The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition
With the countdown continuing until battle commences on the water in France at the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Toulon, the six America’s Cup teams who will be fighting it out for overall regatta honors have confirmed their crew lists for the weekend ahead.
At the last event, in Portsmouth, several teams were sailing at less than full strength, with Artemis Racing, Land Rover BAR and Emirates Team New Zealand sailors on sabbatical at the Olympics. All of the Cup sailors have returned as medalists, and are on their respective crew lists.
The question now is whether the returning Olympians can convert gold medals into America’s Cup silver?
In fact, the only team not putting its best line-up on the water is ORACLE TEAM USA, where Tom Slingsby takes over the helm from Jimmy Spithill, who is re-habbing following elbow surgery. Slingsby will be joined by Kyle Langford, Sam Newton, Joe Newton and Louis Sinclair.
But the team will be confident that Slingsby, an Olympic gold medal winner in 2012 and a strategist on the team that engineered the 2013 comeback, is up to the task.
Local favorites Groupama Team France have Skipper Franck Cammas leading his crew of Thierry Fouchier, Thomas le Breton, Devan Le Bihan and Matthieu Vandame.
Overall Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series points leaders, and winners of the last event in Portsmouth, Land Rover BAR have newly crowned Olympic gold medalist Giles Scott on board with Skipper Ben Ainslie and Paul Campbell-James, David ‘Freddie’ Carr and Nick Hutton completing the British team’s line-up.
Artemis Racing’s Skipper Nathan Outteridge is back on board the Swedish boat after missing the last round due to his Rio commitments where he won silver, and has his crew of Iain Percy, Christian Kamp, Luke Parkinson and Kalle Torlen on board.
Representing SoftBank Team Japan in France is Skipper Dean Barker, Chris Draper, Jeremy Lomas, Derek Saward and Fuku Sofuku looking to continue their increasingly strong performances in Toulon.
Finally, completing the six teams’ lineups is Emirates Team New Zealand who also welcome back Olympic gold medalists Peter Burling and Blair Tuke who join Skipper Glenn Ashby, Guy Endean and Ray Davies on board.
Both Artemis Racing and Emirates Team New Zealand struggled in the absence of their Olympic medal winning sailors, but with the Games behind us, they are back to full strength.
The gold-medal winning Kiwis say it will be relief to have a single focus – the America’s Cup. And the first step is getting back to the top of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series leaderboard.
“We are really excited to be getting back into the Emirates Team New Zealand environment, and back racing on the series,” said helmsman Peter Burling.
“For the past four years we have had dual goals we have been working towards, with the Olympics and the America’s Cup. With the gold medal now ticked off it feels good to now have a singular focus – being part of Emirates Team New Zealand.”
The forecast is for great racing conditions. Just one point separates Land Rover BAR and second-placed ORACLE TEAM USA on the leaderboard. Emirates Team New Zealand is well within striking distance of regaining the lead. It’s all to play for in Toulon.