Welcome, classes of 2016—Sailing News from the U.S. and Beyond
While the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics hasen't even started, ISAF recently made three huge announcements pertaining to the 2016 Olympics: the Mackay FX (aka the 49er FX) has been chosen for the Women's Skiff event, the Nacra 17 has been selected for the Mixed Multihull event, and that kiteboarding will replace windsurfing for the Men's and Women's Board event. 'These announcements mark a new era for sailing and we welcome the new classes into the ISAF family,' said ISAF's President, Göran Petersson. 'Kiteboarding has proven to us that it is ready to be included into the list of prestigious ISAF Events and it is a fantastic addition to the sailing program for the 2016 Olympic Games.'
Big changes for sure, and it will be interesting to bring kiteboarding into the Olympic limelight. Now that these announcements have been made, the class list for the 2016 Olympics is complete, with the following classes racing for gold in 2016: Laser (Men's One-Person Dinghy), Finn (Men's One-Person Dinghy, heavy), Laser Radial (Women's One Person Dinghy), 470 (Men's and Women's Two-Person Dinghy), 49er (Men's Skiff), Mackay FX (Women's Skiff), Nacra 17 (Mixed Two-Person Multihull) and Kiteboards (Men's and Womens events).
These ten events will all be featured in the 2012-2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup (which begins this December in Melbourne), giving athletes some time to gear up for the inaugural classes' debuts in Rio. More, as it becomes known.
And speaking of the Olympics, the racecourse action is fierce at the U.S. Olympic Team Qualifying Regatta for the Women's Match Racing (WMR) event, which is being held in Weymouth, England, site of the Olympic Games, and which is being used to determine what team of sailors represents the U.S. at the 2012 Games. After some great match racing, the contest is now down to Anna Tunnicliffe's 'Team Maclaren' (Tunnicliffe, Molly Vandemoer and Debbie Capozzi) versus Sally Barkow's ‘Team 7' (Barkow, Elizabeth Kratzig Burnham and Alana O'Reilly) in a sudden-death series where the first team to amass six victories advances to the Olympics.
At the time of this writing, Tunnicliffe was leading with four wins after five races. 'The crew did a fantastic job today,' said Tunnicliffe. 'All of our races were really close. Sally and her team are very, very good... We're looking forward to more tomorrow.' Get the full scoop on the WMR trials inside, and stay tuned for word on the final members of the U.S. Olympic squad, as it becomes known this week.
Also in Olympic class sailing news, the 49er Worlds begin on Monday in Zadar, Croatia, where 78 teams from 32 nations are competing for top honors. While Erik Storck and Trevor Moore have long-since been chosen to represent the newly minted US Sailing Team Sperry Top-Sider at this summer's Olympics, other countries have yet to name their representatives, so there will be a lot of pressure and international attention paid to this event. Stay tuned for more, as it unfurls.
And in offshore news, Puma Ocean Racing continues to hold onto a waxing lead in Leg Six of the Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), which is taking the sailors from Itajai, Brazil to Miami, Florida. Just astern of Puma's Mar Mostro is Emirates Team New Zealand's Camper and then Telefonica. At the time of this writing, Mar Mostro was thirty-plus miles in front of the pack, having worked hard to extend their lead over the weekend. 'I'm not going to say much about the weather... it's more than cooperating and I don't want to jinx it,' reports Puma's Media Crew Member, Amory Ross. 'We have one more area of projected drifting on our way to Miami, and I worry that if I go off talking about how nice of a surprise yesterday was, how incredibly perfect the sailing was – especially when the early outlook looked so bleak – I worry I might eliminate the chance of it happening again when we hit the final hurdle of high-pressure tomorrow.' Get the full VOR report, inside.
And finally, get the latest racing reports from the ongoing Star and Laser Worlds, and be sure to also check out Rob Kothe's profile of Lijia Xu (CHN), 2008 Silver medalist and now the favorite for Laser Radial gold this summer. Enjoy.
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