Tita-Banti in history: it’s Olympic gold 21 years after Alessandra Sensini

Light winds, less than 10 knots, and a long wave in Enoshima Bay for the most eagerly awaited medal race for the blue colors, that of the Nacra 17 with Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti already starting with at least silver around their necks in light of the score in the week of racing.

At the start Ruggero and Caterina chose the middle of the line, with the British Gimson-Burnet, the direct opponents for gold, slightly upwind. Not the brightest start for the Italian boat, coming out slow off the line and a length behind. Immediate turn by Tita, who follows the Brits down the right side of the field and crosses immediately in front of the direct opponent, to put himself in marking, with a subsequent turn into coverage to follow the Brits. In fact, the regatta is a match race with the British, with the Azzurri not caring about the rest of the fleet, which is irrelevant to the gold or silver medal. The English are fast and try to break the Italian mark by running away from downwind and succeed, showing up at the next cross, in lay line, with starboard tack and hitting the overtake. The Blue Nacra rounds the mark in eighth position, with the British seventh. Italy is chasing in the stern, but for the Azzurri the only concern is to stay glued to the British, 12 points behind before the medal race. But on the last gybe downwind the Blue Nacra passed, putting it back in seventh place. Tita and Banti chose left field, with the Englishmen going right.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Sailing Competition will see 350 athletes from 65 nations race across the ten Olympic disciplines. Enoshima Yacht Harbour, the host venue of the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Sailing Competition, will once again welcome sailors from July 25 to August 4, 2021.
03 August, 2021
© Sailing Energy / World Sailing

Halfway up the windward mark overtaking the British, who upwind looked decidedly fast, but the provisional standings from a medal standpoint did not change, with the British rounding the windward mark fifth tailed by ours. The stern is very fast with the wind picking up and the Nacras touching 20 knots of speed.

The British cut into fifth place at the finish, but there is no more time, glued to their stern are Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti, who go on to strike a historic gold for Italian sailing. 13 years after sailing’s last medal, 21 years after Alessandra Sensini’s gold medal in Athens. And this is already history! Silver to the British, bronze to the Germans Kohlhoff-Stuhlemmer.

Mauro Giuffrè

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