Muscat – The 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 World Championship, being held in Barcelo Mussanah Resort in Oman has entered into a phase of fierce contention on its penultimate day on Saturday.
John Gimson and Anna Burnet foiling into the lead of the Nacra 17 World Championship with an impressively composed display of high-speed tactics and strategy.
Scores of 5, 1, 2 could so easily have been a string of bullets, but the British results were still the best of the fleet in light to medium, ever-shifting conditions.
The Olympic silver medallists and 2021 European Champions are now in pole position to defend their 2020 world title, having moved six points ahead of the previous championship leaders from Italy.
“That wasn’t easy,” said a still-wet Gimson, shaking his head as the dark covered Mussana Beach.
“It’s a chip-away regatta,” he added alluding to the multiple losses and gains he and Burnett had to manage.
Chip away is what the top sailors in all the fleets had to do in a breeze that barely settled in at eight to 10 knots and refused to settle down with subtle shifts all day.
Gianluigi Ugolini and Maria Giubilei have clearly benefited from being the tune-up boat to the reigning Italian gold medalists Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti.
However the fast-improving Italians couldn’t match British consistency and sailed to respectable but unremarkable scores of 7, 4, 6 to lie two places back in second.
Following the Germans’ photo-finish victory over the British in the final race of the afternoon, Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer have moved to just three points behind the Italians.
France’s Tim Mourniac and Lou Berthomeu also staked their intentions for a podium spot at Sunday’s prize-giving ceremony.
The French finished 2, 5, 5 to put themselves just four points behind the Olympic bronze medallists from Germany.
The 2019 World Champions Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari worked their way through to the front of race one for a win. It was a great comeback after a torrid previous day on the water.
Leading the final race, the Italians let Germany and Great Britain make their move to the right-hand side of the final run and dropped to third at the finish, an opportunity missed for the ambitious Italians.
With just one fleet race in the morning before the 10-boat Medal Race, time is running out for the chasing pack to make up lost ground.
At the end of the penultimate day, it’s the same three nations who won Olympic medals at Tokyo 2020 in podium position in Oman – Great Britain, Italy and Germany.