Olympic sailing has traditionally been dominated by those with the experience to put their athleticism and professionalism into peak form at the same time.
For ages it was said that it took multiple Olympic cycles to move into podium potential performance. The young guns, not known for patience, are saying forget about that, I want to compete now! Just look at the podium at 2013 worlds. Out in front were mid-twenties Burling and Tuke, in Second, youngsters Hansen and Porebski, and in Bronze, veterans Dyen and Christidis.
The 49er Gold Fleet in Hyeres is a great example of how all three generations of sailors racing the 49er are in the hunt for top positions. Here are the top teams after qualifying and where they fit into the sailing generations today. Veterans
Let's review the group we’d expect to be there, the veterans, with Olympic experience, medals, and the determination to keep on racing. These are the teams we all expect to be righting for the podium at any given regatta. They have the veteran savey, professionalism, and experience to put them in the hunt… no surprises here.
5th IRL Seaton / McGovern
9th FRA Dyen / Christidis
11th AUT Delle Karth / Relsch
14th Morrison / Grube
16th D’Ortoli / Delpesh
17th Kostov / Cupac
19th Warrer / Lang Primers
Then there are last quad’s up and comers. These are sailors who were new to the London chase scene but are now quite experienced, still young and athletic. They have all been pushed and challenged to varying degrees and are still in the game, still hungry to reach their potential. It’s no surprise to see many teams like this in a gold fleet battle.
1st GBR Fletcher / Sign
2nd NZL Burling / Tuke
7th GBR Pink / Bithell
8th GBR Evans / Pows
10th GER Heil / Ploessel
13th SWE Sylvan / Hamel
15th AUS Outteridge / Jensen Young Guns
The final group are the up and comers. Some of these sailors may have been sailing for a while, but most of them are still very young and would be considered by older standards to be too inexperienced for so many to be in the real hunt. As we’ve been seeing for the past number of years, however, in a strict one design class with many ways to be competitive, it’s does not need to take a decade to shift to the top!
3rd NZL Hansen / Porebski
4th ESP Botin / Turado
6th ARG Lange / Lange
12th ITA Plazzi / Molineris
Hansen / Porebski showed the fleet they are the real deal after winning a Silver medal at the 2013 worlds, proving their victory in Garda Eurolymp was no fluke. They are now mainstays at the front of the fleet and will be pushing Burling / Tuke for years to come.
Botin / Turado are following up a great performance at ISAF Sailing World Cup – Majorca by putting themselves in contention this week. For Lange / Lange it’s their first trip to the main stage in 49er, but they are following their fathers, multiple medal winning path and pushed by their younger brother who is ripping up the youth windsurfing scene.
Plazzi and Molineris have had a number of solid results, and seem to be improving all the time. It’s too early to say which, if any, of these young guns is destined for a long and successful career in the 49er, but you can bet everyone involved in forward projecting fortunes are taking notice!
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