van Aanholt and Duetz in sync for win)
A Double Dutch defense of skiff titles
Odile van Aanholt and Annette Duetz (NED) have secured the 2022 49erFX World Championship. In the medal race the Dutch pair outdueled the Swedish challenge from Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE) who took the silver. Twice winners of the 49erFX World Championship from Spain, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barcelo (ESP) took the bronze medal.
There was only a five point gap between the protagonist teams at the start of the medal race, but the Swedish got caught out by a sudden left-hand windshift with just 5 seconds to the start gun. What had been a perfectly judged approach to win the pin end of the line turned into a Swedish scramble to gybe around and salvage some kind of start behind the fleet on port tack. The damage was done and it proved impossible for the young Swedes to mount a comeback in the light winds. We caught up with the Swedes after the race and they described their state of varied emotions in winning silver.
Van Aanholt and Duetz maintained their composure to move all the way up the fleet to third in the medal race, and the overall result was never close after the first mark.
Van Aanholt won both the 2021 World and European titles, each with different crews but paired up with Duetz to start the 2022 season. With this victory, van Aanholt repeats as world champion while Duetz wins her third 49erFX world title, the most of any sailor. The Dutch pair were thrilled with their victory.
Bart Lambriex, Floris van der Werken, Rick Peacock (coach) and Arnaud Hummer (Dutch head coach).Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken (NED) have secured their second straight 49er world title. The Dutch pair had a strong scoreline heading into the final race, making their lead mathematically insurmountable.
Attention in Sunday afternoon's 10-boat medal race turned to the battle for silver and bronze. The outcome was uncertain until the end, but Diego Botin and Florian Trittel (ESP) did just enough to win silver by 2 points, with Croatian brothers Sime and Miho Fantela (CRO) grabbing the bronze in a tense fight with New Zealand and Poland.
After completing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic campaign, Lambriex went his separate ways with former crew Pim van Vugt to team up with van der Werken. They have since gone on to win the 2021 world title in Oman and now in Nova Scotia in 2022. The Dutch showed few weaknesses on St Margarets Bay, sailing incredibly consistently across a broad range of conditions.
Can they go on to be as dominant as Pete Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) who retired from 49er competition after six world titles and a gold and two silver medals at three successive Olympic Regattas? Too early to tell, and there are plenty of high quality teams breathing down their necks, not least the Spanish and Croatians who scooped the other medals in Nova Scotia.
The story of the 2022 World Championships in Halifax was easily that Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti won 14 of 16 fleet races winning the title before the medal race. It can't be denied that, as Australian coach Darren Bundock put it, the pairing is a "class above" the rest of the world.
"Today there wasn't much emotion," said Banti, after being hugged by competitors. "We knew we had the championship. We have just been focusing on enjoying our race."
Silver medalists Ugolini & Giubilei, who have been second now in two world championships in a row, certainly have made a step closer to this excellent level. But even this team that trains with the champions were in awe. "They are really strong, really fast, they are super," said Ugolini, shrugging his shoulders with a smile. "We train together. We finished first and second. So it works."
Ruggero made sure to note that they are pushing forward despite their unprecedented string of wins, a statement that puts the rest of the World's fleet on notice that the hill to the top will only get steeper in the following months.
"We already have a big list of things to try and to do," said Ruggero, who added that training with the other Italian teams including world champions Bissaro & Frascari has been a big part of their success. "It's going to be a busy winter."
Though there was an outside chance the younger Italians Ugolini & Giubilei could have lost the silver, the the real fight ended up being between the Finnish and Great Britain teams for bronze. The points were close and in the ultra light, "low-riding" conditions FIN 13 Kurtbay & Keskinen found their way around Gimson & Burnett then covered the pair tightly until the finish.
The worlds showcased an increasingly younger batch of foilers in the medal race. Argentina's Majdalani & Bosco along with Jarudd & Jonsson of Sweden and Laila van der Meer & Bouwer of the Netherlands all put down top five finishes with the Dutch placing third in the medal race and up-and-coming Kiwis Wilkinson & Dawson winning.
Heading into the Northern Hemisphere winter, each of the top teams have a staggeringly long break between major events with only the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma, Spain, in early April as a target. The new Nacra 17 articulating rudders were given to the sailors just before the 2022 Palma regatta and changed the face of racing in the class opening minds and possibilities with full upwind foiling.
With a winter of isolated training, it's anyone's guess how big the gains will be on the race course or who will bend their minds and find new gears and paths to leap-frog the gold standard set this year by the Italian teams.