49er and Nacra Worlds: A race to stack titles

Nova Scotia, Canada: Dejected wasn’t the right word for the look on Odile van Aanholt’s face after she missed the Gold Fleet cut at the 2020 Melbourne Worlds, it was certainly something a little angrier than that, but whatever the emotion, she went on to dominate that Silver fleet.

She took that focus and won the 2021 Worlds, surprisingly, as she had a new crew and a smile on her face each day.

Today in the dusty and sunny parking lot along the clear, cool waters of Margaret’s Bay, van Aanholt and Dutch Olympian Annette Duetz are planning on continuing their progression as a new team after winning the European Championship last month in Aarhus, Denmark.

Of the 37 FX teams competing along with the 49er and Nacra 17 fleets this week for the world championships, the Dutch pair can make history. Duetz (along with Tamara Echegoyan/Paula Barcelo, ESP) have a chance to be the first sailors to win three FX world titles. Skipper van Aanholt could tie the Spanish and Annemiek Bekkering with two wins.

“Next level for us is to get better at starts,” said van Aanholt. She said that in Denmark, they were racing really well, but always playing catch up. Duetz said it comes down to communication and her skipper said routine is the key focus for this Championship.

“I’m quite laid back, but that could get us into trouble,” said van Aanholt. “Our routine now is to set the times for things we do before the start, checking the line, testing settings. There’s a lot you can’t control when you’re fighting against nature. This you do have control of. You take that and it gives you confidence to race.”

Stacking world titles won’t be easy in this fleet with double gold medallists Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze (BRA) here.

A daily pattern has developed in the boat park with steady tinkering each morning and regimented on-water training with fresh sea breezes and multiple nations in all the classes sharing coaching resources.

St. Margaret’s Bay has reliable sea breezes and a large opening to the North Atlantic.

Looking forward to the first day of qualifying this Wednesday, meteorologist, Chelsea Frees, is forecasting strong southerlies ahead of a warm front predicted to cross the waters Wednesday night. She said the venue is unique and could dish up some aggressive sailing.

“We’re getting all kinds of local effects, geography up through the hills and these inlets,” said Frees, “so a lot of wind bending around these feature and pressure differences on the different courses.”

Racing at the World Championship runs from August 31–September 5, 2022.

All information, including results: https://49er.org/event/2022-world-championship/

Jeanneau SF30 OD
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JPK August 2023