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August 8, 2018: Booking a spot for Tokyo 2020

08/08/2018


Sail-World NZ e-magazine - August 8 - Booking a spot for Tokyo 2020

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Sam Meech (NZL) - Laser - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing


Dear Recipient Name


Welcome to Sail-World.com's New Zealand e-magazine for August 8, 2018

The Main Event this week is the Hempel Sailing World Championships, being sailed at Aarhus in Denmark, for all the Olympic classes plus the Kiteboards.

The regatta, held every four years at the mid-point of the Olympic Quadrennium is huge – with four times the number of competitors in the Olympic Regatta.

Unlike the Olympic regatta there are multiple entries allowed per nation, and clearly the standard is higher. There is more pressure than an Olympic regatta with sailors trying to make the cut for the main event, in Enoshima, Japan in two years time. On top of that, for the state-funded sailing programs and their sailors, their future funding hangs on performance in key regattas - of which the world championship is usually the pinnacle event for the year.

Andy Maloney (NZL) - Finn -Day 1 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Andy Maloney (NZL) - Finn -Day 1 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Add in the decision to reduce the number of Olympic places being determined at this regatta from 50% to just 40% - and a steep slope got steeper.

In general terms, in six of the ten Olympic events a finish in the top eight places overall will be rewarded with a place in the 2020 Olympic Regatta.

The exceptions are the two single handers - the Laser and Laser Radial - which get 14 spots for the Men and 18 for the Women. The Windsurfer receives ten spots for Men and 11 for Women. The additional places in both cases being a way of partially resolving the gender algebra to make the 2020 Olympic regatta appear to be more gender-equal.

George Gautrey (NZL) - Laser - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
George Gautrey (NZL) - Laser - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

New Zealand qualified in all ten Olympic classes at the end of the 2014 Sailing World Championships. But along with a few other countries declined to use their allocation.

That decision, plus the Oceania region not taking up its allocation in several classes, did not go unnoticed at the International Olympic Committee, and Sailing was rewarded with a reduction of 30 places from the 380 spots at Rio de Janeiro in 2016, to 350 places in Enoshima in 2020.

The conditions in Aarhus have only added to the Olympic Qualification angst with now two days of light and fickle winds and the prospect of more to come before the regatta is done.

As we saw overnight Tuesday on the Finn course series leader Ed Wright (GBR) managed to finish second to last (or the "penultimate finisher" as it was explained on the commentary). Other top sailors in similar positions, were fortunate to have races abandoned after the wind died completely.

Sam Bullock (52 - NZL) - Kiteboard - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Sam Bullock (52 - NZL) - Kiteboard - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

As the Sailing World Championships near the Medal Race phase, New Zealand would appear to be able to achieve Olympic Qualification in five of the ten events/classes.

In the Mixed Multihull, the top New Zealand crew of Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson are in 10th country place with the top eight to qualify - but are only a couple of points away - with a double points scoring medal race to come for the top ten crews in each event.

In the women's singlehander (Laser Radial) with 18 Olympic spots on offer, New Zealand is sitting in 22nd on the countries count.

One of the questions that several nations will have to answer is how they will handle their Olympic selection, with their top funded sailors not being the ones who qualify their country for the Olympic spot.

Nathan and Hayley Outteridge (AUS) - Nacra 17 - Hempel Sailing World Championships - Aarhus, Denmark - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Nathan and Hayley Outteridge (AUS) - Nacra 17 - Hempel Sailing World Championships - Aarhus, Denmark - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Normally this situation is very rare, but is now relatively common because of the number of established sailors opting to take a time out for various reasons, who are only now coming up against those who have been campaigning hard since 2016.

For those countries whose Olympic sailing programs run under the state-funded system, funding is automatic on the achievement of certain performance levels. The principle is common to most of the state-funded programs which also happen to be the preserve of the best performing sailing nations.

After this phase of Olympic qualification has concluded it would be expected that the resources are funnelled into that sailor or crew, who have won the 2020 Olympic place for their country, and others would be funded according to their place in the world championship.

Josh Junior (NZL) - Finn - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Josh Junior (NZL) - Finn - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

The sailors that emerge on top from the Olympic Qualification in 2018 become the “shadow” Olympic team for 2020, unless they have a serious loss of form.

What will be interesting from here on is quite how that process of natural selection plays out.

The most obvious selection question will come in the 49er class with the return of Peter Burling and Blair Tuke from Volvo Ocean Race and America's Cup duties.

In their absence, two or three other Kiwi 49er crews have been performing very well, and Logan Dunning-Beck and Oscar Gunn have really landed on their feet in this regatta. Currently they are lying second overall and have been wearing the series leaders yellow bib for most of the week.

Josh Junior (NZL) - Finn - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Josh Junior (NZL) - Finn - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark, August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

There's still seven races to be sailed in the series, but Dunning-Beck and Gunn have been very consistent - albeit with a big group close behind on the leaderboard.

Similarly in the Mixed crew Nacra 17's where the top crew Gemma Jones and Jason Saunders, who finished second in the Open Europeans in Poland two weeks ago, have had a bad run of luck in this regatta. They are currently in 26th place in the 68 boat fleet. The second-string New Zealand crew of Olivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson are lying 13th overall and 9th country with Tokyo 2020 places going to the top eight countries. Mackay and Wilkinson also have seven races to sail, including the double points scoring Medal race.

Susannah  Pyatt (NZL) - Laser RadialDay 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Susannah Pyatt (NZL) - Laser RadialDay 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Selection and Qualification issues aside, Aarhus has been notable for a big step up in the quality of sailing coverage. Event organisers in conjunction with World Sailing and Sunset+Vine have done an outstanding job thus far in providing a high-quality production, with big improvements in camera work, commentary, analysis and across all aspects - surpassing the America's Cup coverage which has always been the benchmark for the live broadcast of inshore racing.

A key part of the coverage is the ability to follow the racing live (on a separate screen/device from the Youtube coverage) using an SAP-based system Sail Track. The application uses positioning information from the boats, with wind information coming from YachtBot devices.

Zhik NZ are supporters of the NZL Sailing Team at the 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships and 2020 Olympic Qualifier, Aarhus, Denmark - photo © Sailing Energy
Zhik NZ are supporters of the NZL Sailing Team at the 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships and 2020 Olympic Qualifier, Aarhus, Denmark - photo © Sailing Energy

If you look carefully at some of the videos, you can see the black YachtBot poles on some of the race management boats. Several of the top coaches are running the YachtBot system in conjunction with the WindBot app which collects wind information from the time the boats leave the beach. In the shifting winds of Aarhus, having confidence the breeze measurements and trends must make a huge difference for coaches and competitors.

With the YachtBot technology now available and able to be carried in a compact case, it is a little hard to understand how coaches can justify using a piece of wool on a stick plus a hand bearing compass to obtain wind information at this level, let alone to retain an accurate record for review.

We hope to have a look at this in more depth in the near future. But in the meantime catch the live coverage or watch it later in the day on World Sailing's Youtube channel.

Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) 49er FX - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) 49er FX - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Follow all the racing and developments in major and local events on Sail-World.com by scrolling to the top of the site, select New Zealand, and get all the latest news and updates from the sailing world.

All stories are available on Sail-World.com/nz

Good sailing!

Richard Gladwell
NZ Editor

Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) - 49er - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Logan Dunning Beck / Oscar Gunn (NZL) - 49er - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

 
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Veerle ten Have (NZL) - RS:X - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Veerle ten Have (NZL) - RS:X - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

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Antonio Cozzolino (NZL) - RS:X - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
Antonio Cozzolino (NZL) - RS:X - Day 4 - Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus - August 2018 - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

 
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OIlivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson (NZL) drifts across the finish line - Hempel Sailing World Championships 2018 - Day 5 in Aarhus - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
OIlivia Mackay and Micah Wilkinson (NZL) drifts across the finish line - Hempel Sailing World Championships 2018 - Day 5 in Aarhus - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing

 
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Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox (NZL) - 470 - Hempel Sailing World Championships - Day 5 - Aarhus, Denmark - photo © Sailing Energy / World Sailing
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Josh Porebski and Trent Rippey (NZL) 49er - 2018 Hempel Sailing World Championships, Aarhus, Denmark - photo © Sailing Energy
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