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Spain's Olympic duo are narrow favourites for World title

by Andy Rice 25 Feb 13:52 PST 26 February - 3 March 2024
470 World Championship © Robert Deaves

The 470 World Championship is set to begin in Palma, Mallorca. Taking place from 24 February to 3 March, 64 international teams representing 27 nations are making final preparations before racing begins this Monday.

Arguably the most consistent performers of the past two seasons have been Spain's Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman. They have won almost everything except the World Championship and there would be no better place to do it than on home waters, as Brugman commented: "The 470 World Championship is the big event of the year with the exception of the Olympic Games, which is our main objective. That's why in one way or another the Worlds are always very important for us."

"For us the period that we are in the Bay of Palma is always very special because it means being at home, even more so if this year we can extend it by doing the world championship and have the support of our people. The Club Nàutic S'Arenal does an excellent job every year with the biggest regatta on the circuit and we know that organising the World Championship will be a success here."

While the Spanish have the luxury of knowing they're already selected to represent their country at the Olympic Regatta in Marseille this July, for others the Worlds is a stepping stone towards that goal. No one will be keeping anything back, the Worlds is an event where everyone puts out their very best performance.

The past two World Championships have been dominated by two different teams. In The Netherlands last summer, Keijo Okada & Miho Yoshioka (JPN) sailed to a very easy victory, the Japanese showing they remain a strong force in the 470 despite the switch to mixed gender teams from the single gender competition of the past few decades. Okada and Yoshioka also won on these waters a year ago at the Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mallorca by Iberostar 2023, so the Japanese couldn't be in a better place for defending their world title.

A year earlier the 2022 World Championships were also won easily in Israel by a German team Luise Wanser & Philipp Autenrieth (GER). However it was other German crews who rose to the top during the 2023 season, notably the husband and wife team of Malte and Anastasiya Winkel (GER), and Simon Diesch & Anna Markfort who always look devastatingly quick in the stronger breeze. These three crews remain locked in a battle for Olympic selection and the German battle will be one of the features of racing this week in Palma.

France always fields a strong squad for this regatta, and double Olympic medallist Camille Lecointre (FRA) continues to show good progress with former men's world champion Jérémie Mion on the trapeze, with up-and-coming Matisse Pacaud and Lucie de Genes also pushing hard at senior level.

The 2022 European Champions from Sweden, Anton Dahlberg & Lovisa Karlsson (SWE), have been in patchy form over the past season but Dahlberg won men's silver at the 2020 Tokyo Games and has the experience to raise his game for the big occasion.

Stu McNay (USA) is back campaigning in a 470 with new teammate Lara Dallman-Weiss, and now aiming for a fifth time at the Games. They're in the unusual situation of having won the US trials and earned their national spot for the Games, except they have yet to qualify the nation, so these are critical times for this experienced team.

There are plenty of other good teams to watch out for, the competition is wide open and we can expect good performances from Italy, Australia, Austria, Brazil along with many others.

The 470 World Championship will feature 64 crews of 27 nationalities, and will select the last Olympic spots in the 470 class for Africa, South America, North America and Europe.

Monday 26 February is practice race day and the end of registration and measurement. The first race of the Championship is scheduled for 1200 hours local time on Tuesday 27 February. After three days of Qualifying Races and two days of Gold Fleet the top 10 teams will race each other in the concluding Medal Race on the sixth and final day of competition, Sunday 3 March.

To get all the news, photos and updates from the racing, go to www.470.org

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