month.

    They used day one in the Netherlands as the chance to underline their status as the pair to beat however, winning all three races in the yellow fleet, the perfect start of the defense of the title they won last year in St. Margarets Bay, Canada.

    Almost as impressive in the blue fleet were German duo Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer, who won the second and third races of the day to match Tita and Banti on two points after day one.

    John Gimson and Anna Burnet, the Olympic silver medalists and 2020 and 2021 world champions, also enjoyed a strong start, with a pair of second place finishes behind Tita and Banti, to sit third.

    Diego Botin and Florian Trittel have not quite hit the heights so far in 2023, but they got off to a strong start in the 49er class on day one.

    Bullets in the first two races were followed by a fifth in the blue fleet that puts the Spaniards in a good position.

    And with the unique challenges that come in Scheveningen, with the strong currents, their success was in large part down to their ability to adapt to the conditions.

    Botin said: “What makes the biggest difference at this race area in The Hague is the current. We have had two, almost three knots of current which is something we almost never see in the 49er at least. It’s changing a lot of strategy for the race. We managed to adapt to it quite well to it today and had a really good beginning.”

    In the yellow fleet, there was a fine turnaround from Nevin Snow and Mac Agnese, who finished 18th in the first heat but bounced back well with two wins to match Botin and Trittel on the leaderboard.

    However, with just five points separating the top ten, it remains incredibly tight, with world champions Bart Lambriex and Floris van de Werken lurking in seventh after a win in the opening race of the yellow fleet.

    Mixed 470
    There was Asian dominance on the first day of the Mixed 470, with Japanese and Chinese crews sharing the top four spots.

    Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) lead the way on five points after a bullet and a fourth place in the blue fleet, while Wenju Dong and Jingsa Wang (CHN) were the best of the yellow fleet and sit second on eight points.

    Their compatriots Ming Xu and Yahan Tu won the second race in the blue fleet to sit third, with Ai Kondo Yoshida and Yugo Yoshida (JPN) joining them on 11 points.

    Explaining their strong start, Okada said: “We kept focused on the current all the way through, and with a different current on the right and left side, we needed to keep watching the pressure all the time.”

    There is nothing to split the top three in the 49erFX after three heats on day one, with Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE), last year’s silver medalists, part of the leading group.

    The Swedes were the best of the blue fleet and finished the day on three points, a total matched by Isaura Maenhaut and Anouk Geurts (BEL) and Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (AUS) in the yellow fleet.

    Price, a London 2012 silver medalist, was thrilled to hit the ground running. She said: “We wanted to nail some starts, which is something that we have been working on, especially from the Test event, where we were not as confident. The first day of Worlds you have to take it as it comes. Putting it all together today, we’re happy to have some good results and to be working together as a team quite well. We’re happy with our day.”

    Reigning world champions Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz were happy just to make it onto the water after a recent training injury threatened their participation in the regatta. Wearing a knee brace,

    Duetz eased her way into the competition and regained some confidence on the boat. Although they sit outside the top ten, the Dutch were relieved to have finished the day just seven points back from the leaders.

    Van Aanholt said: “Unfortunately last week during training we had a crash and Annette injured herself. It was a big push to get to the start line today so we are very grateful to the team around us.”

    Duetz added: “We were training up here last week when it was 20-25 knots, it gets quite rough. During a capsize, I tried to get over the boat but I fell on the centerboard and injured my knee. There was a lot of pain and it didn’t feel that good. So to be here racing is already a relief and a big step for us.”

    Women’s Hansa 303
    The remarkable Betsy Alison (USA) leads the way in the Women’s Hansa 303 after a perfect opening day, winning both races to top the leaderboard.

    Her closest challenger is currently Poland’s Olga Gornas-Grudzien, who sits three points back.

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  • #2

    Gold fleet cut off a harsh moment in 49er racing

    Day 3 marks the end of qualifying, with the top 25 teams from 9 races making the gold fleet in 49er. The fleet of 83 boats gets whittled dramatically.

    Sixteen countries make up the 25 spots in gold fleet in 49er. The 25 place cutoff is harsh, and always a battle to get into. Fifteen of those countries, excluding France who are automatically qualified, will now battle for the 10 nation spots on offer.

    None were more pleased and relieved with their performance than Tom Burton and Max Paul (AUS). The pair tied for the third-best day in the whole fleet, with a 5, 2, 3 to move up more than a dozen spots and claim the final gold fleet position.

    Burton is the 2016 gold medalist in the laser and has switched over to 49er this quadrennial. Together with Max Paul the pair have been working hard. “We have been so fast all week, but just didn’t have the boathandling to survive yesterday,” said Paul. “We were in the top three to every top mark, but then six capsizes upset our day considerably. It’s such a relief to score finishes to our potential today and get a chance at gold fleet.“

    Hernan Umpierre and Fernando Diz (URU) were not happy with their performance today, but still managed to make their second every 49er gold fleet.

    Three American teams made gold fleet. Mac Agenese (USA) was thrilled to make his first-ever gold fleet, sitting in 17th place. “This has been a long time coming, something I’ve been thinking about and dreaming about,” commented Mac. “It’s a very good fleet out there, the quality is so high, it’s amazing racing.”

    Lamriex and van de Werken Versus Botin and Trittel round 3
    Diego Botin with Florian Trittel (ESP) had the best day today of all teams, sporting a 1,1,2. This comes on the heels of a big racing incident to close out day 2 that they ended up successfully gaining some redress for. (see the bottom of this article for details) Heading into gold another battle between the Spanish and the double-defending champion Dutch shaping up.

    Lambriex and Floris van de Werken (NED) took the 2022 Worlds from the Spanish on the final day in Nova Scotia. Just a few months earlier, it was the other way around to close out the 2022 European Championship in Aarhus. (there is a pretty cool video of the two of them battling upwind, each on new versus old sails from that regatta)

    The Dutch currently hold a 1.8 point lead over the Spanish, which essentially means they are tied heading into gold fleet.

    Przybytek and Piasecki (POL) are in third place, and lead a trio of Poles in Gold fleet. As it stands there are 10 nations in the top 10 overall, and then the French in 11th. The battle to keep in those top 10 nations will be fierce as all eyes are aimed at getting a spot in Paris.

    25 boats will make the gold fleet, so the red line is our separator. To figure out who needs to do what to either stay in the gold or move up, here is the working. We then know the 26th place team has 64 points from 7 counting races, so just over 8.6 points per race. So, if everyone performed on average, the line might move up as 72.5 points (64+8.5) but no lower than 65 points, since the 26th-place team will score at least a single point.

    Looking above the line, we then check who might score over 65 points. URU have a 17 as a drop and 48 points, so could be up to 65 points. They seem highly likely to make it, as they would have to have to score a drop and have CHN 616 win the race to loose out. From there, the logic is similar for each team, with the teams currently below URU each having a slightly bigger chance of missing out, while the teams behind China have a worse chance to get in.

    16th place through 33rd place still has a chance to make the gold fleet, and keep their Olympic qualifying dreams alive. POST SCRIPT – before protests, it seems the above prediction of 72.5 points is bang on, as 71 points has made gold while 74 has not!

    Lawyer Logic helps and hurts Botin / Trittel

    In the second race of day 2, Meggendorfer and Spranger (GER) crashed into the back corner of Botin and Trittel (ESP) as they both rounded the leeward marks. It’s the sort of incident that can easily happen in a big wind, big waves 49er race. Both boats capsized, and when the Germans got back upright, they did a penalty turn and continued on their way, acknowledging being in the wrong for the incident. Again, this is all the sort of typical behavior that goes on in 49er racing. Where the incident gets more interesting is when the Spanish boat was damaged. The back end of the wings has bungy going across it, running through pulleys, holes, or the foot straps that goes up tot eh mainsheet system and back down the other side. This bungy bunches the leeward tiller extension onto the aft wing. Without these bungies, it is very hard to do tacks and gybes, as the skipper much pick up a new tiller extension that could be anywhere as they go through a maneuver. The Spanish retired to complete a repair instead of continuing to try and finish the race. And here is where the deep rules of saying get convoluted and the lawyers get spinning their logic.

    The case went to a hearing, and because the damage ‘forced’ the retirement of the Spanish, the Germans were disqualified. While important for the Germans, this is quite understandable from a logical point of view. However, it then gets more complicated. The Spanish would not be entitled to redress for the forced capsize or due to losing positions but are entitled to redress because they retired from the race. The redress given to them was to get a last place of the boats that finished, 24th, a better position than DNF as quite a few boats did retire as the conditions were so rough.

    Then the Spanish, with their hasty repair raced the final race of the day. They were first to the windward mark, but their repair was not holding, so they ended up capsizing during the first downwind. Eventually, they finished 11th in the race. So the damage still caused them trouble in the second race, but this time they got a score of average points for the first 5 races (yes, including the redress for race 5), meaning they got 6.8 points for that race. Read the full case decision here and if you can explain why all this makes sense, please comment in the post.

    In this author’s humble opinion, this jumble needs to be simpler. Either the Spanish deserve redress, and should get average position in both races, or there is no redress, or they deserve redress because they retired in race 5 but don’t deserve redress in race 6 as they completed it… but how we get to different redress for different races for the same incident is hard to understand. A final point, if an identical incident had occurred 200m above the finish line, and the Spanish drifted upside down across the finish line, they would not have been entitled to redress as they would not have retired, the Germans would not have been disqualified as the standard for serious damage would not have been met, and it’s anybody’s guess what would have happened to the race 6 score. All that said, the outcome here is reasonable, just confusing… and the Spanish move up into 4th place overall, while the Germans sink to 51st.

    PS – in speaking with jury personnel familiar with these sorts of details, the difference is what caused the reduction in performance by the Spanish. As it was the capsize in race 5 that put them in arrears of the fleet, and then they retired, the redress is relative to the point they righted their boat, not the position they were in prior to capsize. In race 6, the ‘serious damage’ cause the capsize, and their redress is based on their average scoring.

    Tita and Banti inevitable - like Verstappen

    Max Verstappen, the Formula 1 driver making racing ‘boring’ wishes he was as inevitable in victory as Tita and Banti (ITA). The Italian Gold medalists ran another picket fence today with three straight victories in the nacra 17 racing. If they hold on to win the 2023 World Championship, that would make four World titles and a gold medal since 2017.

    The Hague, The Netherlands is hosting the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships from 11th to 20th August 2023. More than 1200 sailors from 80 nations are racing across ten Olympic sailing disciplines. Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition places will be awarded as well as 10 World Championship medals Credit: Sailing Energy / World Sailing. 13 August 2023.

    Keeping the regatta competitive are nine other teams from eight nations who have similarly managed great scores through the nine qualifying races thus far. The point spread is still tight as the fleet heads into the gold fleet of 25 boats. There are only 9 nation-spots available for the Paris Olympics, so this group will have to keep up the pace.

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    • #3
      Competitive Day in Gold Fleet Mixes Up the Fleet

      The first day of Gold fleet for the Nacra 17 brought all 25 top teams together. The racing became another notch more intense, and the conditions multiplied the up-and-down nature of the scores with a lighter offshore wind being hard for the teams to predict.

      Only Emil Jarrud with Hannah Johnson (SWE) managed three races in the top 10, including a first and a second to vault up to third overall. This Swedish pair have been gradually moving up the standing all quadrennial but this is the first time they are in the podium standings so deep into an elite regatta.

      Gimson and Burnet (GBR) also managed a win and had a good day moving into second, while Tita and Banti (ITA) struggled by their high standards but still managed to expand their lead overall on the basis their drop race had been a second.

      The other team to score three top 10 finishes was Vitorrio Bissaro with Maelle Frascari (ITA), who move into the top 10. “It was very nice racing out there, but very hard as well. the wind came off the land so it was not possible to predict what would happen next, so we rode the gains and losses as best we could,” commented Bissaro.

      The wind faded away in the afternoon so no Silver fleet races were possible. Tomorrow is a scheduled day off for the Nacra 17 fleet as the skiffs return to gold fleet action, joined by the board classes who begin their racing.

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      • #4

        5.08.2023 by Ben Remocker
        Lambriex - van de Werken and Botin - Trittel Locked in Battle for Lead

        The battle between leaders Botin with Trittel (ESP) and Lambriex with van de Werken (NED) is on! After twelve 49er races, the Spanish and Dutch protagonists find themselves just 0.2 points apart at the top of the standings. The teams are locked on the leaderboard and locked on the water too, finishing within two place in each of the three races today. The Dutch won two of the three times to whittle down the small lead to a minuscule one. For example, 30 seconds after the start of race three, both the Spanish and Dutch struggled to hold their lanes on starboard. The Dutch tacked to Port and ducked the Spanish, and then just a few moments later the Spanish tacked to follow and keep in lockstep. 30 minutes later the pair were still together, finishing 6th and 7th, respectively.

        (Left to right: Lambriex, van de Werken, Botin, Trittel – locked in battle all day long)

        James Peters and Fynn Sterrit (GBR) had two wins today and a poor race to bring themselves into the mix after the first day of gold fleet racing. They also won their final qualifying race to be on three wins in a row, the third of which was very comfortable by the time they completed the second lap. The British pair are up into third overall, typically a finish that would secure themselves a place in Paris within the confidential British trial system.

        In the race to qualify nation places for Paris 2024, ten different nations are represented in the top 10 overall and aim to get the ten Paris berths on offer this week.

        Gold fleet racing continues tomorrow, with three more races scheduled. Then the top 10 will race the medal race for 49er and FX on the 18th of August. The medal races will be broadcasted live, starting with the Nacra 17 and 470 on the 17th of August. Go to to sign up for live alerts.

        Full results:


        Smiling Swedes Sit Sweetly

        Bobeck and Netzler congratulate each other. Credit: Sailing Energy / World Sailing. 13 August 2023.
        Vilma Bobeck with Rebecca Netzler (SWE) have moved into a dominating lead after the first day of gold fleet racing in the 49erFX. They are now only counting firsts, seconds, and thirds out of 11 races, with their single drop race, a 19th, in their final race of the day. They have now built a 35 point lead and can begin to realistically team of securing the first-ever skiff World Championship for Sweden.

        The pair were casual and relaxed as they headed out in the morning, and started well with a second in the first race of gold fleet and a third in the second.

        Olivia Price with Evie Haseldine (AUS) kept up their consistent performances with two more good races and a drop. Their third and twelfth to start the day are great scores for this relatively new team. Like the Swedes, they also sailed their drop in the third race of the day.

        Steph Roble and Maggie Shea (USA) won the final race of the day. The American pair had the best day overall in the fleet, with three top tens’s including the race win. The only other team to secure three top 10’s was Martine Grael with Kahena Kunze (BRA), who started in the 20’s overall and have moved up to 14th.

        The Hague, The Netherlands – 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships
        Credit: Sailing Energy / World Sailing. 15 August 2023.

        Like the 49er fleet, the top 10 of the FX fleet comprises ten nations, in line with the 10 Olympic berths available at the 2023 World Championship. There are also three different continents making up the podium right now. Both points illustrated how this relatively young class has been widely adopted globally in only ten years of existence.

        full results:

        Numbers Game

        An interesting tidbit about the 49er racing. Teams earn their sub-100 sail numbers in the 49er by coming in gold fleet within their career and then must sail with a sub-100 number from then on. It is a sign of accomplishment for all teams, and they can all tell you when they ‘got their number’. At the 49er Worlds this year, there is so much depth and experience that no new numbers will be issued. As you might expect from the high point of Olympic sailing, each quad, all 25 teams in the gold fleet, have been there before.

        Appealing Leaderboard
        On day 3, we reported that Botin and Trittel (ESP) had asked for and received redress for a collision they were involved in during race 8. When we wrote that while the outcome was understandable, the methodology and logic for granting that redress were challenging to follow.

        Overnight and during the day off, a series of appeals were launched, ultimately launching the Spaniards into the overall lead. Their on-water scores were DNF and 11, the initial redress gave them a 24 and 6.8, and now they sit with an 8th and a 2.8.

        The first appeal of the initial decision came from the Spanish, claiming the 24th place was incorrect and they should be awarded the place they were in when the collision occurred. The appeal jury agreed and knocked down their score to an 8th, which had a mathematical impact on the average points award for Race 9, moving them down to a 2.8 for that race.

        After hearing of the updated scoring, the defending world Champions and previous regatta leaders, Lambriex and van de Werken (NED), lodged a protest, stating their placings were negatively impacted by something that was not their fault, a fairly common strategy for Race Official protesting.

        The jury decided late last night, on the day off, that their protest was too late to be held and, therefore, invalid.

        The 49er boat park was abuzz the morning of Gold fleet racing, with plenty of rye jokes shared about getting redress for all sorts of nonsensical reasoning. Fundamentally, the fleet disagree with what the way the jury interprets what is ‘serious damage’, the definition that triggered redress. While many sympathize with the broken bungy in race 8, most, believe the Spanish pair should have been able to apply a suitable repair for race 9, and the application of redress for race 9 is not justified.

        This has been a long-standing dispute between the 49er class and the racing rules of sailing. Years ago, the 49er class imposed a condition on the fleet that they all had to carry a spare tiller extension, so broken tiller extensions could be replaced without needing to retire from a race. The aim of the class was to avoid redress applying for so many cases, yet jury members continue to award redress for broken tiller extensions to this day.

        As for the Spanish scoring, It’s a bit hard to keep up, but there is often another appeal window just before the medal race and perhaps the case will be under dispute a further time before it is settled.

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        • #5

          Jarudd and Jonsson (SWE) Snatch Bronze and Italians and Brits hold for gold and silver
          The Gold and Silver were all but decided heading into her medal race, but the fight for bronze was among five boats. Laila van de Meer with Bjarne Bouwer (NED) were fourth overnight and won the pin end of the startline. They charged forward into the lead and took mathematical control of the bronze medal.

          Dutch win the pin and foil into the race lead.
          Meanwhile, Jarudd and Jonsson (SWE) who were sitting in third overnight had a horrible start, and were last to cross the line as they messed up a pre-start maneuver.

          With the fleet split, the go straight side looked good with the Dutch, two Italians and British all holding the first row. They all tacked to port most of the way up the beat and Tita and Banti (ITA) held a great groove to slowly wind in the leading Dutch. By the top mark they had a clear lead while the Dutch were in second and the Swedish back in the pack.

          On the second lap, the Dutch, again, lead to the left corner with the other leading teams on their windward hip, and the Swedish the farthest right of the bunch. As the teams reached the corner of the beat, the wind swung to the right considerably, and the Swedes briefly moved into first, with the dutch falling back to mid pack.

          By the time it all shook out, the Swedes were back in Bronze medal positions, which they held through the finish line.

          Tita and Banti secured their third World titles, clearly the team to beat of the international fleet. One year out from Paris, all eyes will be on the Italian pair, who have as much of an advantage as any in the sailing fleets.
          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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          • #6
            With Keiji Okada and Miho Yoshioka having already secured the gold medal for Japan, their participation in the 470 Mixed medal race was a formality.
            The tussle for silver and bronze was the battle to watch, with five crews in contention for the lower steps of the podium.

            After a multi-boat wrestle for the favoured left-hand end of the start line, Spain’s Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman were fastest out of the blocks and made the early running. Their start-line bravado rewarded the Spanish with first place around the first turning mark as Xammar and Brugman put their legendary downwind prowess into action. Pumping the sails and throwing their bodyweight into propelling the boat at full speed in the rolling waves and 12 knot breeze, the Spanish looked ever more likely to secure the silver medal.

            Pulling up into second place on the downwind leg behind the Spanish were the German husband and wife team, Malte and Anastasiya Winkel, who were winning the battle for bronze ahead of the other podium contenders from Israel, Austria and Japan.

            Up the second windward leg the Israeli team took their chances on the right-hand side of the course nearer to Scheveningen Beach. Nitai Hasson and Noa Lasry (ISR) launched themselves into the lead thanks to a big right-hand wind shift. With an outside shot at a medal the Israel crew were doing all they could to work themselves towards the podium.

            Israel rounding the final top mark in first place was just one example of how the pack had been completely reshuffled. The Winkel team had dropped from second to last place, although the Spanish had done enough to keep themselves in silver medal position despite losing the race lead.

            Tetsuya Isozaki and Yurie Seki (JPN) had also profited from going further right on the final windward leg and rounded the final turning mark in third place and up into the bronze medal position. The places kept on changing on the last blast downwind with just a few points separating six teams still in contention for bronze. But it was Isozaki and Seki that did just enough to claim bronze.

            So double joy for Japan with gold and bronze medals, and silver for the Spanish, Xammar and Brugman repeating their runner-up position from the 2022 Worlds.

            Okada was pleased with the new boat they had launched for this championship. “I think our boat speed is very good. Downwind today it was a bit shifty and a little bit light but that was good for us.” Yoshioka was delighted with their performance. “I’m so happy,” she grinned. “Ichiban! [No.1].”
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            • #7

              Mission accomplished in the 49er & 49er FX, achieved by:
              Andrew Mollerus / Ian MacDiarmid (USST 49er), Ian Barrows / Hans Henken (USST 49er), and Steph Roble OLY / Maggie Shea OLY (USST 49er FX)

              The path to Paris 2024 consists of two parts: "qualifying a country" (earning a spot in each sailing class) and deciding which athlete(s) will fill the spots the country has qualified for.

              The 2023 Sailing World Championships serves as the first and largest opportunity to punch country tickets to the Paris Olympics. The top 10 countries in the 49er and 49er FX final scores will receive a spot in each fleet for Paris 2024.

              By qualifying for the Medal Race in the 49er and 49er FX (top 10 at the end of the Finals Series), the three teams solidified the USA's place as one of the top 10 countries in both fleets at the end of the regatta.

              Daniela Moroz (USST) finished 5th overall for 2023 Worlds, qualified the USA for the Paris 2024 Games in the Women’s Formula Kite, and became the first American to ever qualify for the Olympic Games in Kiteboarding.

              Charlotte Rose (USST) moved from 6th to 5th overall and will sail today's ILCA 6 medal race, broadcasted live (link below).
              Rose and Erika Reineke (USST) qualified the USA for the Paris 2024 Games in the ILCA 6 by placing the USA in the top 16 countries overall at the end of the Final Series.

              Rose and Reineke got it done in The Hague!

              Charlotte Rose moved from 6th to 5th overall on the last day of the Finals Series and will sail the medal race tomorrow, and Erika Reineke ended her regatta in 15h overall.

              The top 16 countries in the ILCA 6 at the end of today’s Finals Series racing earned tickets to the Paris Olympics, and Rose/Reineke ensured USA had a strong presence amongst the best of the best on the world stage.


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