With some medals dished out in the sailing competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games, other battles are raging as the sailing nears completion in Enoshima.
Men’s Skiff – 49er
No one had it easy in the 49er today, but Pete Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) did enough to move four points clear at the top of the scoreboard.
Unlike Rio 2016 where the Kiwis locked up Gold before the Medal Race, they’ll be facing a scrap with the likes of Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell (GBR) in second place. The latter are on equal on points with Diego Botin and Iago Marra (ESP).
Also, on equal points, but 10 points back from Bronze, are the German and Danish teams who will be looking to spoil the podium party on Monday.
“I think we had a really tough day,” smiled Fletcher. “But I think everyone thought it was. And, you know, sometimes you expect a bit more of a tail-off at the end of the week of the Olympics, but everyone was just on it and fighting for every point out there.
“It was a bit of a relief to get through the day and be only a few points behind the reigning Olympic champions.”
Women’s Skiff – 49erFX
Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke (GER) sailed around all the potholes and landmines on the 49erFX course to come through with scores of 7,3,3. This lifts the Germans to third overall, three points off the lead shared by two high-class teams.
Holding top spot are the double World Champions Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz (NED) who sit on equal points with reigning Olympic Champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).
The reigning World Champions from Spain, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo, had a difficult day in the lighter breeze and have dropped to fourth overall, but still only seven points off the lead.
Like the 49er, this is going to be a tense Medal Race on Monday afternoon, as Beucke acknowledged today: “I think we went a bit too conservative into the regatta and kind of realised we have got to be very aggressive until the end.
“That’s what we did today. And I think that’s what we’re going to do in the Medal Race as well, because it’s all about coming home with the medal or nothing. It’s going to be exciting.”
Men’s Heavyweight One Person Dinghy – Finn
Josh Junior (NZL) hauled himself back into medal consideration with the best day and scores of 1,4. He’s now in fifth place, two points behind Nicholas Heiner (NED).
Zsombor Berecz holds third place for Hungary and is now just three points behind Joan Cardona (ESP) in second.
Giles Scott (GBR) had another solid day despite the light and fickle breeze. His scores of 6,1 put the 2016 Olympic champion ahead by six points, with two more races to run before the Medal Race.
Cardona commented, “I’m really happy to be in second right now. I didn’t have my best day today, but I’m sure tomorrow will be better. I think I came here really well prepared and I’m looking forward to a really nice battle.”
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) needed a good day to haul themselves back into medal contention and the Rio Olympic silver medallists sailed to 1,5,4 and into fourth overall. They’re now just three points off third place held by Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer (GER).
Eight points further ahead, thanks in part to a final race win today, are the reigning world champions from Great Britain, John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR).
Still hardly putting a foot wrong and coming through the day unspectacularly but unscathed, are the Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti who are becoming very attached to their yellow bibs.
Tita refused to be complacent, “I think it’s still a long way to go. We have three more races and a lot of points to come. Tomorrow we will be on Enoshima race course for three key races, so a lot of water to pass under the boat yet.”
Sunday 1 August the Laser and Laser Radial fleets will fight it out in their Medal Race.
The Finn and Nacra 17 will conclude their Opening Series and the Men’s and Women’s 470 will return to the water.
Enjoying a rest day ahead of their Medal Races are the 49er and 49erFX fleets.
Andy Rice – World Sailing