Held every four years in the year before the Summer Olympics, the PanAm Games serve as an important Olympic qualifying event for countries across the Americas. In total, over 5,000 athletes from 40 countries competed across 39 sports. Competition ran from October 20th – November 6th in various venues in the Santiago region of Chile. The sailing competition was held in the coastal resort town of Algarrobo, Chile, an hour west of Santiago. Algarrobo is best known for its population of Humboldt penguins, being the site of the second longest swimming pool in the world, and intense wind and waves. The latter contributed to an event full of intense racing and thrills alike. And right there in the mix were eight MarkSetBots.
This year marked the first time that Bots were used at the PanAm Games and Algarrobo proved to be the perfect location for their debut. Deep water presented the first challenge with many circles having depths of 70-90 meters. Through many days of racing, the intense wind and waves of Algarrobo were on display. Waves of 3-4 meters were consistently reported across the courses, with one course recording a wave as large as 6 meters. These factors combined to make setting traditional anchors a difficult feat. But in deep water, high winds and extreme waves, MarkSetBot consistently delivered excellent courses for the sailors and simplified course-setting for the race committee.
Setting courses in these extreme conditions required an experienced team. The PanAm Games Sailing Committee had a team of expert mark layers that assisted in towing the Bots to and from the course and deploying them on the course. The Bots were split across two courses, but had multiple classes racing around them throughout the event including, Nacras, Sunfish, ILCAs and iQFoils. The two courses were run with the help of our new South American dealer, Oceanic.
Racing was tight across all the fleets with the United States proving tough to beat, winning nine medals overall, including four gold medals. Brazil and Argentina also had stellar performances, winning six and five medals respectfully.
Check out some of the highlights in the video below!
With several Olympic qualifying spots up for grabs (ILCA, Nacra 17, IQ Foil, 49er, 49er FX, Formula Kite), competiton was fierce. In non-Olympic classes (Snipe, Lightning, Sunfish), the PanAm Games serve as one of the most elite competitons in each class. Most unique to the PanAm Games is that it is one of the few events that sees Olympic classes competing so closely to non-olympic classes, serving as a great opportunity for sailors to meet and interact.
Following the games, many Team USA sailors will see their next round of competition at the US Olympic Team Trials in Miami, Florida in January, 2024.