Following the recent 470 and RS:X Championships, the 49er and Nacra 17 are the next Olympic classes to get back into international competitive action.
Lanzarote in the Canary Islands is running a regatta between the 19 and 26 March for the 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 classes, which also will be the European and African continental qualification regatta for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games.
This regatta is organized by the Canary Islands Sailing Federation and Marina Rubicon, with the support of the Canary Islands Government. The schedule provides around 15 races plus Medal Races on three different Racing Areas.
British Sailing Team members are expected to be among the 120 crews from 31 countries taking part, including Team GB Olympic competitors, Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (49erFX) and Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell (49er).
Fleets are looking strong with 50 entries in each of the 49er fleets and 20+ in the Nacra fleet.
With the cancellation of the Princess Sofia Regatta in Mallorca, the Heyeres Regatta in France and now the postponement of Kiel Week to September, this quickly organised Lanzarote regatta is now an important pre-olympic event.
Not just for the last few Tokyo qualification places, but as a major tune-up event after so many championships and regattas were cancelled in 2020, and are still being cancelled and rescheduled in 2021.
As British Team GB squad members found at the recent 470 Worlds and RS:X Europeans in Portugal, despite having been able to continue training through most of the Covid-19 lockdowns, it can take a while to regain that competitive edge.
There are a rush of Olympic class championships coming up through April and May that will attract top class fleets before they head off to Enoshima for the Tokyo Games starting in late July.
As well as the constantly changing Covid restrictions effecting events and travel logistics, there are a number of major events – America’s Cup and SailGP – that involve Olympic competitors and have effected their ability to train and compete in their regular classes.
What effect this will have on the Olympic results will be seen in four months time.