Two major International events for the Olympic classes kick-off at the end of the week . . . The Miami World Cup and Sail Melbourne.
For British interests the Miami event, the 2nd round of the Hempel World Cup Series will only have the Team GB Olympic pair Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men’s 470. And they will face a quality fleet including all the teams that finished ahead of them at the 2019 Worlds, where they were seventh.
The men’s 470 event is one of the better attended events and will include the top three from the 2019 worlds: Australia’s Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan, Spain’s Jordi Xammar/Nicolas Rodrgiuez and Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergström.
In addition to the regular events Hempel World Cup Series Miami is hosting two events that are to be included in the Paris 2024 Games, a mixed 470 event, and a doublehanded offshore event within the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race.
More Olympic class action will be taking place in Australia, which has captured a star-studded series of world championships in what they are calling the Melbourne Summer of Sailing 2020.
The 2019 Finn Gold Cup was the opening event back in December, won by Josh Junior of New Zealand. and providing something of a ‘wake-up call’ for Britain’s Giles Scott who finished outside the podium places.
On Friday, 17 January Sail Melbourne International, Victoria’s premier event for Olympic class sailing swings into action with the Laser and Radial classes using this as a warm-up for their Worlds – the men’s Laser from 9-16 February and the women’s Radial event from 21-28 February, both at Sandringham Yacht Club.
The men’s Laser worlds will be a crucial event in the selection of the Team GB Olympic Laser competitor, thus the presence here of Elliot Hanson, Lorenzo Chiavarini, Michael Beckett and Nick Thompson, who are all still in with a chance of selection for Tokyo 2020.
Double world champion Nick Thompson turned up early and finished 5th in the Aussie Nationals last week, he is aiming to clinch a second Olympic trip, he finished sixth in Rio 2016.
No such pressure for Alison Young, already selected for Tokyo 2020. She finished 7th in the Aussie Nationals and will use Sail Melbourne to prepare for the Radial worlds, with almost identical fleets for both events.
At the same time as the Laser/Radial Worlds (8 to 15 Feb) there will be the Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX 2020 Worlds taking place accross the bay at the Royal Geelong Yacht Club racing on the flat waters of Corio Bay.
The Nacra17 event is also important for the British crews involved in the selection process for Team GB, with John Gimson and Anna Burnet going head-to-head with Ben Saxton and Nicola Boniface for the British Olympic team spot.
In the men’s 49er Worlds three British teams are entered – headed by Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell already selected for Tokyo 2020, plus Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas, and Chris Taylor and Rhos Hawes.
In the women’s 49erFX Worlds just the one British pair are entered, Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey, who are also selected for Tokyo 2020.
Just before those three world championships (30 Jan to 3 Feb) there will be the 2020 Oceania Championships for the Nacra 17, 49er, 49erFX, and most of the competitors are expected to take part as a warm-up event for the worlds.
The world class events continue with the 2020 RS:X World Championships at the Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club in Victoria, from 23 to 29 February.
British entries include the two Team GB Olympic selections, Tom Squires and Emma Wilson, plus Kieran Holmes-Martin, Andy Brown and Saskia Sills.