2019 will form the critical year in sailing’s Olympic selection puzzle for Tokyo2020, with most boat classes set to determine priority athletes across the next competition season.
Each boat class will host individual world championships across the year which will be factored into final Olympic nominations in tandem with other priority events, and coupled with the Tokyo test event – which is scheduled for August.
All Australian sailors hoping to earn nomination for Tokyo 2020 will need to find form across the 2019 competition season to remain eligible.
The first international hitout for the year has commenced in Miami with WA represented across four boat classes.
The laser class is set to be one Australia’s most keenly fought entries for Tokyo, with two world class sailors vying for a single spot.
Western Australian Matt Wearn enjoyed his strongest season to date in 2018 but is up against the reigning Olympic champion in Tom Burton.
After two days of racing in Miami, the field is led by Norwegian Hermann Thomasgaard on five points.
Burton is fifth on 18 points, with Wearn currently 16th on 24 points. There is a logjam from fourth to 17th, with just 10 points separating 13 sailors.
In the laser radial, 20 year-old West Aussie Zoe Thomson has made a terrific start and ranks third overall after two races. A second and a sixth, has her just a single point behind the leaders heading into the remainder of the regatta.
The Gilmour brothers have responded well after a trying first day of competition that saw them register a 13th finish and a black flag disqualification.
A fourth place effort on day two has seen them move back up the leaderboard into ninth position but they will need to demonstrate strong consistency here-on-out to ensure that their blag flag drop* doesn’t come back to haunt them.
The other contesting Australian crew are currently in 21st place.
Caitlin Elks who is crewing for skipper Amelia Stabback currently occupies 15th position with the duo wedged between two other Australian crews in the 49erFX fleet.
The pairing of Natasha Bryant and Annie Wilmot are the best of the Aussies in ninth, whilst Tess Lloyd and Jaime Ryan hold 23rd.
*A drop refers to the highest score which is discarded from the competitors’ overall scorecard. Each entry can discard one race score, with the aim being to record the lowest points tally at the end of competition.