A couple of things to know about sailing:
1. The World Championships are held once every four years, and we don’t have one until December in Perth, Australia.
2. The Tornado (two-sailor, mixed) and Yngling (three-woman) classes are out. Enter the Elliot (three-woman) match-racing class.
3. One boat per nation per event. A lot of berths will be earned at Worlds.
Men’s sailboard (RS:X, or as we call it, windsurfing): Israel has two in the top five — the eccentrically named Nimrod Mashich at No. 1 and 2008 bronze medalist Shahar Zubari at No. 5. Poland has No. 2 and No. 4. The other sailor in the top five is France’s Julien Bontemps, the 2008 silver medalist. Gold medalist Tom Ashley is at No. 25. Expect turnover: Eight of the top 18 in the rankings were ranked No. 1 at one point.
2008: Tom Ashley (New Zealand), Julien Bontemps (France), Shahar Zubari (Israel)
Projection: Israel, Poland, France
Top Americans: Ben Barger is 41st.
Women’s sailboard (RS:X): Spain has two in the top three — No. 1 Blanca Malchon and No. 3 Marina Alabau. In the middle is 2008 medalist and British hopeful Bryony Shaw. France has four of the next seven.
2008: Yin Jian (China), Alessandra Sensini (Italy), Bryony Shaw (Britain)
Projection: Spain, Britain, France
Top Americans: Farrah Hall is 41st.
Men’s dinghy (Laser): Tough choice for Britain here — 2008 gold medalist Paul Goodison is third in the rankings, one behind countryman Nick Thompson. Australia’s Tom Slingsby is first by a substantial margin, and there’s another gap between No. 4 Javier Hernandez of Spain and the rest of the field.
2008: Paul Goodison (Britain), Vasilij Žbogar (Slovenia), Diego Romero (Italy)
Projection: Australia, Britain, Spain
Top Americans: Clay Johnson is 20th.
Women’s dinghy (Laser Radial): Gold medalist Anna Tunnicliffe is now sailing in the match racing (Elliot 6m) class, re-opening the door for fellow American Paige Railey, world female sailor of the year in 2006. She’s third in the rankings behind the Netherlands’ Marit Bouwmeester and Belgium’s Evi Van Acker. The hunch here is that Railey will be more than ready for London.
2008: Anna Tunnicliffe (USA), Gintarė Volungevičiūtė (Lithuania), Xu Lijia (China)
Projection: USA, Netherlands, Belgium
Top Americans: Should be all Railey this time around.
Men’s two-man dinghy (470): Gold medalist crewman Malcolm Page is No. 1 again with Mathew Belcher. Britain has a boat with neither of the 2008 silver medalists in the top three in the rankings, behind an entry from Croatia. France is the only country with two entries in the top 11 — No. 11 is bronze medalist Nicolas Charbonnier with two different crewmen.
2008: Nathan Wilmot/Malcolm Page (Australia), Nick Rogers/Joe Glanfield (Britain), Nicolas Charbonnier/Olivier Bausset (France)
Projection: Australia, Britain, France
Top Americans: Stuart McNay and Graham Biehl are within striking range of a medal at seventh place.
Women’s two-woman dinghy (470): The 2008 medalists have more or less disappeared — silver medalist crew Lobke Berkhout is 11th with new partner Lisa Westerhof, and bronze medalist Isabel Swan is 14th with Martine Soffiatti Grael. France’s Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux are first, just ahead of Italy’s Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol. Then it’s a gaggle of British sailors — Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes are third, while Hannah Mills has gone through four crew members in seven events to rank fourth. France has two more boats in the top seven.
2008: Elise Rechichi/Tessa Parkinson (Australia), Marcelien de Koning/Lobke Berkhout (Netherlands), Fernanda Oliveira/Isabel Swan (Brazil)
Projection: France, Italy, Britain
Top Americans: Erin Maxwell/Isabelle Kinsolving ninth; Amanda Clark/various crew 15th.
49er: Theoretically mixed-gender in the past, but I didn’t see any women’s names, and they’re just calling it “men” this around. Good luck sorting out the British bid — the hosts have four of the top seven boats. Austria’s Nico Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch are No. 1. After two British entries, Italy’s Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello are fourth.
2008: Jonas Warrer/Martin Kirketerp (Denmark), Iker Martinez de Lizarduy/Xabier Fernandez (Spain), Jan-Peter Peckolt/Hannes Peckolt (Germany)
Projection: Austria, Britain, Italy
Top Americans: Erik Storck and Trevor Moore are No. 14 with a bullet, climbing from 69th two years ago.
Finn: Three-time gold medalist Ben Ainslie dabbles in other forms of racing, including America’s Cup, but he does intend to make another run in 2012. In his relative absence from the Finn scene, the top three are Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, American silver medalist Zach Railey (Paige Railey’s brother) and Britain’s Giles Scott. Spain’s Rafa Trujillo Villar, a former No. 1, is fourth.
2008: Ben Ainslie (Britain), Zach Railey (USA), Guillaume Florent (France)
Projection: Britain, Croatia, USA
Top Americans: Just Railey in the top 25.
Men’s keelboat (Star): Lots of crew-juggling in this event. Silver medalist Robert Scheidt has the No. 1 slot, sometimes with Olympic partner Bruno Prada and sometimes in a mixed-nationality boat. Bronze medalist Fredrik Look has two new crewmen and ranks third. Germany’s Johannes Polgar has crashed the party with three different crewmen to rank second. Fourth is Italy’s Diego Negri, also with three different boatmates.
2008: Iain Percy/Andrew Simpson (Britain), Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prada (Brazil), Fredrik Loof/Anders Ekstrom (Sweden)
Projection: Brazil, Germany, Sweden
Top Americans: Andrew Campbell has gone through four crewmen in seven events and still ranks fifth. Right behind him is former No. 1 George Szabo, juggling three crewmen.
Women’s match race (Elliot 6m): Britain’s Lucy MacGregor leads the No. 1 boat, recently deposing France’s Claire Leroy. Two other boats in the top five — from the Netherlands and Australia — have held the No. 1 spot. Americans are No. 3 and No. 6.
2008: Not contested
Projection: Britain, France, USA
Top Americans: Anna Tunnicliffe moved from one competitive class to another. She and her crew ranked sixth at the moment, three places behind Olympic Yngling-class veteran Sally Barkow.
Defunct classes and 2008 medals:
Tornado: Spain, Australia, Argentina
Yngling: Britain, Netherlands, Greece
[table id=15 /]