In the last World Cup race of the season before the finals set for France in June, Canadian Laser Radial sailor Isabella-Anna Bertold led a small group of local sailors campaigning in Olympic classes for the next Games while racing late in April in Genoa in Italy.
Bertold, who has competed in the Olympics for Canada previously, placed an impressive 12th in the World Cup competition that was held for a week ending on April 21, 2019. The Vancouver-based sailor had a strong start to the regatta and recorded a first- and a third-place finish but ended the week down the fleet, finishing 25th and 35th.
The later races ended up moving her down the leaderboard. There were six races held in the women’s Laser Radial class at the event in Italy, the last World Cup race for Olympic-class sailors in a series of five that are held around the world.
The World Cup race, also held throughout the year in Japan, Miami in the U.S. and in France (the finals are in early June) draw world-class sailors who want to make it to the Olympic Games. The next Summer Games is in Tokyo next year.
The Italy race was the third of the current sailing season. Also racing at that event for Canada in the Laser Radial class was Maura Dewey, who placed 58th in the large fleet of international sailors.
There were four Canadians racing in the men’s Laser class in Italy, and the top finisher was Robert Davis, who has competed for the country previously in the Summer Games. He ended the event in 49th place out of a total of 111 racers from around the world.
Fellow Canadian sailor Hugh Macrae came 88th, while Justin Norton ended up in 94th spot and Luke Ruitenberg was 95th. There were no Canadians racing in other Olympic classes, the 470 men and women, the 49er, 49er FX or Nacra 17.
During the week, most of the sailing was in lighter air. After all the races, two Brazilian sailors won gold, while those from Hungary, Denmark and New Zealand also won gold.
Overnight leaders in the Laser and Laser Radial fleets were overthrown as Hungary’s Jonatan Vadnai and Denmark’s Anne-Marie Rindom ended up winning gold.
Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan clinched the Women’s 470 title for Brazil with their compatriot Jorge Zarif snapping up the Finn honours.
The New Zealand team of Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox also dislodged the overnight leaders in the Men’s 470 to win their first World Cup title together.
In the Laser class, it was an exciting finish with as many as seven sailors having a shot at a podium finish but the advantage was with Pavlos Kontides from Cyprus who held a six-point lead going into the final race. He couldn’t hold on, though, and won silver.
Going into the final race, six sailors had a shot of taking Laser Radial gold ahead of the Medal Race. Dongshuang Zhang from China led overnight and was targeting back-to-back Hempel World Cup Series gold medals following her success at an earlier World Cup race held in January 2019 in Miami.
But she couldn’t hold on with a surge from Anne Marie Rindom of Denmark, who ended up in third in the final race, giving her enough points to take the top medal.