North Sails NEWS
Olympians triumph in Enoshima
Here at North Sails, we’ve been avidly following the Tokyo2020 Olympics as all the sailors put on an incredible display in the waters off Enoshima, Japan. Five of our 8 Olympians to Watch made it onto the podium, and we were very impressed with everyone’s speed and poise as they dealt with the widest possible variety of conditions. Here’s a recap of the Finn, 470, and 49er results.
This singlehanded men’s class never disappoints with its mix of physicality and grace. The British champion, Giles Scott managed to defend his 2016 gold medal, even after restarting the double-points medal race. Great boat speed jumped him back up to silver medal position by the first mark, but Hungary’s Zsombor Berecz rounded the first three marks with the gold medal in sight. It wasn’t until the final gate, just before the reach to the finish, when Scott was able to luff up inside two boats and finally lock up the gold, relegating Berecz to silver.
North Sails expert Mickey Ickert developed the very first laminated Finn sail before the 1996 Games, and we’re very sad to see this boat leave the Olympic family—but we also predict the class will continue to thrive. We’ve built 10,000 Finn sails to date, and we will soon launch an updated product range that includes several improvements we made while working with Giles Scott, Zombor Berecz, and other top teams.
In the men’s fleet, all of the top nine teams used North Sails. Australia’s Matt Belcher/Will Ryan bested their Silver winning Rio 2016 performance for Olympic Gold in Tokyo. With this win, Belcher became Australia’s ‘most successful Olympic sailor.’ The battle for the other two podium spots was eventually won by Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom and Spain’s Jordi Xammar/Nicolas Rodriguez Garcia-Paz. Between them, this trio of teams won all but two of the eleven races.
All 21 women’s teams used North Sails. As expected, the British duo Hannah Mills/Eilidh Mcintyre took the top spot on the podium. With this win, Mills cemented her position as the most successful female Olympic sailor to date. A tie for silver between Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzpulec/Jolanta Ogar and France’s Camille Lecointre/Aloise Retornaz was won by Poland, since they had the most race wins (3).
For long-time 470 teams, Tokyo2020 also marked another bittersweet final regatta; at the next Olympics in Paris 2024, this doublehanded boat will become a mixed gender event. North Sails Japan will continue to develop successful sails for the many new teams that are already forming.
49erFX Repeat Gold
Defending gold medalists Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze of Brazil went into the medal race on the losing end of a tie with the Netherlands’ Annemiek Bekkering/Annette Duetz . But a third place finish (behind Argentina and Norway) gave them another decisive overall victory. Tina Lutz/Susann Beucke of Germany finished fifth to win silver, forcing the Dutch team to settle for third overall.
Ties for first and third at the Tokyo2020 Games show how close the racing was in the men’s skiff. Great Britain’s Dylan Fletcher/Stuart Bithell won the medal race by only a few meters over the German team, earning the gold medal. 2016 gold medalists (and America’s Cup champions) Peter Burling/Blair Tuke of New Zealand finished second. Germany’s Erik Heil/Thomas Ploessel beat out Spain’s Diego Botin le Chever/Iago Lopez Marra for the bronze.
With only three years left before Paris 2024, we have already started work with several top Olympic hopefuls. We are also very excited to work with the 49er and 49er FX classes as they transition to North 3Di for the Paris 2024 Games. Congratulations to all!
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