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Celebrating North American country qualifications and athlete selection ahead of the Paris Olympics

by David Schmidt 9 Apr 08:00 PDT April 9, 2024
2024 Trofeo Princesa Sofía © Allison Chenard / US Sailing Team

Back in January, I wrote about 2024 being a year with an embarrassment of sailing riches. This technically began in 2023 with the start of the Global Solo Challenge, and it picked up steam with the Arkea Ultim Challenge. But, looking ahead, the next major event on the calendar—before the America's Cup and the start of the Vendee Globe—is a "little" event (ahem) called the Paris 2024 Olympics (July 26-August 11).

And while the Games are still some 108 days over the horizon, last week's Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Regatta (March 29-April 6), which took place on the waters off of Mallorca, Spain, helped determine the American, Canadian, and Mexican sailors and sailing teams that will represent their countries once the opening ceremony fades into some of the planet's fiercest One Design racing.

First, the Americans.

ILCA sailors Erika Reineke and Ford McCann, who will be sailing in the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 classes (respectively) both earned their tickets to Paris at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials back in February. Reineke finished in 15th place at the Princesa Sofia Regatta, while McCann finished in 59th place. (The fine print here is that the USA still needs to earn country qualification in the ILCA 7 event at the Last Chance Regatta, AKA, the French Olympic Week, which runs from April 21-27; this is already settled business for the USA in the ILCA 6 event.)

Critically, the Princesa Sofia Regatta determined USA's closely fought 49erFX team, with Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea—who finished in 10th place—earning the right to represent the Stars and Stripes. (Ian Barrows and Hans Henken, who didn't compete at the Princesa Sofia Regatta, will represent the USA in the 49er class.)

Daniela Moroz, who is widely believed to be one of the Americans best placed to medal, will be representing the USA in the Women's Formula Kite, while Markus Edegran has been nominated to represent the USA in the Men's Formula Kite (but, like McCann in the ILCA 7, the USA still needs to qualify for the event at the French Olympic Week). Moroz finished in second place at the Princesa Sofia Regatta, while Edegran didn't compete.

On the iQFoils, the USA will be represented by Dominique Slater in the Women's iQFoil, while the men—pending country qualifications at the French Olympic Week—will be represented by Noah Lyons. Slater finished the Princesa Sofia Regatta in 27th place, while Lyons finished in 13th place.

Stu McNay and Lara Dallman-Weiss, who finished in 20th place at the Princesa Sofia Regatta, will represent the USA in the Mixed 470 class.

Finally, for the Americans, athlete selection for the Nacra 17 class will take place at the Nacra 17 Worlds (May 7-12). In the meantime, Americans Sarah Newberry Moore and David Liebenberg finished the Princesa Sofia Regatta in 25th place, while Cason Crain and Lindsay Gimple finished in 33rd place.

Jumping borders to the north, ILCA 6 sailor Sarah Douglas earned her ticket to the Paris Games at the Princesa Sofia Regatta, where she finished in 17th place.

Likewise, the Canadian 49er sailors Will Jones and Justin Barnes, who finished in 35th place at the Princesa Sofia Regatta, will represent Canada at this summer's Games, as will sisters (and SailGP athletes) Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance, who finished the Princesa Sofia Regatta in fourth place in the 49erFX class.

While Canada has earned country qualifications for the ILCA 6, 49er, and 49erFX, and Women's Formula Kite events for Paris (the Canadian Women's Formula Kite representative will be determined at the Formula Kite Worlds, which run from May 11-19th in Hyeres, France), the country still needs to qualify for the ILA 7, IQFoil: Men, IQFoil: Women, Mixed 470, and Men's Formula Kite.

In all cases, Canada's next opportunity to earn country qualification for these events will unfurl at the French Olympic Week.

That said, Luke Ruitenberg has prequalified himself in the ILCA 7 class, Nikola Girke has prequalified herself in the Women's IQFoil class, and Cyrus Lai has prequalified himself in the Men's IQFoil. Provided that Canada earns country qualification, these athletes will have tickets to Paris.

Looking ahead, Emily Bugeja and Mac Morrin are leading the hunt in the Men's and Women's Formula Kite classes, while Galen Richardson and Madeline Gillis are looking strong in the Nacra 17s.

And, south of the American border, Mexico has earned country qualification in the Women's IQFoil and the ILCA 6 classes.

As a result, Mexico will be represented by Elena Oetling Ramirez, who finished the Princesa Sofia Regatta in 40th place, while Mariana Aguilar Chavez Peon, who finished in 23rd place at the Princesa Sofia Regatta, will be representing the country in the Women's IQFoil.

Sail-World tips our hat to all of these amazing and dedicated athletes who have worked hard to earn either their country qualifications or their individual berths, and we can't wait to see the racing unfurl on the waters off of Marseille, France, this summer.

Finally, for any Cup junkies out there (our hands are enthusiastically waving in the air), teams are starting to reveal their V2 AC75 foiling monohulls, which will be used to contest the 37th America's Cup (October 12-21, 2024). While the emerging imagery does a good job of camouflaging some important design decisions, it's clear that all teams are taking their hull, deck, and crew-position aerodynamics seriously.

May the four winds blow you safely home.

David Schmidt
Sail-World.com North American Editor

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