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Olympic 2024: World champ dominates Single-handed Trial

by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz 19 Mar 2019 21:13 PDT 20 March 2019
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) racing the Qualifier phase of the 2016 Olympic Regatta at Rio de Janeiro © Richard Gladwell

A handy breeze appeared for the final two days of the Equipment selection Sea-trials to evaluate classes under consideration for the Mens and Womens singlehanded events at the 2024 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Three classes - the Devoti D-Zero, the RS Aero and the Musto 14 - were selected to go to a sea trial by World Sailing from applications by eight classes. The Singlehanded Trials cover two of potentially seven trials that will be held to select the classes to be sailed to be sailed in ten events at the 2024 Olympics at Marseille. In some cases the existing Olympic equipment will be trialled alongside the new class options.

The trials have to be completed and selections made and finalised before December 2020.

The third day of the four day evaluation started with a bottom of the range breeze, increasing to a 10-15kt breeze later in the day.

Farevela's Michele Tognozzi was in Valencia, Spain - venue for the 2007 and 2010 America's Cups - to observe the four classes being trialled using a squad of nominated crews, mostly from European nations. They ranged from the current world Laser Champion and 2012 Silver medalist Pavlos Kontides (CYP) to Youth Worlds sailors. Several of the squad did not even have profiles listed on World Sailing.

The Evaluation team from World Sailing appeared to be working through a predetermined check list process, as would be expected in an event of this type where all boats being trialled have been in production for some time, and are known quantities.

As the selected boat will be used for male and female singlehanded competition, rigs for both genders were evaluated sometimes in odd combinations with the male rig being tested in one boat against a female rig in another boat.

Farevela says a statement from World Sailing stipulated weight ranges of for men in the test squad ranging from 75 to 92 kg, while those of the women ranged from 55 to 70 kg.

The usual Valencia sea breeze prevailed for the final day of the trials and the boats raced against each other in a combined fleet, with the sailing squad changing between various boats.

Michele Tognozzi reported that current Laser World Champion Pavlos Kontides, won all six races in which he competed, regardless of which he was sailing - and from that perspective it may have been a better option to have a higher and more equally skilled squad for the selection of what will become the 2024 Olympic equipment.

With the ability to adjust mast rake for sailor weight and the conditions, the Devoti D-Zero appeared to be the fastest winning three races, with the RS Aero and Melges 14 winning one race each "always with Kontides at the helm".

"The judgment is therefore conditioned by the difference of the helmsmen, with Kontides, the Australian Ash Brunning and the Danish always a cut above the others and, in any case, Kontides always ahead," said Michele Tognozzi auto translated from Italian.

Among the female reduced rigs, the D-Zero won all the races on Day 4, says Tognozzi - showing a good adaptability between the adjustable reduced rig and the helmsman on the 65/70 Kg.

For full reports from all days of the trials see farevela.net

A report from the trials along with the recommendation will be made to the Mid-May Meeting of the World Sailing Council.

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