The World Cup Series Final in Santander, Spain will see a familiar rivalry renewed when racing commences on Tuesday 6 June.
Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallists Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) will face off against silver medallists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) for the first time since the Olympic Games.
The teams were locked in a famous duel at Rio 2016 where it was a four-way shootout for the three available medals. Martine Grael and Kunze beat Maloney and Meech by just two seconds to claim a memorable gold medal in front of an ecstatic home crowd. Denmark’s Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov Iversen completed the podium with Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) finishing out of the medals.
For the gold medallists, Grael and Kunze, they wasted no time in getting back on the campaign trail for Tokyo 2020 after Rio 2016. The pair dominated the American and French legs of the 2017 World Cup Series and come into the Final in great form.
Meanwhile, Maloney and Meech took the opportunity to step away from the Women’s Skiff after Rio 2016 to enjoy a period of rest and try some new projects. The dynamic duo got stuck in to some M32 racing with the Magenta Project but announced their intentions to campaign for Tokyo 2020 earlier this year and Santander marks their return.
Whilst the Brazilians got straight back into the groove, Maloney has no regrets about delaying her comeback with Meech. “We need to be fully committed to another Olympic campaign,” she commented, “and there was a danger of going through the motions if we had kept going straight after Rio.
“Having a really long break was challenging because we have been sailing all our lives but it was also necessary because there was so much anticipation and build-up to Rio.”
It’s been just under 10 months since Rio 2016 and Maloney is delighted to be back in the boat park racing in the 49erFX once again, “At Santander, we want to put a really good event together. We are getting back into it after a long break and we want to see how we measure up against the other teams.
“We’re not putting too much pressure on ourselves in our first regatta back but we want to see how we stack up against other teams and I’m sure they will be looking out for us as well. In the last Olympic cycle, we were one of the teams who were always there to compete for medals and, while we won’t have a target on our backs, we are ones to watch.”
The target in Santander is well and truly placed on Grael and Kunze after they dominated the pack of racers in Miami, USA in January and Hyeres, France in April.
Further contenders in the 49erFX fleet include World #2 Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR), World #5 Helene Naess and Marie Ronningen (NOR) and World #6 Victoria Travascio and Maria Branz (ARG).
More than 250 sailors from 41 nations have registered to race across the ten Olympic events and Open Kiteboarding at the World Cup Final. Racing for all commences at 12:00 local time on Tuesday 6 June.
Leading experts appointed to Sustainability Commission
Following the announcement of World Sailing’s sustainability strategy in November 2016, the international federation of the sport has appointed a leading group of experts to its first sustainability commission which will be chaired by Mike Golding OBE.
One of the world’s most accomplished and successful offshore sailors, Golding will lead a group of independent experts, thought leaders and distinguished sailors. Each member of the Sustainability Commission has a common passion and desire to drive sustainability within sailing and the marine industry forward.
- Mike Golding OBE (GBR) – Chairman- One of the world’s most accomplished and successful offshore sailors. An IMOCA and FICO world champion, Mike has consistently achieved winning performances in the most prestigious round the world and transoceanic race events. After numerous world records and successes in various sailing disciplines, both crewed and solo, Mike’s passion for the sport in all its forms remains undiminished.
- Mark Orams (NZL)- Professor Mark Orams has a diverse background in sailing. He was a member of the crew of Steinlager 2 the winner of the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race and was a member of Team New Zealand’s America’s Cup defences in 2000 and 2003. He is a professor of Marine Recreation, Sport and Tourism at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand and has specific interests in marine conservation, marine protected areas and marine mammal tourism.
- Jill Savery (USA)- Jill Savery is a 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, 8-time World Champion and an International Swimming Hall of Fame Inductee in the sport of synchronized swimming. Jill is a sustainability advisor and consultant, public speaker, University graduate school instructor, and author (Sustainability and Sport, 2011, one of the first books in the sustainability and sport field).
- Will Oxley (AUS)- A lifelong sailor and is passionate about the ocean and the health of the marine environment. His sailing experience includes five round the world races, most recently as navigator on CAMPER and then Alvimedica in the last two Volvo Ocean Races. Will’s previous career was as a Coral Reef Ecologist.
- Stratis Andreadis (GRE)- A lifelong sailor, Stratis Andreadis has worked in World Sailing’s Match Racing Committee, Rankings sub-committee and Youth Match Racing working party. Since 2011 he has created regattas in his native Greece and worked on alternative ways of developing sailing. In 2013 he co-founded the first sustainable fashion startup focused on storytelling from the rich heritage of yachting and yacht racing.
- James Blake (GBR)- James Blake is an Associate Professor in naval architecture at the University of Southampton, specialising in yacht and high performance craft and marine safety and environmental engineering. James is passionate about improving the sustainability of yacht structures and construction and alongside serving on the International Ship and Offshore Structures Congress in Sailing Yacht Design and Structural Longevity researches the use of natural fibres and bioresins for structural composites.
- Emily Penn (GBR)- Emily Penn is an ocean advocate and skipper. She has spent the past decade leading sailing expeditions to study, expose and tackle environmental challenges from the Tropics to the Arctic, largely through the organisation she co-founded, Pangaea Explorations. With a focus on ocean plastic pollution, Emily’s mission to activate a community of changemakers is realised through her work at eXXpedition and Parley for the Oceans.
- Stephanie Draper (GBR)- Stephanie is an expert in collaborative processes, change and sustainable development. Steph’s background combines science and change management. Following her Masters in Environment and Conservation, she worked at the Industrial Society, specialising in strategy and change consultancy. Stephanie is co-founder and chair of the Sustainable Shipping Initiative, a trustee of the Travel Foundation and member of the Firmenich Sustainability Board
Today’s announcement falls on World Environment Day, the United Nations’ most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of the environment.
Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organized many thousands of events, from neighbourhood clean-ups, to action against wildlife crime, to replanting forests.
Furthermore, Dan Reading has been appointed as World Sailing’s Sustainability Programme Manager, joining from the environmental programme of the Royal Yachting Association and British Marine, the leisure marine trade association.
Reading was London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competition Sustainability Manager and has worked with several organisations implementing sustainable event management systems including Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing and the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.
On his appointed, Reading commented, “I’m thrilled to have been appointed to deliver World Sailing’s Sustainability Programme; I look forward to working with a variety of stakeholders across World Sailing’s network.
“As someone who enjoys getting out on the water, I have a natural passion for our environment. I know thousands of sailors across the world want to be able to reduce their environmental impact at the same time as raising awareness of global issues that affect our playground.
“As sailors, we are in a privileged position to see first-hand the health of our oceans and waterways and through my new role, and with guidance from the sustainability commission, we will deliver an ambitious programme that recognises and collaborates with some of the great projects already being undertaken.”
World Sailing released its sustainability strategy at the 2016 Annual Conference in Barcelona, Spain. The strategy will ensure that World Sailing, its members and partners have a framework that delivers fact-based tangible benefit across the three pillars of sustainability – environmentally, social and economically.
Following the identification of risks and opportunities, eight objectives to drive the strategy have been set. These include:
- Protect and enhance sailing’s waters and the wider water environment
- Promote research into the impact of sailing on the environment
- Encourage a robust approach to sustainability across the sports and its supporting affiliated industries
- Minimise World Sailing’s carbon footprint and promote resource efficiency across the Sport
- Create a sound economic base for World Sailing and the Sport
- Provide and promote safe and collaborative working environments
- Develop diverse and inclusive operations, promoting sailing in an open and accessible way to increase participation
- Communicate the benefits and importance of sustainability and facilitate stakeholder engagement in the delivery of this strategy
World Sailing’s Official Technology Partner, SAP and Automotive Partner, Volvo Ocean Race, Volvo Group and Volvo Car Group have pledged their support to working with World Sailing on sustainability programmes.
The first meeting of the Sustainability Commission will take place later this year.