In the 49erFX class, Great Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey from the Royal Irish Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire have lead the 49erFX fleet since the opening race of the Ready Steady Tokyo, the official test event for the 2020 Summer Olympic Games hosted by the Japanese capital. At the midway point, the duo has built a solid 10 point lead after 9 races with only one finish outside of the top five. Brazilian superstars Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze head into the penultimate day of racing in second position and are yet to finish a race outside of the top eight.
“It was pretty hot today.” says Tidey. “The team has done a great job to help us conquer that but I must admit I went for a bit of a swim between races – intentional of course – to cool down. I’m sure everyone is feeling it out there and it’s about trying to focus and not let it take over all your thoughts.”
"If they can finish on the top of the podium in Enoshima, that could secure their Olympic berth for Great Britain"
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech from New Zealand won the day and currently sit in third position. With only a single result out of the top ten the Rio silver medallists are within striking distance of the leaders. Norway’s Helene Næss and Marie Rønningon dropped to fourth after their 1st and 5th results were not good enough to balance out two results outside of the top ten.
The leading British duo has performed intermittently at the elite level but is on the verge of peaking at just the right moment. After the 2018 Europeans and World Championships, it was their national rivals Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth who took the bronze medal at both regattas ahead of Dobson and Tidey and looked like the leading team for the British Sailing Team’s selection to Tokyo. Ainsworth suffered an off-water knee injury just days prior to the 2019 European Championship, hindering their performance and opening the door for Dobson and Tidey to compete at Ready Steady Tokyo. If they can finish on the top of the podium in Enoshima, that could secure their Olympic berth for Great Britain.