Luca Devoti reports from Rio… waiting for the the 49er big duel
The 49 class… the battle of the giants. The two America’s Cup skippers Burling and Outteridge are on fire. Nathan is back and has just won the last pre-regatta in Rio. These two teams have an unlimited budget and can select the best gear from a huge number of parts, but also definitively sail a bit better, and are the clear favourites. However, we also have the rapidly improving Danish past Olympic champions, and young Diego Botin is close by. He has fewer hours, only two years of brutal training, but has got the X Factor and performs well under pressure. It is interesting to see, to my knowledge, no one in the fleet has gone radical for light conditions as a crew at 140 kg could destroy the opposition in light winds, which are the winds that mainly blow in the Guanabara Bay in winter.
In the 49er FX female class there are some ultra light crews that, at times, shine, like the Swedes, the Germans and the Argentineans, but here we have as hot favourites the Italian girls Giulia Conti and Francesca Clapcich, the Brazilians Grael-Kunze, and the Danish. However my feeling is that the Spanish match race gold Spaniard Tamara Echegoyen has got the balls to shine at the right moment. Funny, a federation that went trough hell in the quadriennium has got so much talent.