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agosto 17, 2016 - World Sailing

49erFX Women to debut alongside the 49er Men + How to follow race day #5

Comunicato Stampa disponibile solo in lingua originale. 

Find out what's on the agenda at the Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing #competition today and find out further information on how to follow the racing, watch the tracking, download imagery and follow #worldsailing on social media.

We've already seen the debut of one new Olympic #event, the Mixed Multihull - Nacra 17. Today it's the turn of the Women's Skiff to burst on to the Olympic stage.

Since Sydney 2000 the Men's Skiff has lit up the track and now the girls get their turn too on the 49erFX. It's the same equipment as the men use, except the mast is a little shorter and the sail area a little smaller, although the 49erFX is not significantly slower than the full-size rig used by the men.

Meanwhile it's back to business in all the other events, with the exception of the Mixed Multihull and the Finn fleet with the Heavyweight Men getting a well-earned day's rest after two physically exhausting day's racing out on the big ocean swell courses.

The forecast suggests a lighter day of wind, with ten knots from the south-west offering a gentle start for the Skiff fleets. It's been cloudy and a bit drizzly this morning but that is set to clear by the time #competition starts at 1300 hours.

Men's Skiff - 49er  

Now we get to see if Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) can fulfil their immense promise in the 49er skiff, a fleet the Kiwi friends have dominated since taking the silver medal at London 2012. Over the past four years the New Zealanders have gone undefeated in any major #competition, winning four world titles on the trot. The only thing missing from the cabinet is an Olympic gold medal, and they're out to take the title from their former training partners, the London 2012 champions Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS). The Australians did manage to beat the Kiwis at the South American Championships a few weeks ago, and Outteridge is drawing great strength from that small victory, along with some important time away from sailing "to reset the mind and the body", he says.

So, with the fight for gold be a two-horse race? Let's not forget the 49ers are about to contest their first three heats of 12 qualifying races on the notoriously fickle Pão de Açucar (Sugarloaf Mountain) race course, before the top ten compete for the medals on the very same race course next Thursday 18 August. Among a number of others with a realistic shot at the podium are the 2008 Olympic Champion Jonas Warrer (DEN) now sailing with Christian Peter Lubeck. Spain's rising stars Diego Botin and Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) are ones to watch, along with one of the oldest teams who came agonisingly close to a bronze medal four years ago at London 2012, Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch who will be making their fourth Olympic appearance for Austria.

Women's Skiff – 49erFX

In complete contrast to the Men's 49er, there is no stand-out favourite for gold in the brand new Women's Skiff fleet. The past 49erFX World Championships have been won by New Zealand (2013), Brazil (2014), Italy (2015) and Spain (2016). All four of the teams that won these world titles are competing at Rio 2016, and all remain world-class contenders for the podium. Home waters advantage will be with Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) who have perhaps been the most consistent performers across the past four years. Grael is also daughter of Olympic legend and five-time medallist Torben, and living across Guanabara Bay in Niterói will make the team feel very at home on these tricky waters.

The London 2012 Olympic Champion in women's match racing, Spanish helm Tamara Echegoyen clearly has the temperament for the big occasion and with powerful crew Berta Betanzos they looked unstoppable in the strong winds of the 2016 World Championship in Florida earlier this year. They've been working hard on their light-airs speed, but the Italian World Champions of 2015, Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich, are perhaps a stronger all-round package.

Although they haven't won a world title, Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) are current European champions and had to fight hard for Danish selection. They could be ones to watch, as could the British and Argentinean crews. The 49erFX fleet gets racing today on the Aeroporto race course.

Women's Two Person Dinghy - 470

The 470 Women contest two heats on the Escola Naval course today. The racing should prove quite a contrast from the previous day's high winds and massive waves, with shiftier, flat water racing on the cards.

The defending Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) lead the way ahead of Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) just two points behind New Zealand. Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) will be looking to make amends for yesterday's capsize while leading a race, and the Brits sit in third on equal points with the reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA).

The 2014 and 2015 World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) need to have a good day if they're to fight back from their current position of eighth overall.

Men's Two Person Dinghy - 470

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) are proving to be the masters of all conditions that Rio can throw at them, whether it's the fluky stuff of day one or the apocalyptic storm of day two. The reigning World Champions appear to have the measure of the Australians who have dominated the Men's 470 for the past seven years. That said, the reigning Olympic Champion Mat Belcher and Olympic rookie Will Ryan (AUS) are only three points off the lead. Breathing down their necks are Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE). The 470 Men contest two heats on Escola Naval course today.

Men's Windsurfer - RS:X

Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) holds an eight-point lead over Nick Dempsey (GBR). This looks set to be a rematch of London 2012, with the Olympic Champion holding the edge over the 2012 silver medallist. But the reigning World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL) sits in third overall and will be looking to spoil the Dutch and Brit party.  These top three have broken away from the rest of the pack, with fourth-placed Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) now 16 points off the podium. The Men's Windsurfers will be looking forward to a bit of wave action out on the Niterói course, where they're down for three races.

Women's Windsurfer - RS:X

Can reigning Olympic Champion Marina Alabau (ESP) continue her momentum from a great day on Thursday? The Spanish veteran sits just outside the podium in fourth place but the points gap is small. Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) survived an overnight protest to hold the lead by a single point from Charline Picon (FRA) and Stefania Elfutina (RUS) who sit on equal points. This is the first time the RS:X women will be competing on one of the ocean courses, with three heats scheduled on Niterói.

Women's One Person Dinghy - Laser Radial

Annalise Murphy (IRL) holds the overall lead, although she's mindful of having been here before as the Irish sailor led for much of London 2012 only to end up in fourth overall. So Murphy is taking nothing for granted, and looks good in all conditions. Today the racing takes place on Copacabana, with the potential for big waves which should suit Murphy. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) sits just a point off the lead, and just two points off the top is the London 2012 silver medallist, Marit Bouwmeester (NED). Early series leader was the reigning Olympic Champion Lijia Xu (CHN), who didn't fare so well in the big waves two days ago. But it's set to be a bit lighter today so the Chinese sailor could be dangerous.

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