Lewin-LaFrance sisters come four spots away from qualifying a spot in 49erFX for Canada at Paris 2024
Kingston, August 16, 2023 – John McRoberts (Victoria, B.C.-RVicYC) and Scott Lutes (Mahone Bay, N.S. – LYC) won a bronze medal in the RS Venture Connect parasailing class today at the 2023 Sailing World Championships held until Sunday in The Hague, Netherlands.
Competing against 15 other teams which were representing a total of 15 countries, McRoberts and Lutes finished each of the 10 races held in the top six, including four wins. Placed third before the last race held on Wednesday, the Canadian team took fourth place to maintain their third-place spot.
Ange Margaron and Olivier Ducruix from France won the gold medal, followed by Pedro Reis and Guilherme Ribeiro from Portugal, and the Canadian team.
It was the first time that parasailing events were held at the Sailing World Championships, a competition held every four years since 2003 by World Sailing. In the Hague, more than 70 parasailors took part in the competition, where four events were held, including the RS Venture Connect, 2.4 Norlin OD, as well as the Men’s and Women’s Hansa 303 classes.
“It’s a good result, but I still find it a little disappointing,” said John McRoberts, a two-time Paralympic Games medalist. “We just couldn’t get our groove today. I have no idea why: the boat was fine, Scott did a great job. We just kept getting bounced. It wasn’t a great day on the water for us.”
“It took us a little while to get going and keep our groove,” added Scott Lutes, a bronze medalist at the 2016 Paralympic Games. “I understand John’s feeling: the last thing you remember is the last race. When it’s not shining after you’ve been shining in the previous day, it’s a little tougher to take.”
“But I think that overall, we sailed some great races and I think John underestimates himself a bit in that regard, and he can hold his head high from the way we sailed overall this week,” added Scott Lutes with a smile.
Canada comes four spots away from qualifying a spot in 49erFX for the Paris 2024 Olympics
In 49erFX (women’s skiff), the lone representatives from Canada, Antonia & Georgia Lewin-LaFrance (Chester, N.S.), ended the competition in 13th place overall.
“We are really happy because we finished on a high as we came in second in the last race today. Overall, it was an improvement on yesterday’s racing for us,” said Antonia and Georgia Lewin-LaFrance, who were taking part in their first-ever Sailing World Championships.
“Our goal was actually to finish among the top 15, so we are really happy with our 13th-place position. We think it’s right above where we should be.”
At the 2023 World Sailing Championships, countries were able for the very first time to qualify spots for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games in every Olympic event, including the first 10 countries in 49erFX, and based on the fact that only one athlete/team per country in each class can take part in the Olympic Games.
Following all the races held before the medal race, which includes the top 10 teams after the first 15 races at this competition, the first 10 countries to qualify a spot for Paris 2024 in 49erFX are Sweden, the Netherlands, Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, New Zealand, the USA, Norway, Spain and Denmark. These teams that finished in the top 10 will also take part in the medal race to be held Friday.
Canada’s next opportunity to get sailors competing in the 49erFX event at Paris 2024 will be at the Santiago 2023 Pan American Games. The country will do so by winning gold, or silver if the USA finish first, as they qualified a spot in the Hague.
Full qualification processes for countries to qualify spots at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, as well as for Canadians to qualify themselves to be nominated to the Paris 2024 Team Canada squad, are available at https://www.sailing.ca/sc_event/2024-olympic-games/.
About Sail Canada
Established in 1931, Sail Canada is the national governing body for the sport of sailing in the country. Sail Canada is a leading international sailing nation, proud of its world class athletes, lifelong participants and inclusive culture. The organization and its members are committed to excellence by developing and training its leaders, athletes, sailors, instructors, coaches and officials. With the valued support from our partners, the Provincial Sailing Associations and our member clubs, schools, organizations and stakeholders, sailing is promoted in all its forms. By setting standards and delivering programs from home pond to podium for Canadians of all ages and abilities, from dinghies to keelboats, cruising to navigation, windsurfing to powerboating and accessible sailing, Sail Canada sets sail for all, sail to win and sail for life.
A sport in the Olympic program since the first Games in 1896, except in 1904, the pursuit of success in these Games is what fuels the focus of Sail Canada as Canadian athletes have so far achieved nine Olympic and five Paralympic medals.