The sailing portion of the games were sailed from March 12th to 17th, on the Pacific Ocean off Valparaiso, about one hour west of the track & field and swimming events being held in Santiago. The one-design boats included in the event were Lasers, Snipes, Sunfish, Lightnings and J/24s. As one might expect, the best teams from Argentina, Chile, Peru and Brazil fought for the coveted medal positions on the podium. In the end, it was the Brazilian team from Veleiros do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil that earned the Gold Medal, led by skipper Samuel Albrecht and with a crew of champion sailors like Georgia Silva (a 2014 Olympic Sailing Team member) and Frederick Sidou and Alexander Rimoli (together they helped the Soto 40 CREOLE win the 2013 Eduardo Souza Ramos Cup- the de-facto Brazilian/ World Championship for Soto 40s).
The J/24 fleet sailed eleven races in winds that varied greatly in strength and direction. In fact, the last day all races were canceled due to fog and no wind.
The Crioula Brazil team led by Albrecht only won by three points, compiling a scoreline of 1-1-5-4-1-4-2-4-1-2 in ten races, discarding a 5th for 20 pts net. Said Mr. Albrecht, “we were surprised by the result. We aimed to be on the podium, but we were not expecting to win the gold. We knew our potential because of our victory in the Brazilian team qualifiers, but still we were surprised . Our team is to be congratulated! I also wanted to thank all the support we've had from Brazilian team this week!”
The Brazilian Team coach Mr. Samuca also commented on the championship. "The wind conditions, the number of races and boats donated by the organization, everything was perfect. Contestants also had great one-design level competition, it was great to see all the boats sailing together. Winning was hard, it shows that the J/24 class remains strong in South America. It also shows that with training you can get to victory. Brazil sailed very well and were well-represented in the medal count, we had medals in 5 of 6 classes (Lasers- Silver/ Bronze, Snipe- Gold, J/24- Gold, Lightning- Bronze).
The other excellent performance of the regatta was the Argentina Sailing Team that took the silver medal. The Mendieta Argentine team led by Pancho Van Avermaete (and crew Rafael De Martis & Geronimo Van Avermaete), had been leading the regatta for awhile, but lost the lead in the last two races. The Argentine’s record was 5-2-1-2-4-2-1-1-5-5, discarding a 5th, for 23 pts net.
Taking the bronze medal on the podium was the “hometown favorite”, Chile’s own Vernon Roberts. The Chileans started out slowly, got in a few good races in the middle of the regatta, but couldn’t keep their consistency. They scored DSQ-6-4-3-3-1-5-2-3-3, discarding the 8th/DSQ for 30 pts net. Rounding out the top five were Peru’s Luis Alberto Olcese in fourth and another Chilean team, Matias Seguel, taking fifth.
Sailing photo credits- Berni Grez For more ODESUR South American Games sailing information