“Game on” for national selection
Australians siblings Nathan and Haylee Outteridge continue to show their mettle, moving into the top spot in the Nacra 17. Their national teammates, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS), are also vying for a country spot for Tokyo 2020 and closing in at this world championship, now third overall.
Sandwiched between the two country contenders are the Brits, John Gimson and Anna Burnet.
“Our aim was to continue our form from earlier in the week. We are targeting top eights around the first top mark and working forward from there. All the training we’ve been doing is starting to pay off. We are feeling really comfortable and happy it’s all coming together,” Nathan Outteridge, Olympic 49er gold medallist and America’s Cup sailor said on the beach at Geelong after racing.
Rio 2016 silver medallists Waterhouse and Darmanin have edged closer to their teammates but remain separated from them by a whole bunch of points. “We had a better day than yesterday – we were starting better and making smarter decisions. We had a little issue with one of our fellow countrymen tacking on top of us too closely. They have shown their cards and I think we can expect a good game in the next couple of days. Gloves are off, let’s do this,” Darmanin said.
Italian selectors are in a similar position to the Australians, two worthy teams – current world champions Vittoria Bissaro and Maelle Frascari and the 2018 world and European champions Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti – hoping to impress.
So far it’s Bissaro and Frascari who have this regatta, fourth versus 17th with two days of racing remaining. Tita/Banti were having a fantastic penultimate race of the day, in the lead around the leeward marks until they suffered a mechanical issue. They were forced to limp around the course for the final lap, finishing 12th while Bissaro/Frascari were back in 25th. It was yet another challenge for Tita/Banti, who are dozens of points behind their teammates in this critical selection battle.
The Nacra 17 fleet of 34 will be whittled down to 10 teams for the medal race on Saturday February 15, 2020
Second by two points in the 49erFX is Spain’s Tamara Echegoyen, the 2016 World Champion and Rio 2016 Olympian with a different crew, and Paula Barcelo. The duo sailed through injury at the 2019 worlds and suffered, only managing a silver fleet finish. With the pressure of the Spanish trials on, these champions are in contention for the lead and are looking to give the Spanish selectors a hard choice.
“It’s important [being a world championship] but we have to think more than this,” Echegoyen said after racing. “It’s really good training with the best teams looking for the next Olympics. We need to do a good championship, it gives us confidence in our work and for sure we will fight every day. We just go to the water, do our race and try to learn from our mistakes. And have fun.”
In a similar situation is Anne-Julie Schutt and Iben Nielsby (DEN). They are in a tight domestic selection fight for the second straight Olympiad, and continue to sail at the highest level.
With a one point lead in the 49erFX are Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR). Dobson said, “We had a really good day. We keep finding some space and manging to be fast enough to end up with three top threes. I don’t know what we are doing right to be honest.”
The final men’s 49er race is yet to finish.
The live telecast continues on Friday February 14. Join us from 1100hrs (AEDT) to watch all the action.