Three Olympic medals, one gold, four world titles, America’s Cup. After an inspiring career and gold medal in the Nacra 17 at Rio in 2016, Santiago Lange is hanging up his harness. The Argentinian, with crew Victoria Travascio, is sailing his last Olympic classes race in the Mixed Multihull gold fleet races today at the Allianz Sailing World Championships.
Missing qualification for tomorrow’s medal race, Lange has been his country’s biggest sailing star for decades and has helped the Nacra fleet mature into one of the most prestigious at the Games. Lange hands the torch to the young Mateo Majdalani/Eugenia Bosco who will represent Argentina in the medal race.
Paris 2024 national qualification spots have been determined for 37 national teams at the close of gold fleets racing for all four classes holding their medal race tomorrow. Country qualifications from the Allianz Sailing World Championships will be confirmed by World Sailing after Sunday’s final medal race.
It is the big day in Braassemermeer for the last race of all para classes. The 2.4m first started at 2pm, thought the medals are more or less or set regardless of this final race, sailors could enjoy the utmost without any more pressure. German Heiko Kroger is the 2023 world champion, a record 10th world title under his belt. In the RS Venture Connect fleet, Frenchmen Ange Margaron and Oliver Ducruix won their first world champion title with a race to spare, but still had a second finish in today’s race.
The most exciting race of the day was from Hansa 303 women’s group. US’s Betsy Alison showed her rich experience in one to one match racing, didn’t give her Polish rival Olga Gornas-Grudzien a slight chance to steal her gold medal. In the Hansa 303 men’s class, the first and second overall were already sealed by Piotr Cichocki from Poland and Takumi Niwa from Japan without the need to sail the final race. The first para world championships being included in the Olympic classes showed a great success about inclusivity. Sending the positive message out loud to the whole world that sailing is a great sport.
The Olympic classes decided three world champions before tomorrow’s medal race, in the 470 mixed dinghy, the 49erFX women’s skiff and the 49er men’s skiff.
The 49er FX women’s skiff is the first fleet where the championship was decided in the last gold fleet race. Sweden’s Vilma Bobeck/Rebecca Netzler won gold ahead of medal race with a remarkable 56-point lead. The 49er men’s skiff is another story. Tuesday’s gold fleet race saw the Spanish [Diego Botin/Florian Trittel] and Dutch [Bart Lambriex/Floris van de Werken] virtually glued to each other around the course. Today, Lambriex/van de Werken turned a .2 deficit into a more than 20 point lead to clinch the gold before medal race.
Two Japanese teams have made it into the top three before the 470 mixed dinghy medal race with Keiju Okada/Miho Yoshioka adding enough points on second place to win the championship outright heading into the medal race. The mixed dinghy is a new event that has women and men in the same boat, the medal race split today was heartbreak today for Swedish Olympic medalists Anton Dahlberg and his crew Lovisa Karlsson who are consoled by the fact that they qualified their nation for Paris 2024 regatta. In the ultra-fast foiling classes, the top spots have just become tighter leading into the Nacra mixed multihull meal race. Current Olympic champions Italy’s Ruggero Tita/Caterina Banti have hold a tentative lead as the top three have a solid buffer on the rest of the medal race group. The iQFOiL women and men are reaching the highest level yet seen as the sailors aim for their first Olympic Games. Britain’s Emma Wilson continues to lead China’s Zheng Yen.
Same for the Formula Kite. Even though the class has been racing for a decade, national support has dumped resources and coaching into the mix for this mostly young group that has come from outside the sailing universe. The ILCA 6 and 7 women’s and men’s dinghy, the oldest design, has the highest concentration of Olympians at the championship and both gold and silver fleets in the class held three races. Maria Erdi [HUN] narrowly leads over Emma Plasschaert [BEL] while Michael Beckett [GBR] holds pole position ahead of Matt Wearn [AUS] with 15 points advantage. Racing went live today on the World Sailing YouTube channel in The Hague with the Para Sailing World Championships. The live coverage continues through the last medal race on Sunday.