Tita/Banti Complete Season Sweep - South America Grab Critical Olympic Berths
The Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018 drew to a close on Sunday.
“The city of Aarhus has really come alive over the last 11 days,” Kim Andersen, the president of World Sailing said. “Thousands of people have shown their support, enjoyed the sailing spectacle and the onshore activities.
“It’s been a truly fabulous event and as World Sailing President and a proud Dane, I could not be any happier.”
The greatest gift from the Danes and their 1,100 amazing volunteers was that they provided the perfect stage for the sailors to showcase their talents. New stars have emerged and old ones returned. The week has been graced by many great performances, from dramatic capsizes in the 49erFX and the rise of the Fantela brothers in the 49er, Zsombor Berecz’s tears as he crossed the line to win the Finn and Hungary’s first gold at a quadrennial World Championships.
Catch the Windy Gold Fleet Race that was Broadcast
The top four boats in this mixed crew foiling cat class were separated by just six points. The pre-race favourites, Italy’s Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti were just one point clear of the exciting newcomers, Australia’s brother and sister Team Outteridge, Nathan and Haylee. Argentina’s Rio 2016 Olympic champions, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, were two points further back. And that’s they finished.
Spare a thought for Denmark’s Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lübeck in fourth – three points off the bronze.
For the Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, their partnership with the start of foiling in the Nacra 17 has been almost impecable. Back to back European titles, Back to back World Cup winners, they were only missing the World Championship.
In 2017, they were in a 3 way tie for the World Title when they fouled Iker Martinez at the top mark, ruining both their chances and his. This year, after a 3 win start on day one, it seemed like their chances might be derailed again after a poor second day saw them with a DSQ and a deep finish.
But they thrived in the gold fleet, had only good races, and narrowly won the World Title after the medal race was cancelled due to a lack of wind.
Another fight taking place of the week was the battle for country spots in Tokyo. There are 20 places available for Tokyo 2020, and besides Europe the second largest contingent of sailors comes from the America’s. There are 11 nations in the America’s racing the nacra 17, which means the final qualification round via Continental Qualifier holds greater importance.
For a while it looked like South America might qualify 3 nations, but in the end Uruguay dropped down the rankings a bit, but with both Argentina and Brazil qualifying this round it should relieve a bit of the log jam for Olympic qualification.
|Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti – Argentina – Nacra 17 (gold)
Tita: “We’re so happy! It’s been an incredible season. We’ve won so many events. I personally really like the new foiling Nacra and I think Banti can say the same. The speed and new discoveries of sailing is really interesting and the more interest I have in the boat, the better I can sail it.
“It’s about training hard but most importantly, good communication between the team. You must be able to read each other.
Banti: “It was a long championship. We started really well but then we dropped out a couple of spots, but during the final series, we managed to come back on top. It’s a honour to the World Championship and it feels so good because of the hard work we have put in over the year.
“We have been sailing together for one and a half years now. Ruggero was sailing the 49er and I was sailing the old Nacra 17, and he wanted to try the new Nacra 17 foiling, and that’s when we decided to compete in it and now we have won the Worlds. We don’t regret it.”
Nathan and Haylee Outteridge – Australia – Nacra 17 (silver)
Nathan: “It’s a strange feeling not to do a medal race when you spend two days preparing for it. I think we can be really proud of what we’ve achieved in the last six months. It’s our third event, we were ninth at Kiel and ninth at the Europeans. It’s been a big jump up.”
Haylee: “I think we were a little bit disappointed. We didn’t have a whole lot to lose because we didn’t expect to be on the podium, so we were ready to go for it. But silver is still beyond our expectations.”
Santiago Lange – Argentina – Nacra 17 (bronze)
“It’s not so easy to be able to finish a world championship without the ability to fight for gold. Congratulations to the Italians, they’ve worked hard for this and they did an awesome job.
“We sail all week to win it and when I look back at my races, it was so close on points. We were a little behind at the start of the competition and we knew that today was our chance to get win it back. We’re fighters and we wanted to fight for gold, but we didn’t get the chance, it’s mother nature and it’s the beauty of our sport, we have to accept that.
“Next season is also a big season for us, so we hope to get better and just continue to improve.”
By Matthew Pryor
|Countries Qualifying for Tokyo in Nacra 17
6. Great Britain
8. New Zealand
The Nacra 17 fleet had 27 nations represented across 68 boats.
|The 2018 Hempell Sailing World Championship in Aarhus. Follow all the action via the event website – 49er.org – nacra17.org
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