OPENING CEREMONY FORMALLY LAUNCHES 2019 470 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS03 Aug 2019
The 2019 470 World Championships is now officially ready to commence. Teams are registered, boats measured and the Championships has been declared open for the 182 athletes from 29 nations.
The stage is now set for an 11 race series, followed by a top ten team medal race to decide podium places and select the 6 nations in the women and 4 in the men qualifying to Tokyo 2020 at this the second Olympic qualification event.
Excitement is running high as teams now rest overnight ahead of the three races scheduled for the men and women teams on Sunday 4 August. Racing is scheduled to get underway at 1200 hours with fleets sailing three 45-50 minute races each on course area Sagami. Women will start first and race the outer loop of the trapezoid course, followed by men yellow and then men blue fleets. The men’s fleets will both race the inner loop in order to ensure their sailing conditions are as comparable as possible to each other.
The Championship website will provide a live blog, tracking, results, race reports, videos and photos from the 470 World Championship on 2019worlds.470.org as well as race updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter
Time is now up, the moment is now and there is a lot of expectation on shoulders. Just one of the teams from 14 nations in the running to secure one of the elusive 6 women’s Olympic spots up for grabs here at the Worlds are the world #8 partnership of Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Jolanta Ogar (POL). The team holds plenty of experience, including three 470 World Championship gold medals and one silver between them, plus two Olympic appearances each.
“We will try sailing the best, be smart and don’t make stupid mistakes and I hope this will be enough for qualification to Tokyo 2020,” said Ogar.
A different kind of Championship is set to unfold for Slovenia’s Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol who qualified their nation last year and have been busy putting their new boat through its paces. The world ranked #11 team arrived in Enoshima ten days ago to focus on training, boat work and make technical preparations to their new boat. Today though it was all about trying to stay cool.
“It is really hot here in Japan, high temperatures and a lot of humidity and you are sweating all the time,” explained Macarol. “We need to do a lot of boat park work and we are all day in the sun.”
Commenting on their current form, Mrak reflected, “At the beginning of the season we started really well, but then we did a bad result in the Europeans, so we really want to improve and start really hard from the first day, from the first race.”
Their 17th at this year’s Europeans compared to gold medals at last year’s reflects the rise and fall in form experienced by many teams. Will they add another medal to their bronze at the 2017 470 Worlds?
“We know that here are a lot of great sailors and everyone is really well prepared, so we are all with really high motivation and we really want to achieve a medal,” continued Mrak.
The Slovenians are hoping for a bit of Japanese influence by naming their new boat ‘Fujin Korin’.
“Our friends here in Japan helped us with the name,” explained Macarol. “Fujin is the god of the wind and Korin means comes to earth, and together that means Fujin will come to our boat and give us more wind,” she laughed.
“If we can do a great result here at the Olympic venue, I think it will be a great feeling also for the next year for the Olympics, so we will do our best,” concluded Macarol.
In the men’s fleet, defending World Champions Kevin Peponnet/Jeremie Mion completed measurement today, after which Peponnet declared, “I am ready, I am! We want to defend the title so we are ready to fight.”
Another team heeding Japanese positivity, they have named their 470 ‘Katsuyo’, as Mion explained, “We understand it means victory for a long time, so that is the idea; forever winner!“
It is clear their friendship bond runs deep, as Peponnet added, “The best thing about sailing with Jeremie is having fun a lot. We are having fun on board and even in bad races or bad times we try to have fun!”
With registration and measurement completed, this evening’s Opening Ceremony was held at the venue Yacht House. Mr Hiro Kawano, President of Japan Sailing, gave a warm greeting to all, saying, “I extend a heartfelt welcome to all sailors, coaches and officials from all over the world. I hope you will enjoy not only the races, but also the beautiful landscape and the warm hospitality of the people of Enoshima, Fujisawa and the Japanese sailing community."
Mr Kawano went on to thank all partners involved in organizing the Championship, giving significant recognition to the support provided by title sponsor Yamaha and a special mention to the many volunteers, without whose contribution the Championship would not operate.
Japan’s world ranked #4 helm Keiju Okada gave the Sailors’ Oath on behalf of all athletes saying, “I promise that I will sail in the 470 World Championships respecting and complying with all the applicable rules and regulations. I will do my best to achieve victory, always in view of promoting the sport of sailing and friendship among the sailors of all participating countries.”
The evening then switched to a cultural show featuring drumming and music with typical Japanese canapes enjoyed by teams, officials and guests. To the musical accompaniment a traditional Japanese ‘shodo’(calligrapher) created an ink design, which was unveiled to the watching audience with the message of ‘good winds’ to all.
HOW TO FOLLOW
Live blog, tracking, results, race reports, videos and photos will be available throughout the 470 World Championship on 2019worlds.470.org as well as updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The official hashtags for the Championship are: #470Worlds #470Sailing #470Life #Sail470