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16-21 November 2021 / Oman

2021 World Championship

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Tita and Banti (ITA) on the reach leg in full control.

It was not meant to go like this. The Nacra 17 fleet is an assembly of incredibly experienced, accomplish, and on form sailors and the title was meant to be wide open. After the opening series of twelve races held in a full variety of conditions, the Italian team of Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti have dominated. The pair have only 23 points counting from 11 races, averaging just over 2 points per race. By contrast, the joint leaders in the 49erFX are tied on 70 points heading into the medal race.

The Italian pair were impressive in the powered-up conditions to start the regatta over the first two days. They have been fantastic in wavy and windy conditions all quad, so there remained doubt as to whether they could keep up the pressure. The wind backed off over the recent two days of qualifying, but the Italians surged even farther forward and finished the regattas with a 3, 2, 2, 1, 2 over the last five races to build a twelve-point lead over Britain’s John Gimson and Anna Burnett.

Tita and Banit (ITA) silky smooth on the hoist

The Italian pair, made of a converted 49er helm and a converted laser radial crew have shown they have every tool available to them. Silky smooth boat handling, good starts with plenty of savvy when necessary, good boatspeed on the unwinds, and blinding speed on the downwind, if there is a fault in their sailing game is has yet to be found in Tokyo.

For all their prowess and incredible scoreline, the Italians have not yet secured gold. While they cannot fall worse than Silver, John Gimson and Anna Burnett (GBR) are themselves having an incredible Olympic regatta. They sit twelve points behind the Italians and could yet win it all if the medal race falls their way. The British pair have won three races and had three, second place finishes as well. Their worst race is a 10th and they have only 35 points over 11 counting races. In most regattas and most fleets this would put them into a comfortable lead, but with the Italians sailing even better, they are more likely to settle for silver.

Gimson and Burnett (GBR) fending off the challenge from Cenholt and Lubeck (DEN)

The British pair also had to deal with an occasionally aggressive Italian team in the final few races. With the Italian’s sporting an eighth as a drop, it made sense they might try to push the British team back in a race to try and get a few extra points ahead in the medal race.

This starting line combat was in race 11, and despite the pre-race hijinx between the two teams, they are such the class of the field that they still ended up 1 and 2 in the race. They simply are too fast for the remainder of the feet to sail their way back into overall contention.

Gimson is 38 years old and is in his first games while Burnett is in her twenties and also in her first games. Gimson has had a 16-year Odessy chasing the games between the Tornado class, Star Class, and now Nacra 17 Class. He’s put in his time and shown his tenacity and love for the sport. Despite missing games selection behind a very tough British Sailing team line-up, they are assured to get a medal so long as they are not disqualified from the medal race.

The Chasing Pack

Paul Kohlhoff with Alica Stuhlemmer (GER) have a seven point lead over defending Silver medalists Jason Waterhouse with Lisa Darmanin (AUS). The Germans are also only 12 points behind the British so could also move up to Silver if things break their way. The pair are one of the youngest teams in the Nacra 17 fleet and have also been somewhat of heavy air specialists. They won a windy Kiel week in 2019, but otherwise only featured at the front of the fleet in windier conditions. The extra year of preparation has shown they’ve picked up lighter air skills as well, and have sailed well on each day so far in the competition.

The Aussies are the only medaling team from Rio that have a chance to repeat. A seven-point deficit in a medal race is a doable chase, and they will be highly motivated after being relegated to training domestically since covid locked down the World. While teams like the British and Italians trained together, and the Spanish and Danish trained together, the Australians sailed almost exclusively against their up and coming domestic teammates, with the occasional training camp with the New Zealanders and didn’t get a single important competition in since the World Championship in February 2020.

The Spanish team of Tara Pacheco with Florian Tritell are in fifth and have a fifteen point deficit to third. Sixth is Lin Cenholt with CP Lubeck (DEN) who are a further four points behind. These two teams have been training together and represent the highest placing female-helmed teams in the Olympic fleet. The Danish had a fantastic final day of the opening series scoring a 1, 3, 1 on the back of great starts and elite speed around the course in the middle power conditions.

Cenholt and Lubeck (DEN) celebrate another race win at Tokyo 2020.

2016 Rio Gold medalists Santi Lange and Cecilia Saroli (ARG) will not get the fairy tale ending again as they’re in seventh place and outside the medal hunt, points-wise. Still a great result for Santi, who has children older than the German team he is chasing and the American team chasing him.

Medal Race

Stay tuned for the medal race via the Nacra 17 Olympic page for full results, photos, and start times.

Perched on the southeast coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the Sultanate of Oman’s stark beauty and vastly contrasting landscapes have enchanted growing numbers of tourists each year.  With its magnificent desert, secret oases and  breathtaking mountain ranges, Oman is an alluring destination. A tropical underwater paradise lies beneath the turquoise sea, caressing the white sandy beaches that adorn the country’s stunning 3,165 km coastline.  

Alongside this natural wealth is Oman’s rich culture, which blends with modern infrastructure and historical features that span over 7,000 years. Grand forts, exquisite palaces and mystical souqs are sights to behold in the capital, Muscat. A visit to Oman makes you feel right at home from the time you arrive, until the moment you leave. The Sultanate is full of opportunities for adventure, including fascinating tours with an Arabian flavour.  

Oman’s coastline is a paradise for explorers. Its abundance of wildlife includes whales, dolphins, turtles, seahorses, and flamingos. Underwater, its incredible marine life is found close to the water’s surface.  

 

 

 

The mountains cover approximately 15% of the country’s land mass. Oman’s main mountain range is the 10,000 foot Al Hajar, which runs from Musandam in the North to the extreme limit of the Arabian Peninsula, Ras Al Had.  

 

 

Sands and deserts occupy the remaining area; these include two large sand deserts – The Wahiba Sands known as Rimalat Al Wahiba and part of the Empty Quarter (Rub Al Khali). Here you can learn about Bedouin culture, camp under a dome of stars and experience the beauty of dawn in the desert.

Oman is known for its tropical climate whilst still subject to seasonal changes. From October through April, the Sultanate offers a lovely climate, with an average temperature of 23 degrees C. Combined with welcoming hospitality, warm seas and stunning landscapes, you can see why tourism in Oman is a growing industry.

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