Monday, May 20, 2024

Paris 2024 | Sailing becomes foiling – is Van Opzeeland following in Badloe’s golden footsteps?

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What: Sailing (foiling)
Where: Marseille (Mediterranean Sea)
When: July 28 – August 8
Where to see: Eurosport 1 & HBO Max
Dutch participants: Luuc van Opzeeland and Sara Wennekes (IQFoil), Annelous Lammerts (Kitefoil) and Laila van der Meer/Bjarne Bouwer (Nacra 17)
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Half of sailing classes will be foiling at the Olympic Games

At the Olympic Games this summer we will see many sailors, windsurfers and kiters flying over the water. Foiling takes place in five different sailing disciplines. That’s a lot, because during the previous Olympic cycle this was only one discipline. At that time, kite sport was not yet an Olympic sport.

Foiling should make sailing more spectacular and therefore more attractive. But what exactly is foiling and which Dutch people will we see within this discipline?

The sailors, windsurfers and kiters all fall under the Olympic sailing component. The sailing tournament will also not take place in Paris, where most sports compete for medals. The sailors move to Marseille, where there is slightly more water available thanks to the Mediterranean Sea.

A total of ten Olympic sailing classes will soon compete there on the waters of Marseille. So five of these are now foiling. This concerns Nacra 17, Kitefoil (man and woman) and IQFoil (man and woman). The Nacra 17 has been the foiling Olympic class since the Rio Games in 2016. Kitefoil and IQFoil are making their entrance at these Games.

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Tokyo 2020 | Interview with Kiran Badloe before medal race

What is foiling?

When foiling, the boat or board is lifted out of the water. This is done by means of a kind of wing under the boat or plank. In the case of the sailing boat, the foil is an extension of the centreboard, which ensures that the boat does not drift. There is now a kind of mini-wing in the extension. On both planks, the foil is located where the skeg is, further back.

With sufficient boat speed, the wing ensures that the boat (or board) comes out of the water and then flies on the wing over the water. It is spectacular because it allows the sailors to reach much higher speeds. There is less resistance from the water. The speed naturally creates more tension on the water, as the sailors have to make decisions faster, but it is also more spectacular for the public to watch.

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The Ocean Race | Skipper Team Malizia steps on foil to cut away fishing net

Who will be foiling on behalf of TeamNL?

Within the windsurfing class we have the IQFoil, which is actually the new RS:X. We as the Netherlands have had a lot of success on the RS:X with double Olympic champion Dorian van Rijsselberghe and his successor Kiran Badloe also managed to win the gold medal during the Tokyo 2020 Games with force majeure.

Badloe then switched to the IQFoil, but the competition in this new and spectacular class was fierce. Badloe had to recognize his superior in the qualification process in Luuc van Opzeeland. Van Opzeeland became world champion last summer during the Sailing World Championships in Scheveningen and is now going to the Olympic Games on behalf of the Netherlands, where he is a contender for a gold medal.

Among the women we also see a new face on the board. On the RS:X, Lilian de Geus was the largest. Although she never won an Olympic medal, she did win three world titles. After the Tokyo Games, she also switched to the IQFoil. Here she faced competition from Sara Wennekes. Last January, Wennekes won the internal battle for the Olympic ticket. Although she has been involved in the windsurfing circuit for many years, she is now heading into the Games in the relaxed position of underdog.

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Tokyo 2020 | Badloe on course for gold after good results in races 11 and 12

Eyes on Annelous Lammerts on the Kitefoil

The Olympic Games are completely new for kitesurfers. Annelous Lammerts will go to the Games on behalf of the Netherlands in the Kitefoil female class. No one among the men managed to meet the requirements for participation… they will focus on the 2028 Games. Lammerts has always been successful in the kitesurfing circuit, in the freestyle discipline.

When her sport became an Olympic sport, she knew she had to seize this opportunity. Olympic kitesurfing looks slightly different, it is not a jury sport but a speed sport. The kite surfers, like all other sailing classes, compete in a competition for the buoys. The one who crosses the finish line first wins. So Lammerts actually had to learn a new sport, but with her familiar kitesurfing equipment.

She has made a lot of progress and recently won silver at the European Kite Foiling Championships. With this, Lammerts managed to secure her Olympic ticket.

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Dutch duo in Nacra 17 quickly reach the world top

Laila van der Meer and Bjarne Bouwer have sailed themselves onto the world stage in a short period of time in the Nacra 17. This is the only sailing boat on foils. Tokyo 2020 came too early for this duo. Although the two were close to qualifying, they fell just short. They then focused entirely on the Games in Marseille.

Van der Meer and Bouwer made rapid progress, finishing fourth during the World Sailing Championships in The Hague last year. During the European Championships later that year, they secured their Olympic ticket with a tenth place.

The Olympic sailing tournament in Marseille will take place from July 28 to August 8.

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