Sixty-three crews from 27 countries will participate in the first major challenge of the 2024 mixed 470 class season, the 470 World Championship, which will take place at Club Nàutic S’Arenal (Mallorca-Spain) from February 24th to March 3rd. The event will decide four Olympic spots for Paris 2024.
With just a few months until the Paris 2024, the world championships are a critical test to assess the teams’ form as they head into the final stretch towards Olympic glory next summer.
The mixed 470 class will hold its 2024 World Championship (470 World Championship) at Club Nàutic S’Arenal (CNA) from February 24th to March 3rd. While some crews may focus solely on performing well in the bay of Palma, others have the additional pressure of needing to qualify their country for the Games. And for some countries, this event is an important part of their selection process to decide who will represent their nation at the Games.
The best in the world
A glance at the entry list confirms that Arenal will bring together the top specialists in the mixed 470 class. The current world champions, the Japanese duo Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka, who dominated the 2023 Worlds in the Netherlands, will be present, as will their predecessors, the Germans Luise Wanser and Philipp Autenrieth, who won the 2022 title in Israel.
China (with six crews), France (four), Germany (six), and Great Britain (six) are landing at the Worlds with particularly strong teams, but all eyes will be on the local team: the one formed by Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman. Current leaders of the overall ranking in the class, the Spanish representatives for Paris 2024 arrive in great form with the intention of improving on the second place obtained in the last two World Championships.
Andreas Kosmatopoulos, former 470 world champion and five-time Olympic representative for Greece, is the president of the International 470 Class. In his opinion, “we are going to see a great competition in the bay of Palma. Here, four Olympic qualification spots are decided for Africa, South America, North America, and Europe, so the pressure is on. Everyone will be at their best, and no one will hold back.”
Arenal, four years later
The CNA was designated to host the 2020 edition of the 470 World Championship, but the pandemic first postponed and then cancelled the event. Ferrán Muniesa, general manager of the CNA, remembers: “The cancellation of the 2020 edition was a hard blow because the day it was cancelled was the same day we started the measurements. Part of the organizing team had already arrived, and others were on their way. And it was a disappointment because that year we had two World Championships (470 and Finn), it was an Olympic year, and we were very excited and eager. Organizing a World Championship in an Olympic year is doubly exciting because it’s like a prelude to the Games.”
Muniesa recalls that it’s not the first time his club has hosted a 470 World Championship: “Arenal already organized a 470 World Championship in September 1998, and it was a very important regatta for the club at that time. In 2016, we hosted the European Championship, and now the Worlds. The 470 class has always felt at home at Arenal; we love hosting them. It’s a class that has brought Spain sailors with medal-winning quality: Theresa Zabell, Jordi Calafat, Natalia Via Dufresne, Jordi Xammar,…”.
The CNA’s manager highlights the importance of this event, as it will allow teams to extend their stay in Mallorca to continue working on their Olympic preparation: “it gives them the opportunity to be here for a long period, this February, March, and until the end of the Sofía”. The 53rd Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar will take place from March 29th to April 6th.
“In good hands”
The choice of CNA is not coincidental, as the president of the 470 class highlights: “We are very happy to hold the Worlds in Palma. We owed it to them to come back and finish what we started in 2020.” For Kosmatopoulos, holding the event in El Arenal is a guarantee: “With all they know about organizing great regattas every year, including the great success of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía Mallorca by Iberostar every spring, we are in good hands. The bay of Palma can offer a wide range of conditions, flat water or big waves, light, medium, or strong winds. Winning in Palma requires very complete sailing, the true test of a world champion.”
The 470 World Championship 2024 will kick off on Monday, February 26th, with training races and the end of registrations and measurements. The first qualifying race is scheduled for 12:00 hours on Tuesday, February 27th. After three days of qualifying races and two days of Gold Fleet, the top ten teams will decide the title in the Medal Race on the sixth and final day of competition, Sunday, March 3rd.
The 470 World Championship 2024 is organized by the CNA and the Asociación Española de 470 in collaboration with the International 470 Class Association and the Real Federación Española de Vela.