Genoa gearing up for Hempel World Cup Series debut
|The Italian city of Genoa is preparing to host over 700 sailors between 15-21 April 2019 for the first ever Hempel World Cup Series regatta to be held in the country. |
The Fiera di Genova, which hosts the International Boat Show every year, will welcome world class sailors across eight of the ten Olympic events.
Racing in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 will commence on Monday 15 April and conclude on the 20th. Meanwhile, the 470s, Laser, Laser Radial and Finn will start on Tuesday 16 April and wrap up on the final Sunday, the 21st.
Medal Races on the 20th and 21st will be streamed live on World Sailing’s YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv.
Home nation hopes will be firmly pinned on 2018 World Champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti who will spearhead a highly-competitive 49-boat Nacra 17 fleet.
Tita and Banti dominated 2018: they won gold at the European Championship and at the World Cup Final in Marseille, before heading to the Hempel Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018 where they clinched their first world title. At the recent Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar, however, the pair finished outside of the top three for the first time in 18 months. Proof that they can indeed be beaten to a podium spot – but they’ll surely be determined to put things right on their home waters.
Aiming to upset the favourites will be compatriots Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari (ITA). The duo took silver at the World Cup Final in Marseille and followed it up with bronze in Enoshima at the end of last year. Neither of the Italian crews were present in Miami but, with a silver medal at Trofeo Princesa Sofia under their belt, Bissaro and Frascari will be pushing their Italian team-mates all the way on their home patch.
Two British teams will also be eyeing success in Genoa. World #3 Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface (GBR) and World #4 John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) are consistently at the front of the fleet and will be targeting the podium.
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS), gold medallists at the opening two rounds of the Hempel World Cup Series in Enoshima and Miami, will miss out on Genoa following an injury sustained on their way to victory at Trofeo Princesa Sofia.
The 49er and 49erFX fleets will feature 66 and 51 boats respectively and will be hotly-contested on the Genovese waters – with a familiar fight in the 49erFX.
Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze are on a run of five straight victories and are currently undefeated in the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series.
They clinched gold back in September on the Tokyo 2020 Olympic waters and swiftly followed up with another in January’s Miami sunshine. It wasn’t all smooth sailing in the US for the Brazilians, as they were initially off the pace against New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, but they overcame a huge deficit in the Medal Race to upset the odds.
The Brazilian and New Zealand rivalry goes back to Rio 2016, where Grael and Kunze clinched gold by just two seconds in the Medal Race. On the road to Tokyo, there is very little separating the two teams, and Genoa will no doubt throw out another compelling narrative in the latest showdown between the Brazilians and the Kiwis.
In the 49er, Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) make their first World Cup appearance for three years, having only returned to the 49er in January. The Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists claimed America’s Cup glory together in 2017, then became rivals in The Ocean Race in 2017/18. They finished seventh at a fiercely-contested Trofeo Princesa Sofia and, as they continue to blow away the cobwebs, they’ll fancy their chances of a medal in Genoa.
2018 World Champions Sime and Mihovil Fantela (CRO) will be part of the fleet in Genoa, as will strong teams from Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden and the USA.
The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 will commence racing first of all on Monday 15 April at 11:00 local time, sailing in split fleets.
Medal Races will start on Saturday 20 April with the podium places to be decided in the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 first before the remaining fleets are decided the day after.
All races will be broadcast live on World Sailing’s YouTube Channel – www.youtube.com/worldsailingtv.
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