America’s Cup sailors have proved once again to be at the top level of the sport of sailing winning two golds and one bronze at the Tokyo Olympic Test Event in Japan and, if history can be trusted, the outcome of competition at Enoshima is a good indicator of how the medal challengers will fare at next year’s Olympic Games.
Emirates Team New Zealand’s sailors and 2016 Rio Gold medallists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won the gold medal in the 49ers with an 11-point advantage. Ruggero Tita of Luna Rossa Prada Pirelli Team and his bow, who had topped the Nacra fleet all week long, finished fourth in the Medal Race to get gold by 12 points.
The medal race of the Finn Class was abandoned because of insufficient wind and INEOS TEAM UK’s and Olympic Finn Champion Giles Scott had to settle for closing the event with the bronze medal. Andy Maloney of Emirates Team New Zealand followed in 4th position.
Enoshima, the venue for the 2020 Olympic Sailing Regatta – which was also the venue for the 1964 Olympics – displayed a variety of conditions throughout the week of racing providing the sailors with plenty of experience for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in one year’s time. From the strong breeze and big waves of the first day to the light and unstable winds of the second day, requiring the sailors to adapt quickly in order to maintain consistency.
With a total of 363 sailors from 47 nations – among those 30 individual medallists from Rio 2016, as well as an additional 11 from London 2012 – an extremely high level of competition was guaranteed and the event was made even more fierce by the fact that, for many nations and athletes, it meant the qualification for Tokyo 2020.
With the Test Event now over the focus for the sailors who are squeezing in a Tokyo 2020 Olympic Campaign alongside their America’s Cup commitments will shift again to their America’s Cup teams as the launch of the first generation of AC75 is just around the corner…