After a long and unplanned delay in action, the 470 Class is eager and primed for the 2021 World Championship on March 8-18 in Vilamoura, Portugal. A year has passed since the 2020 Worlds in Spain were cancelled in response to COVID-19’s global escalation.
Nikki Barnes (St. Thomas, USVI), 470 women’s skipper of Perfect Vision Sailing (USA 1810), recalled hearing murmurs throughout the boat park as news headlines made their way to the public. After travel restrictions were abruptly announced on March 12, 2020, all 470s were packed up, the venue emptied, and competitors booked the first flight home.
The 2020 Worlds were to serve as the final Olympic qualification event for the USA Women’s 470 fleet. Three women’s teams – each separated by mere points in their quest to qualify for Tokyo – quickly reevaluated the next year, adjusted their plans, and mentally prepared for another year of training.
Finally, the highly anticipated World Championship event is here, and as the last event of the Women’s 470 Olympic Trials, the regatta results will determine which team will represent Team USA in Japan this summer. The three US teams – Atlantic and Nora Brugman (Winthrop, Mass.), Carmen and Emma Cowles (Larchmont, NY), and Nikki Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss (Hugo, Minn.) – have dedicated an extra year to their campaigns, eager to secure their spot to Tokyo.
Over the past year, the three teams took varying approaches to their extended campaigns,…