Olympic dream? It will all be decided at the Last Chance Regatta in Hyères 2024


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Test Event, 2024 Olympics – ILCA

Already 260 athletes have been selected for the Paris Olympic Games (to be held in Marseille, in the case of Sailing). 260 athletes divided among 199 boats. But the places up for grabs are not over yet, and the last chance is now. Indeed, the 55th edition of the
Semaine Olympique Française
, or French Olympic Week, AKA the Last Chance Regatta in Hyères, to be held April 20-27. And it won’t be cups or medals that will be the goals, but the last 66 open spots for Paris 2024, that is, the cards for the last 49 boats that will be eligible to enter one of the 10 Olympics events. The situation, in short, is heating up, and for many, breath is still held.

Semaine Olympique Française 2024

In short, the race for the last cards for the games begins today, with 7 places still available in the men’s and women’s iQFOiL (windsurfing) classes and 5 for the respective in Kite. Instead, there will be 4 free spots, both for the ILCA 7 and ILCA 6, as well as for the Nacra 17. There are 5, however, for the 49er FX. But our eyes are on the 4 spots in 49er on the 4 spots in 470, the only two classes in which, so far, there are no blue representatives. In short, for Italy, when all is said and done, the Last Chance Regatta in Hyeres will be the last real chance to win the Olympic cards needed to compete in the 470 and 49er classes as well. Taken, however, were all the spots in the remaining 8 Categories.

We will tell you all about it, racing and otherwise, through our Sailing Newspaper correspondents in Hyères!

Nacra 17

The Blue Athletes at “Paris 2024”

With the cards for 470 mixed and men’s 49er still open, the French Olympic Week will be an opportunity to get the answers we are looking for, but as many as 8 categories are already taken by the Italian athletes. Indeed, opening the dances were the Tita / Banti duo in NACRA 17, already in possession of their place and reigning Olympic champions. For the duo, however, the incredible palmares must also be taken into consideration, with the just-won 53rd Princesa Sofía Trophy in Mallorca (already won, by the same, also in 2018 and 2022) and the America’s Cup looming (in different forms) over both of them.

Last Chance Regatta Hyeres
Tita and Banti at the 53rd Princesa Sofía Trophy.

Representing Italy in 49er FX, however, will be the Gruppo Sportivo Marina Militare-branded pair of Germani / Bertuzzi, who secured the slot with bronze in Lanzarote. Carolina Albano, however, will be our standard-bearer on the ILCA 6 front, with Lorenzo Brando Chiavarini, on the other hand, her counterpart in ILCA 7.

The new Formula IKA (Kite) and iQFOiL (windsurfing) classes, on the other hand, will see Riccado Pianosi and Maggie Eillen Pescetto, respectively, representing the country in the former, with Nicolò Renna and Marta Maggetti, on the other hand, filling the same role on the Windsurfing front.

Last Chance Regatta Hyeres
Marta Maggetti

The Classes in “Paris 2024”

For those who missed it, and for those who would like a little more clarity on the format in effect at these Paris 2024 Olympics, here are what the classes are and what medals are up for grabs.

470 | Mixed

Medal: Mixed Doubles; Drift

The 470 is one of the most popular double dinghies in the world, with about 38,000 boats produced. It was designed in 1963 by André Cornu and, since 1976, with the Montreal Games, has been Olympic Class. From ’76 to ’88 it was Open, and then it was divided into Men’s and Women’s. Starting with these 2024 games it will be Mixed Class. On the 470, champions such as Nathan Wilmot, Matt Belcher, Malcolm Page, Theresa Zabell and Hannah Mills (two Olympic gold medals apiece) have competed. Italians closest to Olympic medals: the Chieffi brothers and Gabrio Zandonà.

470 (Tokyo Olympics)

| Catamaran

Medal: Mixed Doubles; Multihull

Designed by Morelli & Melvin, the Nacra 17 is a catamaran specifically designed as an Olympic mixed class and inserted as a replacement for the Tornado. As of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it is officially approved as a full foiling hull in its new configuration. Since its introduction, it has seen Argentines Santiago Lange / Cecilia Carranza Saroli in 2016 and Italians Ruggero Tita / Caterina Banti in 2020 as Olympic gold medalists. The latter are also world champions in 2018, 2022, 2023.

Nacra 17 (Tokyo Olympics)

49er | Skiff

Medal: Men’s Doubles; Skiff

Introduced as an Olympic Men’s Double Class in 2000, the 49er is, currently, the fastest double skiff in terms of rate. Designed by Julian Bethwaite, she is a nimble and technical boat, formed on the lessons learned from previous International 14′ and Aussie 18’s (read: Australian 18-footer), of which she improves the length/power ratio, mast pre-flexion and water lines. The first Olympic class winners were Finns Thomas Johanson and Jyrki Järvi in Sydney 2000. In 2020, however, Britain’s Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell won gold in Tokyo. The Italians who, to date, have received the highest peaks in 49er are the Sibello brothers, third at the 2005 world championship in Moscow, as well as at the 2009 and 2010 world championships.


49er FX | Skiff

Medal: Women’s Doubles; Skiff

The 49er FX is the Women’s Double version of the 49er and was introduced as an Olympic Class with 2016 Rio Games-won by the Martin Grael / Kahena Kunze duo, who also won the next edition. In terms of design, the 49er FX varies from the 49er on the rigging and sail plan front, specially redesigned to be usable by lighter crews. However, it does not differ in terms of performance, remaining an acrobatic, technical and fast hull. The Giulia Conti / Francesca Clapcich duo has been the most successful Italian women’s crew to date, with a third-place finish at the 2014 world championship and an overall victory at the 2015 world championship in Buenos Aires. They are followed by Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi, third at the 2024 World Cup.

49er FX

ILCA 6 & ILCA 7 | Drift

Medal: Men’s Single and Women’s Single

The ILCA 7, better known as the Laser Standard, is one of the most popular designs ever, with more than 150,000 hulls produced and Olympic status in effect since the 1996 edition of the Games in Atlanta, USA. It is an agile and dynamic hull, although particularly physical. The rigging involves the mainsail only. Among them all, the most successful sailor in the Olympic class turns out to be Brazilian Robert Scheidt, with 5 Olympic medals, 3 of which were achieved on the laser. The last major Italian success on the ILCA 7 was in 2014, when Lorenzo Brando Chiavarini won the Under-21 World Championship.

On the other hand, ILCA 6 is the version adopted for the Women’s Olympic Medal Games. Main difference, sail area reduced by 18%, with radial cut mainsail. It has been adopted as the Women’s Single since the Beijing (Beijing) Olympic Games in 2008. To date, the most awarded athletes are Xu Lijia (CHN), Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED); each with two Olympic medals.

ILCA at the 53rd Princesa Sofía Trophy | © Sailing Energy / Princesa Sofía Mallorca 2024

KITE FORMULA | Kitesurfing

Medal: Male Kite & Female Kite

Formula Kite is first introduced with the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. It will therefore be the first time we will see the boards compete in Olympic terms. The “hull” used will not be in monotype, but will still have to comply with tonnage rules. This consists of a board, an appendage with foil and a kite (kite). The formula includes distinction between male and female, both introduced with 2024. It will be Riccardo Pianosi and Maggie Eillen Pescetto defending the Italian colors at Paris ’24.

Formula Kite at the53rd Princesa Sofía Trophy | © Sailing Energy / Princesa Sofía Mallorca 2024

iQFOiL | Windsurfing

Medal: Men’s Table and Women’s Table

Officially introduced as an Olympic class with these Paris 2024 Games, the iQFoil is the new windsurfing class intended to replace the previous RS:X. Designed by Tiesda You in 2018, the formula is one-design, meaning all boards are identical for both the men’s and women’s categories. The only difference between the two is the sail area of the mainsail, 9 square meters for men, 8 square meters for women. The presence of a foiling fin, in turn, stands as a not insignificant innovative and technical element: boards will now be lifted above the water by the foil, reducing the drag coefficient, providing lift and lift to the board, and increasing speeds by no small amount.

In the Men’s Class, Dutchmen Luuc van Opzeeland and Huig-Jan Tak will certainly be names not to be underestimated, as will Nicolas Goyard, Sebastian Kördel. Not to be forgotten, Italy’s Nicolò Renna, Gold Medalist at the last iQFoil World Championship.

In the Women’s Class, French sailor Helene Noesmoen, World Champion in 2021, is to watch, as is Italian Marta Maggetti, who won gold ahead of Daniela Peleg and Maya Morris at the 2022 World Championships.




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