It is tight at the top (of the ILCA 6 / Radial fleet)!
When SouthEast Sailboats asked me to write about the runners and riders for the Tokyo2020 Olympics I hardly knew where to start! With just so much uncertainty around this year’s Olympics it is really, really hard to even know where to start, so why not choose World Sailing rankings? [Read more...]
No 1. Emma Plasschaert BEL
Carrying on where Evi Van Acker BEL left off Emma went straight to the front of the fleet finishing 7th at her first ever Worlds in 2013 and then winning arguably one the toughest Worlds ever in 2018, Aarhus, which was the preliminary Olympic qualifier with her then Coach Jakub Kozelsky. Now working with British Coach Mark Littlejohn GBR who coached Marit Bouwmeester to Silver in London 2012 she is a force to be reckoned with.
Trivia: She is engaged to Matt Wearn AUS who is the ILCA 7 representative from Australia after beating the current World and Olympic Champion at the time Tom Burton AUS in the selection trials. Could they be a Golden couple?
No 2. Marit Bouwmeester
Probably the most famous of all the sailors. Marit is a 4 times World Champion and needs no introduction. Recently coming back from injury she looks as sharp as ever and having medalled at the last 2 Olympics (2012 Silver, 2016 Gold) she certainly has the experience of performing under pressure and a Gold medal could see her becoming the most successful Olympic female sailor of all time.
Trivia: She is coached by her brother and former training partner Roelof Bouwmeester, with her previous coach Jaap Zielhuis now the Dutch technical director.
No 3. Maud Jayet SUI
Maud has been balancing studying and sailing and it definitely hasn’t slowed her down. Winning the 3rd Vilamoura Grand Prix in 2020, in what we would expect as similar conditions to Enoshima she is one to watch. With the strength and depth of the fleet improving so much with the additional year of training for everyone we may be in for a high scoring regatta.
Trivia: Maud is coached by Natalie Brugger who represented SUI in the Radial class in both 2008 and 2012 before moving to the Nacra in 2016, so this will be Natalie’s 4 Olympic games (but 1st as a Coach).
No 4. Agata Barwinska POL
3rd at last year’s European Championships and indeed 3rd at this year’s Allianz regatta. Agata is one of many top sailors not going to the Olympics (more on this later). Despite not going to Japan she has been working super hard with her eyes on the prize of 2024. The Polish team works as a squad and are ready on the spring board for the next Olympic cycle.
Trivia: She finished 3rd at the 2020 Senior Europeans in Poland the same as our very own Lorenzo Chiavarini GBR. This is not the first time this has happened, going back to the Under 21 World Championships in 2014 where Agata won the Women’s and Lorenzo won the Men’s… This regatta marked them out as sailors to watch for the future!
No. 5 Josefin Olsson SWE
Josefin is a past Europe World Champion 2008 and has in recent years been one of the most consistent performers. One of the most reliable sailors to make the medal race. She excels in the swell which we are likely to see in Japan.
Trivia: Josefin is now coached by Hugh Styles GBR, who coached Ali young GBR for both 2012 and 2016. Maybe a medal winning advantage!
No 6. Line Flem Host NOR
Bronze medal at the 2020 Worlds Line (pronounced Lina) is one of the youngest and tallest girls in the fleet. Always competitive in hiking conditions and beyond. This will be Line’s first Olympic games. Coached by Olympic veteran Lars Loennechen.
Trivia: Line and Tuula are training partners, it works very well when small countries (MNAs) work together for mutual benefit. Only those competiting in the Olympics will be allowed on the water before the games (no same country training partners are allowed on the “field of play”).
No. 7 Tuula Tenkanen FIN
5th at the last Olympic games. Tuula went to her first Olympic games back in 2008 and originally intending to retire in 2020, this will be her last games. One of the smaller teams Finland has qualified both the Men and Women’s ILCA.
Trivia: Although Tuula has won the major regattas such as Princess Sofia (Palma) and SOF (Hyeres) she has yet to win a Worlds, coming close in 2013 in China where the result was decided down the last run of the last race.
No. 8 Anne-Marie Rindom DEN
Anne-Marie would probably be higher on the rankings but missing the last World Cup before the Olympics in Medemblik (due to being involved with the Danish SailGP) hurt her score. The incredibly well run event was raced in very different conditions to those expected in Enoshima, flat / choppy water and shifty breeze rather than Ocean swell and sea breeze which many are hoping for this year in Japan. The last major event (2020 Europeans) Rindom finished runner up to Bouwmeester. Bronze in the 2016 Olympics, almost guaranteed to be on the podium in Japan.
Trivia: Recently she has fallen in love with Winging (wing foiling) and cannot wait to get back on the water again after her ILCA training sessions to go foiling!
No 9. Marie Barrue FRA
It was only when writing the runners and riders I realised how strong so many countries are in the Laser which really is the mass participation class with representation from grass roots to Olympic level. Marie Bolou won the trials for France but recently Barrue has been on the up, yet another strong light wind sailor. She recently dominated the Allianz regatta (the final World cup before the Olympic games). Coming from a strong team from the Gran Canaria Sailing Academy which coached the GRE, ESP and IND representatives Barrue is looking more and more likely to feature in Marseille 2024, just down the road from her home town of Hyeres (another fantastic sailing venue).
Trivia: No doubt you will have seen the original viral video of a girl sailing a Laser wearing high heels… well that is Marie Barrue!
No 10. Maxime Jonker NED
Maxime is one of 3 of Marit’s training partners and finished 2nd at the 2020 Worlds. Indeed, there were 4 Dutch boats in the top 10. By training as a country squad they do their own programme and then join over teams when they wish to race meaning as the most competitive squad they probably have the most focused training.
Trivia: The final Dutch training block was at their base in Scheveningen which has waves similar to those which are expected in Japan.
No. 11 Monika Mikkola FIN
Undoubtably one of the best light wind sailors in the World. So one of the sad things about the Olympic games is it is not the best sailors who attend the Olympics because it is 1 sailor per country. With Tuula selected to represent Finland in 2020 it means Monika must wait until 2024 where she will surely be on fire.
Trivia: Monika was 4th at the 2018 World Championships and so qualified Finland for the Olympics.
No. 12 Mirthe Akkerman NED
Yet another Dutch boat at the top of the rankings (and indeed in the top 10 of the most recent World Championships), Mirthe is known best for her strong light wind performance. The future of Dutch single handed women’s sailing is definitely in safe hands for years to come.
Trivia: Mirthe is dating former British Sailing Team Jack Cookson who retired after winning Kiel in 2019
No. 13 Svenja Weger GER
We actually go down to 13th place to find out the 9th Olympic representative. Svenja is another superb light wind sailor. The overall results at the games may well be determined by the conditions. She currently works with SWE and HUN, GBR, all medal contenders on their day.
Trivia: Svjena has won both the Under 21 Worlds (2013) and Senior Europeans (2014).
No. 14 Marie Bolou FRA
Bolou is the French Olympic representative having finished 15th at the 2020 Radial World Championships in Melbourne. Bolou came back from the disappointment of not qualifying for Rio where she had trained a huge amount to peak at the most important regatta in this Olympic campaign.
Trivia: Bolou was coached by her long term boyfriend Alex Saldanha BRA in Austraila, to Olympic qualification but Alex who coached Robert Scheidt in Rio2016 will not be her coach at the games, where she will be supported by the French National Coach.
No. 15 Alison Young GBR
One of, if not the fittest sailor in the fleet. Expect a superb performance in the medium to strong winds, especially if the sea state is up. The final training camp was in Weymouth for Team GB and the team has the best sailing base of the sailing countries. Away from the Olympic venue hotels, at their training base for the last 5 years, surely a “home” advantage.
Trivia: Ali teamed up with her Coach Charles Bailley Strong GBR quite late in the cycle, “CBS” is a past Olympic development sailor in the Standard rig and has coaching experience from Rio2016. This team is on the way up.
Jon Emmett has over 20 years of coaching experience from grass roots to Olympic Gold.