Nineteen Nations Take Test Event Medals
After eight days of competition the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta concluded in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with nineteen nations claiming medals. One year before the Olympic Sailing Competition the sailors showed their mettle on the race tracks that will be used at Rio 2016. Many of the test event medallists will win an Olympic medal in one year’s time, highlighting the importance of sailing’s test event.
Sailing, as a sport, depends on a number of factors and relies on the conditions that are prevalent at the time of asking, from wind speed, wind direction, tidal patterns and much more. These can change in an instance and the 326 sailors from 50 nations will walk away with key knowledge, data and lessons learnt as they spend the next 348 days preparing for what is to come.
The Men’s and Women’s 470, Finn and Nacra 17 fleets drew the competition to a close on the Pão de Açúcar race track. With Christ the Redeemer looking over the racing area and Sugarloaf Mountain standing tall the sailors enjoyed another southerly breeze ranging from 8-12 knots ensuring great racing.
Australia’s Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin claimed gold in the Nacra 17 with a complete performance across the 12 race series. The Australians finished every race within the top eight and their consistency proved to be invaluable as they won over France’s Billy Besson and Marie Riou by five points.
“This has been a really tricky week and we are super stoked,” said Waterhouse through a beaming smile. “I’m so proud of my cousin Lisa and we’ve been working to do this together for about eight years now and there’s one more goal in mind and that’s where we are heading. This is just an awesome way to end it with one year to go.”
Waterhouse and Darmanin’s multihull sailing partnership stems from the days they competed together at the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, an event they won in 2009 on Brazilian waters. Six years on and there’s another gold medal on offer in Brazil that they have their sights set on, “It’s great to win this week but we want to be winning in 348 days’ time,” commented Darmanin. “Every one of those days is going to count and we’re just going to keep working really hard to make sure we will be there then.
“We got second at the world’s this year which we were really thrilled with but we really wanted to bring home gold here on the Olympic waters. This is our first time racing in Rio and we’ve taken to it well. It’s a pretty tricky place but we’re going to be back.”
Austria’s Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank claimed a convincing Medal Race victory leading from start to finish but the performance of the day came from Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA). Over the startline as the race commenced the French duo had to get turn back with the Kiwi and German teams as their rivals gained an early advantage.
The French pair pressed hard and came through in second which handed them silver. A ninth from Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning (NED) relegated them from second to third whilst Paul Kohlhoff and Carolina Werner (GER) missed out on bronze by a single point.
The countdown to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games is now fully on.
In 348 days, 380 sailors will do battle for the ultimate honour within the sport, an Olympic gold medal.
Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition
The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition will take place at the Marina da Glória, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and will feature 380 athletes competing across ten events. Racing is scheduled to take place from 8-18 August 2016 and the competition format for all events is fleet racing.