Decisions will start to be made about the Spanish pre-Olympic team in Gran Canaria this weekend during the 16th Semana Olímpica Canaria de Vela. A total of 162 boats from 23 countries (mostly European) are racing in the Canary Islands’ most important dinghy sailing event.
In the men’s 470, RCNGC crew Onán Barreiros and Juan Curbelo, just back from their excellent performance in the Sailing World Cup Final in Abu Dhabi after taking the bronze medal in Qingdao (China), are among the favourites in a high profile event. Barreiros (Spanish competitor at the last two Olympics) and Curbelo are 8th in the current International Sailing Federation (ISAF) rankings.
The race profile also includes Catalonian sailors Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp, who are the current World and European Youth champions, seventh placegetters at Sailing World Cup Santander and gold medal winners at Sailing World Cup Qingdao (China).
Other competitors include Russian sailors Pavel Sozykin and Denis Gribanov (10th in the Olympic class Sailing World Cup Santander 2014), the German Olympic team, and Russians Mikhail Sheremetyev and Maxim Sheremetyev, who represented their country at the last two Olympics.
One of the local competitors is Onán Barreiros, who has Olympic experience and an Olympic diploma. The women’s section also includes competitors from the Canary Islands. RCNGC sailor Patricia Cantero crews with Austurian sailor Ángela Pumariega, gold medal winner in match racing at the 2012 London Olympics.
In the 470 class, six countries are competing: Finland, Germany, Portugal, Russia, Spain and Turkey.
The Laser Standard Olympic class has the highest number of competitors, with 47 boats and sailors from 16 countries. Both quality and quantity can be found at this Canary Islands regatta. Several sailors who’ve already earned a place on their national teams for the Rio Olympics will be taking part, along with two host club competitors who’ll also be in the limelight: experienced sailor Joaquín Blanco and youth sailor Joel Rodríguez. Joel had a spectacular summer competing in the youth category in Laser Radial, winning one European and two world championships.
The focus is also on Poland’s Jonasz Stelmaszyk and Marcin Rudawski, Laser Radial Worlds champion and runner-up. In the Canary Islands, Stelmaszyk is competing in Laser Standard (the Olympic Laser class for men) and Rudawski is competing in Laser Radial.
In the women’s Laser Radial (the women’s Olympic Laser category) the complete winners’ podium from the last Under 21 championship, held in Douarnenez (France), will be racing: Agata Barwinska (Poland), Daphne Van der Vaart (Holland) and Real Club Náutico sailor Martina Reino. Martina, who won the ISAF Youth Worlds in Portugal this summer, is one of the host club’s trump cards.
The 2.4mR class (Paralympic) is making its début during the Canary Islands Olympic Sailing Week. It will also be a first for the new RCNGC team, comprising José Guerra (second in the Spanish series this year) and Javier Ugarte. The Canary Islanders will be competing against four Finnish sailors.
Five countries will be racing in the RS:X class (sail boards) and competition in the catamarans (Nacra and Formula 18) will be between the Germans and Austrians.
Translated from Spanish by Jane McGrath