With the end of the Europe Olympic classes championship season, focus now switches to the Enoshima, Japan sailing events in July and August 2019.
In the European Championship events just completed – which attracted world-wide entries due to the Tokyo 2020 effect – Britain came out strongly with four gold and five silver on European entrant only results.
This drops back to two gold, three silver and three bronze when the Open (rest of world) competitor results are factored in.
GBR European Championship positions (Open positions in brackets):
Finn – gold (1st)
Laser Men – gold, silver (3rd, 5th)
Nacra 17 – gold, silver (1st, 2nd)
49er Men – gold, silver (2nd, 3rd)
470 Women – silver (2nd)
RS:X Women – silver (3rd)
Radial Women – 4th (4th)
49erFX Women – 5th (7th)
470 Men – 11th (14th)
RS:X Men – 11th (12th)
This broadly reflects the world cup rankings for the British competitors involved and the weaknesses that we highlighted there.
Ready Steady Tokyo Sailing, Enoshima, is the final Tokyo 2020 Test Event, and potentially the more important event for the British Sailing Team.
Entry for this has to be made by the 15 June, and is overseen by the RYA Olympic Selection Committee (OSC*) who have been monitoring the performance of the eligible candidates over the recent events.
To highlight the importance of selection for the final test event . . . of the ten crews who were selected for the Rio final test event, eight went on to the actual Games where they won 2 gold and a silver.
Of the two crews who were replaced neither of the substitutes made the podium.
Although there are important world championships for the 470, Laser and Radial before the Enoshima Test event, they take place after the entry deadline for entries to be declared.
Thus selection for the final Enoshima Test event must be based on performance at the events already sailed to date. Basically the completed Europeans and the earlier World Cup and Mallorca Olympic classes regatta.
The RYA Olympic Selection Committee has not released its selection criteria so we have to guess just what events they are monitoring and what weight they are applying to them.
There is one more World Cup event, the World Cup 2019 Finals in Marseille from June 2 to 9, but that might be considered too late. Although in the case of some difficult choices the OSC could hold back until after that event, but entry for Marseille seems patchy.
Other factors are event clashes. Top 49er pair Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell are campaigning in the Cowes SailGP mutihull event just days before the Enoshima Test event.
Events can of course be considered after the Test event, and there are later major events for the Olympic classes, the 470 Worlds in Japan in early August, the RS:X Worlds in Italy in September and the Finn, 49er, FX and Nacra Worlds down-under in December 2019.
For the 2016 Rio Games the first confirmed sailing selections were made in the September of 2015 and the final four selections named in May 2016.
Actual competitor entry deadline for the Tokyo Games is not until 6 July 2020.
* Note: The OSC is charged with the Selection of Athletes to represent the British Sailing Team at the Olympic Games.
The OCS comprises of: Jarrod Simpson (Chair) Rob Andrews, Sarah Gosling, Saskia Clark, Lucy Macgregor, Leigh McMillan, Ian Walker (RYA Staff Member) Mark Robinson (RYA Staff Member) and Carla Stanley.