Jonathan Lobert – Photo c Robert Deaves
Opel Finn Gold Cup at Balaton, Hungary
Jonathan Lobert, from France, has taken the lead at the Opel Finn Gold Cup at Balatonföldvár, Hungary. Though he led both races on Day 2 at some point, the tricky Balaton breeze got the better of him twice and the race wins went to Brit, Ed Wright and Swede, Max Salminen. Salminen is now in second with Facundo Olezza, from Argentina, third.
The forecast was for slightly less wind than Monday and from further to the south. But it was still shifty and tricky with many place changes through the fleet. Huge gains and losses could be made with a few lucky, or unlucky, decisions.
Race 3 got away first time in 10-14 knots. Jake Lilley, from Australia, rounded first from Lobert and Ioannis Mitakis, from Greece. Lobert flew down the run to lead through the gate and looked to be heading for a win. However, a big right-hand shift on the second beat shuffled the leading pack, with new U23 World Champion, Oskari Muhonen, from Finland, leading Wright round the final top mark.
Nicholas Heiner, from the Netherlands, also made gains and was soon chasing the leaders downwind and just moved into second just before the final mark, with Mitakis moving back up to third. Lobert crossed some way back in ninth.
Max Salminen – photo c Robert Deaves
It took some time to get Race 4 away. The wind initially started to drop, but after a 30 minute postponement, was back up to 10-12 knots. One general recall and two black flag starts pulled out seven boats, including overall leader Nenad Bugarin, from Croatia. Lobert was again in front at the top mark, after favouring the middle left, from Arkadiy Kistanov, from Russia, and Salminen. The same three led through the gate, but on the second upwind, the left side came in, with Lobert being more conservative in the middle, and losing out again.
Salminen came past at the top and extended downwind for a comfortable win. Lobert hung on for second and let a tightly packed group across the line with Olezza also gaining hugely to cross third.
Oliver Tweddell, from Australia, almost didn’t make it to the event, suffering from a broken finger. Only given the go ahead last week he is glad he made the decision, as he is now in 13th place, and top Australian, after a reasonable start to the week.
“It was quite an interesting day. We had big right-hand phases, followed by left-hand phases. It was quite shifty but it made the racing really interesting. I had a reasonable day.”
“It’s going to be a quite high scoring regatta, and especially considering my broken finger I am happy hanging in there when we’ve had free pumping every race.” He is hoping for no more free pumping for the rest of the week.
Facundo Olezza – photo c Robert Deaves
Olezza moves up to third after three top four places in a row.
“It’s very tricky because there are a lot of boats and it is very shifty and puffy all over the race course, so sometimes you just need to be a little bit lucky, and just look around.”
He is also not at his best this week with an illness. “Tough four races, with full free pumping. I am not in my best shape but will just sail the best I can. The first race [Monday] was not so good for me, but the next three were all top five so I am happy with that and looking forward to some more consistency.”
Wright has perhaps the most inconsistent scoreline so far with two wins, a 58th and a 19th. The former World Champion sits in 12th overall.
After winning the first race today, he was very deep in the second and struggling.
“It wasn’t looking too good at one stage. It’s one of those places where you can take some big chunks out of the fleet on the shifts. I managed to get lucky and round the second top mark pretty well. I went right at the bottom and left at the top. I think the right just ran out of pressure and I had a nice pressure on the left.”
“It’s quite choppy so a bit more pressure over the waves is a big help.”
Lobert could have come ashore with two bullets, but was nevertheless still less happy with a 9,2.
“In the first race I missed the right shift, and in the second race, I was a bit scared from the right in case it happened again so I was staying in the middle, and then it came from the left. You cannot control everyone.”
“It’s a bit frustrating but in those conditions you have to take what you have and in the end it’s two top ten, which is good, and will be a good average. It was a good day in the end.”
Nicholas Heiner – photo c Robert Deaves
It’s a big fleet with big start lines, big shifts and big pressure changes, with lots of sailors already picking up some big points. So it’s no real surprise that only one person in the top 10 has won a race. That could all change tomorrow when with one more race the discard comes in and we start to get a real picture of what is happening. Initial forecasts showed the wind dipping towards the end of the week, so all the sailors will be keen to make every race count.
Check out the links below to follow the racing on Twitter and Facebook. Most mark roundings and finishes are broadcast on Facebook Live through the Finn Class page.
Results after four races
1 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert FRA 27
2 SWE 33 Max Salminen SWE 31
3 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza ARG 37
4 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis GRE 38
5 POL 17 Piotr Kula POL 42
6 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner NED 52
7 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz HUN 57
8 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply CZE 62
9 GBR 91 Ben Cornish GBR 66
10 GBR 1 Henry Wetherell GBR 74
by Robert Deaves
2017 Opel Finn Gold Cup
Nenad Bugarin, from Croatia, is the early leader at the 2017 Opel Finn Gold Cup at Balatonföldvár, Hungary. Two very tricky races in shifty and patchy conditions left much of the fleet with at least one high score, but home favourite, Zsombor Berecz is second, with Piotr Kula, from Poland, in third. Ed Wright, from Britain, won the first race, while Bugarin won the second.
The time for preparation had ended and it was time to race. In the end, 113 Finns made it to the start line for some tight and tricky racing with the wind shifting hugely and varying from 10-16 knots.
After two false starts and a general recall, Oisin Mcclelland, from Ireland, rounded the top mark in Race 1 in first place after favouring the middle right. Jonathan Lobert, from France, was second at the top and briefly took the lead downwind before the right side came past in more pressure. But it was Wright, who led through the gate and extended up the second beat with a nice lead.
The right side came in strong on the second beat with Anders Pedersen, from Norway, coming through into second. The fleet closed up on Wright on the final downwind as the search for pressure became paramount. Lobert came through for second at the finish, while Berecz passed some boats to cross third.
There were huge pressure changes across the course, as well as wind shifts to cope with, and with such a large fleet the leverage from left to right was massive. If Race 1 was hard enough race 2, was about to get a whole lot harder.
Race 2 was started without Oscar, though it was raised at the top mark as the wind passed 10 knots. The corners were strong with those who bailed out of the left early struggling at the top. Facundo Olezza, from Argentina, rounded first from Deniss Karpak, from Estonia and Bugarin.
Karpak had been third for a while in the first race but had got lost on the second beat and dropped 20 places. In the second race he was good enough to hold his position and the top three boats separated from the fleet. Bugarin sailed well to take the lead on the second upwind and then sailed away from the fleet for a comfortable win, from Olezza and Karpak.
Lobert, the current European Champion, ended the day in fifth overall, and was happy with his day, despite a 15th in the second race.
“It’s hard to say what to do today. It was just ‘where is the wind’? I was just trying to use what I had and make the best of it.”
“In the first race we didn’t tack so much as they were quite big gusts and big shifts, but in the second race, it was very tricky. I think there were two winds, one from the right and sometimes one was coming from the left so you had to be at the right place when the wind was coming in. I was a bit unlucky at the beginning but at the end the left came back and it was a good call.”
Fourth placed Max Salminen, from Sweden, said, “I think the fleet was really keen to get racing, and we saw that at the start of the first race, but once we got away we had a really good race. It was shifty as we expected and back and forth and you had to be on your toes all the time – but that’s lake sailing.”
“I think in this big fleet and in these conditions, you have to be happy with what you get.”
The pressure on the race area is matched by the local pressure placed on the shoulders of Berecz, who delighted local supporters to end the day in second overnight.
“In the first race, I was always in the front. The second was a bit tougher for me as I missed one shift at the very last quarter of the first upwind and I put myself back into about 40th. But on the second upwind I gained it all back and managed to finish sixth, so a good day for me.”
Asked whether local knowledge gave him an advantage, “I don’t know this water at all. I know the other side much more. I was only sailing here when I was in Optimists, but actually, around the lake, it’s all the same in this wind direction. It’s very tricky, changing every two minutes or so, so let’s say I am quite used to it.”
Any secrets? “We can say there is a tendency in the wind and if you can find it and you can use it your way, then you can succeed.”
But the undisputed star of the first day was Bugarin. A fourth and a first is a great performance on a challenging day.
“I managed to have two good races. I did well all the time. It was tricky outside and my strategy was just to stay in clear air all the time and have the freedom to tack. That’s pretty much it.”
“Before the starts, I didn’t have a vision of what to do and the strategy was just to sail fast in clear air and I managed to do that two times and had really good speed upwind and downwind, so I am pretty happy after the first day.”
As one old and wise coach offered today, that in conditions like these, you are either very good or very unlucky. The good and the unlucky enjoyed a pizza party after racing and can look forward to two more races on Tuesday in slightly less wind but probably at least the same amount of trickiness.
Racing continues Tuesday at 10.00.
Follow the races using the links below.
Results after two races
1 CRO 52 Nenad Bugarin 5
2 HUN 40 Zsombor Berecz 9
3 POL 17 Piotr Kula 12
4 SWE 33 Max Salminen 13
5 FRA 112 Jonathan Lobert 16
6 EST 2 Deniss Karpak 21
7 CZE 5 Ondrej Teply 21
8 GRE 77 Ioannis Mitakis 25
9 NED 89 Nicholas Heiner 29
10 ARG 48 Facundo Olezza 30
Full results here.
49er & FX World Championship at Clube de Vela Atlântico – Overall
Denmark’s Hansen/Iversen and Britain’s Fletcher/Bithell take their first ever World titles on intense final day in Porto
Another day meant another obstacle from mother nature at the 2017 International 49er and FX World Championship, where an unstable land breeze teased the gold medal fleets on Saturday morning for their 10am start. Both the men’s 49er and the women’s FX skiff started races in 6-10 knots of Easterly breeze, only to see the wind shut off completely as they headed to their respected finish lines.
Some of the 140 teams from 27 nations were jumpy with anticipation and all enjoyed the warm summer Portuguese sun as they waited on the water for the forecast Northerly to fill in, and after nearly 2 and a half hours, it filled quickly. 8 knots became 12 became 16 gusting near 20 knots, allowing the men’s 49er fleet to pick up four more races and complete their championship.
The women’s FX fleet sailed two races before heading back to shore, and with the race deadline drifting close, officials sent the top ten teams out to the medal racing course – a tight, intense racetrack putting boat-handling and boat-on-boat tactics at a premium for thousands of beach-goers just meters from the action.
Spectators were treated to a full brawl between these top female athletes, with three teams from three different continents battling for the all-important podium spots and the title of 2017 World Champion. It was Rio 2016 all over again, and when leading Rio Bronze medallists Jena Hansen and Katja Iversen (DEN) capsized with a huge lead during the penultimate race of the event, Rio Gold winners Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze pounced, taking a 2nd place with third place Alex Malone and Molly Meech (NZL, Rio Silver Medallists) took the win.
“We actually let the mainsheet go at the top mark to be sure we wouldn’t have any problems, and a huge gust hit us at that moment and took us over,” said Hansen.
“We got a little annoyed but it was not the end of the world, and we knew in the final race we just needed to be close to the Brazilians to take the win.”
They’d pass Grael and Kunze anyway, and as they hoisted their Danish flag over their heads their boat capsized, the duo popping up quickly on the overturned boat, hugging and laughing. Hansen said her year off from 49er sailing was just what she and Iversen needed to win.
“We rediscovered each other this week, and maybe the key to our week was our relaxed feeling. And now it’s on to the next thing!”
Hansen will travel to Lisbon to meet with her Volvo Ocean crew-mates aboard Vestas 11th Hour Racing next week.
“It was exciting to be battling for the win against the other teams on the podium in Rio,” said Grael, who said she was extremely happy with their result.
“It’s way beyond what we expected because of all the other things we’ve been involved with, and we came to this championship a bit unprepared.” She will also be heading to join a Volvo Ocean Race team in the coming weeks.
Kiwi duo Maloney/Meech couldn’t finish the regatta with the form they began with; despite a blistering performance in the earlier rounds and a lead through the first half of the championship, they were relegated to the bronze position.
The championship wrapped up with an award heavily featuring the volunteers who played a huge part in keeping the championship on track, followed by a party for all the sailors.
Reigning European 49er Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell (GBR) had a smoother road than the Danish champs to their first-ever World Championship win, but training partners James Peters and Fynn Sterritt still had a mathematical chance to take them down going into the final race of the championship.
“We knew we were guaranteed a silver going into the last race and the only way James and Finn could beat us was to win it with us getting 4th or worse,” said Fletcher, who stayed on top of Peters to the windward mark.
“We thought we’d done the job and the job was over, but we let them split from us and it was looking bad for a little while with us pretty far back,” he said. As they’ve done in race after race the European champions battled right back, eyes glued to Peters and Sterritt on the other side of the course.
“We were a little nervous but it was a long way for them to get into the lead, and that’s how it ended.”
Peters/Sterritt would complete the front row lockout for the British Sailing Team by taking their first Worlds podium, with Austrian standouts Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl finishing out the money spots and the 2017 Worlds.
One secret spectator was especially interested in the results: Rio Gold medallist, new America’s Cup champion wing trimmer, Mapfre Volvo Ocean Race crew and 4-time World Champion crew Blair Tuke watched the finals from the water before joining the broadcast team in the studio to discuss the reasons for his trip to Porto.
“We’ve made it no secret that Pete and I love sailing the 49er, we’ll wait until the Volvo is over, see how the Cup shapes up, and we’d love to give the 49er fleet another crack,” said Tuke. When commentators pressed him to commit to his return, he made it clear it was a priority but stopped short of giving a date.
“It’ll be a year before the Volvo is finished, so we’ll have a chat then and figure out if we’re ready for the challenge of the 49er again,” he said.
Event website: 49er.org/event/2017-world-championship
Photo © Ricardo Pinto
Day 5 – 49er & FX World Championship at Clube de Vela Atlântico, Porto
The Portuguese tradewinds were in full howl over Matosinhos, Portugal as Day 5 dawned on the 2017 49er/FX World Championships. With the top 20 qualifiers advancing to the gold fleet semifinal round and the remainder battling for silver, only the teams who could keep their boats upright would avoid falling in the results.
Olympic silver medallists Jena Hansen and Katja Iversen (DEN) have never won a World title, but the only top women’s team to avoid a capsize may be on the verge of their first. The powerful Danish team achieved a mid fleet first race in 12-15 knots, but there was no looking back from that point on as they went on to a 1,2,1 in the final three races.
“Katja and I talked a lot about the techniques and manoeuvrers so we were always on the same page,” Hansen said. She added that they ‘fell down on our butts a few times in the middle of a gybe, but we were always able to save it.”
Hansen and Iversen were still in the boat park hours after racing ended. We’re making some new trapezes to make sure they last for tomorrow,”
Hansen explained to a reporter. “Confidence in our gear is one of the most important things to have in this breeze.” When asked what message she wanted to send to her fans, Hansen pulled no punches. “Tomorrow you’ll see more kicking butt, we’ll be fully switched on as we are every day out there.”
Hansen/Iversen may sit on a significant 5-point lead, but if not for a single capsize from each of the three teams just behind, they might still be in fourth place. The most heartbreaking swim came surprisingly in the slightly lighter air of race 2, when the British Sailing Team’s Charlotte Dobson and Saskia – who’d sailed a perfect race to that point with a huge lead – flipped just meters from the finish. “We had an awkward angle for that final gybe right on top of the gate mark, and with the skewed waves it was a tough manoeuver and we didn’t get it done,” said Dobson.
Dobson/Tidey would currently lead the Championship had they sailed that final 20 meters without a hitch, but Tidey says it’s all part of sailing.
“That’s the game of sailing, isn’t it, and we’ve got another day to go out and give it our all,” she said. “You have those moments and you just have to put them out of your mind and reset, and just go out and give it everything you’ve got again.” Tidey and Dobson did just that: Their 3,4,4 results in the other races have them sitting in fourth place, and while it’s an uphill battle to get to the top of the leaderboard, Tidey says there is no quit in them. “We will go out there and send it around the course as the strongest team on the course, and give it socks!” Tidey said cryptically.
Olympic gold and silver medallists Grael/Kunze and Maloney/Meech each capsized once in the final, ultra-windy race, finishing seconds from each other in 10th and 11th position. They sit in the silver and bronze positions going into the final day of action.
As the FX fleets finished racing for the day, PRO David “CJ” Campbell-James abandoned all racing for the day. “31 knots on the course, massive seas, and no real prospect of any relief until sundown… it’s frustrating, but going out there now would be unsafe so we’ll resume in the morning,” said CJ.
Photo © Maria Muina / www.sailingshots.es
Men’s 49ers abandoned on penultimate day of worlds
Surprisingly for a team with a solid lead for what would be their first-ever World Title, 2017 European Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell were disappointed to have missed more sailing.
“With the way we’ve been sailing in this breeze, we were looking forward to the opportunity to put more good finishes on the board and go have some fun,” said Fletcher as he inspected every inch of their boat.
The team scored three straight bullets to take the lead on Thursday, and with their boat in perfect preparation, they’re feeling good about their chances.
“Yesterday was awesome fun – it’s exactly why we sail the 49er, and a big confidence builder with the upwind and downwind pace we had,” said Fletcher. “We hope the breeze plays ball and we can put on a bit of a show for everybody.”
The End Is Nigh
The final day of racing begins at 1000 hrs on Saturday with the men’s 49ers, with the FX fleet following. Weather permitting, the medal races – short, intense races for the top 10 teams in each fleet – will take place in the early afternoon.
Event website: 49er.org/event/2017-world-championship
photo © Ricardo Pinto
49er & FX World Championship at Clube de Vela Atlântico, Portugal
Maloney & Meech rock FX fleet with four wins in big northerly
For four years, three teams have worked together as training partners for the benefit of them all, even as they battled at every event for gold and glory in the 49er FX, the women’s Olympic skiff class. They’ve fought over World and European Championships, they’ve fought over World Cups, and their battle for Olympic Gold wasn’t over until the final leg of the final race in Rio De Janeiro – and all three teams medalled.
We’re talking about Rio gold medallists Martine Grael/Kahena Kunze (BRA), silver winners Alex Maloney/Molly Meech (NZ), and Bronze winners Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN), and it’s no surprise to anyone that three perennial performers top the 2017 World Championship leaderboard at the conclusion of the Qualifying Rounds for the 49er FX.
Meech says she was surprised with their blinding 1,2,1,1 performance in 15-20 knots of Portuguese Trades and combined seas of 2 metres.
“We’ve always liked windier conditions, but still we were surprised with our performance in such a tough fleet without the best starts,” said Meech, who runs the front of the boat while Maloney helms at the back.
“We were aiming for good, consistent results to finish out the qualification rounds, but Alex and I were really in sync with each other and sometimes that can be the most important thing.”
Maloney and Meech showed an incredible turn of speed on every downwind run in the sporty seas, but still, Meech was a bit surprised with their speed advantage over nearly every other team in their split fleet.
“Normally we’re in the front with the top boats upwind, but downwind was really tricky today just trying to deal with the big waves,” said Maloney.
Due to the fleet splits, the two Kiwi standouts haven’t yet faced Grael and Kunze at this Worlds, but they’re sure that the Brazilian gold medalists – along with Denmark’s Hansen and Iversen – will bring their best to the 20-boat Gold fleet tomorrow morning.
“We’ve trained with the Brazilians quite a lot over the past four years and with Katja and Jena as well, and whenever we’ve been sailing together with them,
we’re always pushing each other to the edge,” said Meech. Hansen agreed;
“We’re fast in part because they’ve helped to make us fast, and they’re fast because we’ve helped them too,” said the Danish skipper.
Past World Champions and Rio Olympians Tamara Echegoyan and Berta Betanzos suffered in the big breeze – a surprise to many who’ve followed these powerful, experienced sailors for years. Several ragged capsizes made it a long, wet day for the Spanish duo, but they held on to 13th place, escaping the gold fleet cutoff of 20.
As the women’s fleets returned to the Club de Vela Atlantico, the breeze picked up yet another notch, settling in at a brisk 20 knots from due North. Capsizes, gear failures, and even seasickness beat up numerous crews, but none of it fazed newly crowned European Champions Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell at all. The British Olympic skipper and his new-for-2017 crew (a former Olympic medalist in the 470 Class) couldn’t put a foot wrong today, taking all three races on the Alpha course and carrying a four-point lead into the Gold Fleet action on Friday.
© Maria Muina / www.sailingshots.es
Fletcher & Bithell come on strong with three bullets
It was moving day for Diego Botin and Iago Lopez, the young Spanish duo notching a 2,3,5 score to overcome yesterday’s UFD and move into second place overall – their best ever current position at a Worlds. For Botin the position is good but he knows it doesn’t mean much, especially with two boats tied with them on points.
“Everything will be decided tomorrow and Saturday, we’re basically starting over now,” said Botin, who nearly threw away Race 5 with a capsize at the top mark. “I dropped the tiller at the last tack at the top mark so we flipped, but we were lucky the wind was so strong and so many of the other boats had problems,” said Botin.
Lopez explained that the runs were extremely tough to handle; “The waves were nasty downwind, requiring big eases of the gennaker every five seconds or so,” he said. “Also finding a flat spot for the gybe was rare, and that’s why you saw so many teams overstanding the bottom marks.”
The strong German sailors we wrote about yesterday continued to excel in the big breeze, with two veteran and two youth teams advancing to Gold Fleet at the end of the day – double the number of any other nation. While the success of Schmidt/Boehme (3rd) and Heil/Ploessel (6th) after Day 4 surprised no one, youth sailors everywhere should rejoice to see two young German teams advance to the Worlds Gold Fleet for the first time. Nils Carstensen (22) and Jan Frigge (23) pulled an ultra-consistent 8,7,7 in the ultra-chaotic conditions to take 15th place after 6 races, while Jakob Meggendorfer and Andreas Spranger squeaked through into the semi-final round in the last available position – 20th place.
The 20 and 21 year old phenoms seem to eat big breeze for breakfast – they showed poise and speed far beyond their years in Kiel when the winds came on at the European Championship, and they continued their heavy weather excellence today in Porto despite several capsizes and a major equipment issue. “Strong wind is so fun, but we didn’t expect to be so fast against some of these teams,” said Meggendorfer. And fast they were; the duo recorded some of the highest speeds on the water today, recovering well from their capsizes to advance to the next round. “Our coach says boat speed is king, so even if we have some problems, at least we have that!” said Spranger.
photo © Ricardo Pinto
More Summer fun
Weather forecasts show a continuation of the summer trade wind pattern, with Northerly winds of 12-17 knots and lumpy seas on tap for a full day of racing on Friday.
Event website: 49er.org/event/2017-world-championship
49er & FX World Championship at Clube de Vela Atlântico
After losing the first two days of the 49er and 49er FX World Championship to a lack of sailable conditions, Day 3 of the 2017 Worlds opened under yet another curtain of fog, rain, and light air. With a tantalizing breeze a few miles offshore just beyond the fog banks, frustration reigned ashore for sailors, coaches, and race officials as the waiting game continued.
At around 2 pm, the first rays of sun tickled the top of the masts just as the Northerly breeze began to flow, and a few minutes later, hundreds of faces were smiling as officials hoisted the flags and released the 49ers from the shore.
After day after day of waiting around on shore, the fleets leapt into action with more than 80 boats launching in just minutes before heading out to one of the 3 race courses just off the port of Matosinhos. Big rolling ocean swells with a light 4-7 knot northerly breeze providing enough power to get through the lump, but not much more.
Of all the teams, no one started the day stronger than Portugal’s own Olympic veterans Jorge Lima and Jose Costa – the duo took a bullet in race 1 and a 2nd in race 2 in their section.
“It was a good start to the regatta, but maybe the best work we did was in race 3,” said Lima, who had a terrible start to the final qualifier of the day.
“We’re proud of our performance in that race, coming back from near the back of the fleet and passing lots of teams thanks to a big right shift on the final beat,” he said. The team finished 13th in that race.
Lima and Costa are looking forward to the stronger wind and bigger waves forecast for the rest of the week – conditions similar to their training camp in Lima’s home port of Cascais. “We’re trusting the stronger weather forecast, and we’re looking forward to it,” said Costa.
Great Britain’s James Peters and Finn Sterritt continued the strong performance they showed during their bronze medal European Championship sail last month, scoring a 2,2,5 to lead all 49er fleets after three qualifying races. They lead a massive, 11-team strong British 49er effort, but surprisingly Peters/Sterritt are the only UK team in the top ten after three races – something that most expect to change rapidly when the breeze kicks in tomorrow.
German 49er sailors had a huge first day of racing and not just the veterans: Rio medallists Tommy Ploessel and Erik Heil finished their day in third place, ending the day with a 1,2 in the final two races. Meanwhile, Ploessel/Heil’s longtime training partners and rivals Justus Schmidt and Max Boehme did them one better; a 4,3,2 scoreline was good for second overall, just one point ahead of the Olympic vets and tied on points with the British leaders.
As strong as the top German teams were, the three German youth teams may have been even more impressive given their experience level. Tim Fischer and Fabian Graf lead the three-boat youth group, the pair sitting in 11th place after a 20,1,1 scoreline (the other two youth teams are in 18th and 19th place).
Graf said the key to their performance today was not complicated: You had to have a great start.
“With the light air and big swells, it was crucial to be able to hold your position for a long time after the start, so you had to have the freedom to work the boat through every wave,” said Graf, who alongside his squad mates spent the winter training in Kiel. “We, fortunately, had some time to get used to the ocean swell during our training here before Worlds and at Europeans in 2015, so we felt comfortable with our tuning and the more difficult technique required in the waves.”
Graf said their team’s training partnership has helped the entire German squad improve. “The three youth teams [Fischer/Graf, Meggendorfer/Spranger, and Carstensen/Frigge] all push each other really hard, and it makes a great combination with the help and advice we get from the more experienced guys like Tommy and Eric. The young German crew says they’re ready for more breeze tomorrow.
“Big waves make everything fun, and breeze means more boat handling – we like that,” said Graf.
With the women’s 49er FX fleets only able to complete two races for each of their two courses, results may not mean much, but despite missing a few months of training and the European Championship, Rio silver medalists Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) were back on the form they showed when winning the first ever FX World Championship in 2013, leading with 4 points.
Anxious to improve on their hard-fought Kiel European bronze-medal performance last month, Vicky Jurzcok and Anika Lorenz sit second on five points, with Denmark’s Hansen/Iverson and Finland’s Ruskola/Wulff tied on six each. Hansen said the afternoon racing was glorious.
“We took it easy in the morning thanks to frequent updates on Facebook from the Class, so we came down fresh and well-rested and had a great day on the water,” said Hansen. “The wind was really nice and we felt good around the course, and we’re looking forward to more of everything tomorrow: More wind, more racing, more sun…”
The shocker came from reigning European Champions Tina Lutz and Sani Beucke, pulling a 16,17 to sit in 35th place after two races.
“We’re not sure what’s going on, so we’ll just forget about today and start fresh in the morning,” said Beucke with her characteristic smile.
The Return of the Trades
European weather models are now predicting the return of the full fury of the Portuguese Trade Winds – the boisterous 15-25 knot northerly breezes that helped propel Portuguese sailors around the world during the Age of Exploration – by Thursday afternoon.
Event website: 49er.org/event/2017-world-championship
The International WASZP Games at Campione, Lake Garda, Italy
The first day of racing at the International WASZP Games just happened to be one of the hottest days of the summer in the region of Lombardia this year. The heat and the haze kept the breeze still until late afternoon before the Championship Racing could get started.
To fill the morning the WASZP team arranged workshops to guide new WASZP owners through the building, rigging and tuning of their new boats. At midday, some sailors cooled down with a swim, an early lunch in the shade or just relaxed until the afternoon breeze cleared the stifling air.
Some eager WASZP sailors left the shore about 1600hrs but setting a course in the busy area of the lake off Campione was not easy with flocks of kites, other dinghies, pleasure boats and all the motor vessels that go out on the water in the middle of summer. The race committee set up for a trapezium type course of two laps flowing in a clockwise direction.
The afternoon Ora was very patchy for the first race and most of the fleet struggled to get up on the foils at the start. It took a couple of hundred metres before the lead boat popped up as the majority of the fleet hit the Western shore of the lake beneath the sheer cliffs.
Reed Baldrige from the College of Charleston Yacht Club in the USA sprung out in the lead and stayed there for the duration of the two laps crossing the finish line to take the first ever win in an International WASZP Games regatta. Gus Ekberg from Black Rock SC in Victoria, Australia was second to cross just ahead of Stefano Ferrighi, a local from Lake Garda. Moth guru Harry Mighell from Australia was fourth and Joan Costa, a young 17-year-old sailor who races with a team of WASZP sailors from Palamos in Spain, was fifth.
For the second race, the breeze swung left to be blowing straight down the lake from the South, just a hint of an Ora! It did mean a slight adjustment to the course resulting in a bit less tendency to tack straight after the start to hit the rocks on the shore before the long leg out to the windward mark. There was a big bunch at the committee boat end and a few sailors managed to get up on foils and reach down the line to get up to speed at the gun.
At the top of the course, it was the same smiling face of Reed Baldridge leading the fleet round. Reed won one of the first WASZP regattas ever held, the Atlantic Coast Championship, and has competed in the Youth Americas Cup so was a tip to be quick here in Lake Garda. Harry Mighell was the only sailor to really threaten Reed’s lead providing he stayed on the foils. He did so to take a second gun of the regatta and set tongues wagging. Again Stefano Ferrighi was in his consistent third spot and the young Spaniard Joan Costa in fourth. Another sailor to join the top end was Tristan Brown finishing fifth. Tristan is a previous Laser Radial World Champion sailing for Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth, Western Australia.
Keen to take advantage of the afternoon breeze the local Race Committee got race 3 started as the sun began to dip behind the mountains at 1800hrs. With a breeze still in the 12 – 14 knots range, it was another quick two lap race for the faster fleet. Another packed start at the committee boat end resulted in the majority of the fleet heading off on starboard tack for a hundred metres of so. The top group tacked quite early on to port to head for the mountain shore as per race 1.
On lap 1 a new face appeared at the front in the shape of Dean Souter from Sorrento in Australia who led Reed Baldridge who tried desperately to squeeze round the bottom mark falling off the foils momentarily allowing Harry Mighell to catch him. Stefano Ferrighi was in his customary top four positions. Dean Souter managed to hold onto his lead crossing a few seconds in front of Reed Balridge and Harry Mighell a few seconds back in third. Stefano Ferrighi finished a way back in 4th and Kohei Kajimoto in fifth.
So after day 1, Reed Baldridge (USA) has an impressive start to the championship with two wins and a 2nd. He leads Harry Mighell (AUS) by 5 points from Stefano Ferrighi (ITA) in third. Kohei Kajimoto (JPN/AUS) sits in 4th overall and the French former Olympic 470 sailor Pierre Leboucher had a good day with results of 7,9,7 to sit in fifth overall.
Reed summarises his day;
“It was good to get going once the breeze filled in, the boat felt really good today and I made minimal mistakes. I was keeping pace with a lot of the top guys.”
“I have had my boat for a little over a year and been racing a couple of times in Key Lago with the US fleet and we just finished up with the Atlantic Coast Championship which I won.”
Rory Rose a 17-year-old WASZP sailor from Aberdeen & Stonehaven YC in Scotland had an impressive day with 10,14,16 results, to sit in 10th place overall.
Erik Karlsen from Norway recorded the peak speed of the day at 20.2 knots and a 10 second average of 19.5 knots. Erik is a 16-year-old WASZP sailor who weighs in at around 62 kilos.
A fleet of weary but happy WASZP sailors came ashore as the sun set for a stomach full of pasta, a long shower and an early sleep to get ready for day 2 of racing on Thursday.
Designer and builder of the WASZP, Andrew ‘Amac’ McDougall went out in a rib to video sailors and advise them on boat set – up and tips on making the boat go faster. He was reported to have a bit of a tear in his eye looking at over 50 of the most popular one design foilers in the world racing in their first ever international regatta.
Provisonal Results (Top 10 boats after 3 races)
1 USA 2383 Reed Baldridge – 1,1,2 = 4pts
2 AUS 238 Harry Mighell – 4,2,3 = 9pts
3 ITA 88 Stefano Ferrighi – 3,3,4 = 10pts
4 AUS 2380 Kohei Kajimoto – 11,6,5 = 22pts
5 FRA 44 Pierre Leboucher – 7,9,7 = 23pts
6 AUS 2389 Gus Ekberg – 2,11,11 = 24pts
7 NZL 2382 Bruce Curson – 14,8,6 = 28pts
8 GBR 2078 Stuart Appleby – 8,7,15 = 30pts
9 AUS 2395 Tristan Brown – 20,5,9 = 34pts
10 GBR 2242 Rory Rose – 10,14,16 = 40pts
WASZP International Games website: http://bit.ly/WASZPGAMES17
For more info on the class go to www.waszp.com
facebook: WASZP Games
Photos credit Martina Orsini
For more details email: Jonny Fullerton at regattaservices at gmail.com
Day 6 – McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds 2017
Paul Goodison (GBR) smashes it on the final day of racing at the 2017 McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds at Lake Garda against the hottest fleet of Moths ever assembled. Goody (to his friends), is the first foiling Moth sailor to win back to back world titles and the result is that much more special considering the high calibre of competition from the most recent top Americas Cup skippers and sailors with more Olympic medals round their necks than any other regatta with exception of the Olympic Games itself!
Going into the final day of racing Goodison begun the day with a 13 point cushion over Pete Burling (NZL) with Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen with an outside chance of catching Burling.
The weather gods turned it on again for the final day of racing when a light ‘Ora’ started to build from the South around lunchtime and any fluffy little clouds dispersed to leave another fine sunny afternoon for racing.
The Gold fleet was sent out around 1330hrs to race on the South course to complete as many races as possible before the cut off time of 1600hrs. Race 9 of the championship started under the black flag in 12 – 14 knots of breeze with flat water. As usual, the aim was to charge to the Eastern shore and before hitting the rocks in front of the Fraglia Vela Malcesine clubhouse, tack and try to find a clean lane of pressure to get to the top of the course in good shape.
At the windward gates, the breeze was quite soft causing a number of boats to drop off the foils, especially if squeezing round the marks. On the first lap it was Scott Babbage (AUS) leading, followed by the young gun, Gian Ferrighi (ITA) with most of the big names in the top 10. The downwind leg proved a bit more shifty and the pack shuffled. It was Tom Slingsby (AUS) who stayed in the best pressure to take the win from Nathan Outteridge (AUS) with Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) third, Burling 5th and Jensen 6th.
PRO Tim Hancock did a good job of setting up for race 10 under the same conditions. Started under a black flag it was a similar story with slightly different players. The breeze shifted a bit right and begun to drop at the top end causing some competitors to drop off the foils.
At the bottom gate, the action started to unfold, Jensen got round just in front of Slingsby but Slingers dropped off the foils bang in front of Outteridge and Babbage allowing Goodison to slide past inside avoiding the low riders. Burling was also in trouble rounding the opposite gate and dropping off the foils. Greenhalgh was also in a world of pain.
Coming into the finish it was Jensen who crossed the line with a massive lead and a big smile on his face as he closed up the points to second placed Burling to one point. Second was Goodison to all but seal the title. Many competitors had fallen off the foils in the soft patches around the course. Singsby crossed third but Burling was deep in the pack.
With time running out and the breeze getting a bit weak, the PRO announced that the third race of the day, race 11 of the world championship would be the last. The last race would be victory laps for Paul Goodison but the chase for second and third would be decided on the last race between Burling and Jensen.
The last race started in the same light to moderate breeze, 11 – 13 knots from 215 degrees. Again the fleet used the clubhouse shoreline for a flyby in front of the grandstand of supporters. This time it was Tom Slingsby who looked like he had made the right foil choice leading the world champion elect with some of the usual suspects struggling with foil selection. Slingsby cruised across the finish line for a second win of the day with the victorious Goodison crossing in second.
A good third for West Australian, Steve Thomas, Babbage finished a consistent 4th and Jensen in 5th finishing comfortably ahead of his skipper of so many years, Nathan Outteridge. As Burling crossed in a lowly 17th, supporters scrambled for their calculators to do the maths.
Agonisingly for Goobs Jensen he fell one point short of toppling the kiwi but was very happy with his third place overall. With Slingsby’s final day score of 1,3,1 he held on to 4th and Scott Babbage came back from the brink early in the regatta to snatch 5th off Nathan Outteridge.
The Youth category went down to the wire on the final day with a fine battle between the two Italian twins Gian Marie and Stefano Ferrighi. With an 8th in the final race on Saturday and a 9th today (Sunday), Stefano stole the title off his brother by 3 places. Stefano finished 23rd overall an excellent performance in a fleet of champions.
The Master’s category swung between Jason Belben (GBR) and Rob Gough (AUS) and a similar tussle played out. Rob Gough won this one finishing 25th overall to Jason Belben’s 28th.
First in the female category went to Irish Olympian Annalise Murphy who finished 51 in the Gold group.
The Silver group was won by John Clifton (GBR) and the Bronze group won by Maximilian Mage of Germany.
PRO Tim Hancock and his team did a great job getting through so many races for a fleet of 220 Moths, the biggest Moth regatta ever assembled.
A bit shout out to the two Moth workshops running the Moth hospital too keep sailors out there on the water doing what they do. The legend that is Simon Shaw and his team at event title sponsor, McDougall + McConaghy and Simon Maguire and his dad Tony did an amazing job behind the scenes.
Also a huge thank you to Fraglia Vela Malcesine, host club for their race management, hospitality and the pasta that has kept over 200 mothies racing for a week.
Of course, it goes without saying that the regatta only took place due to the support of great sponsors and suppliers such as McDougall + McConaghy, Veneri, Zhik and Negrinautica and a long list of Fraglia Vela Malcesine local sponsors.
The 2018 Moth Worlds will take place in Bermuda and we hope to see everybody there for more high octane action in this incredible class.
NB: There are more post race interviews available under the VNR link below.
Event website: www.mothworlds.org/malcesine
Fraglia Vela Malcesine: www.fragliavela.org
Videos by Beau Outteridge Productions
Link to interview with Paul Goodison
Link to other videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/mothclass
For more info: Jonny Fullerton at regattaservices at gmail.com
Day 2 – McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds at Lake Garda
There was still a lot of summer thunderstorm activity in the Lake Garda region but finally, racing got underway today on day two of the McDougall + McConaghy Moth Worlds 2017 hosted by Fraglia Vela Malcesine.
The 220 entrants from 25 nations were split into four groups, Yellow, Red, Blue and Green Qualifying fleets. Because of the lack of racing yesterday (Tuesday), racing was re-scheduled for early starts this morning (Wednesday).
When the first two groups left the shore it was a cool morning with semi-overcast skies and light to a moderate but unstable breeze from the North and some big waves. However, this was not the usual reliably strong Pelèr and racing faced a number of disruptions during the morning session.
PRO Tim Hancock and his team from Fraglia Vela Malcesine did an excellent job of getting two races in for each group before the breeze shut down for its lunchtime siesta.
All fleets came ashore with the hope that the afternoon Ora would blow from the South, but not for the first time this week, we were foiled. So just two races were completed for each fleet.
The Yellow and Red fleets were sent out for a 08.30hrs start to catch the morning breeze. On the Yellow course, off Malcesine it was blowing 12 – 18 knots with some waves, causing a number of breakages and capsizes. By the second race, the breeze and waves dropped off to a more manageable 10 – 15 knots from the North.
Nathan Outteridge (AUS) won the first but suffered a broken stay in the second having to return to the Moth hospital onshore for surgery. Despite not finishing, he did get a score of 42 due to finishing the opening lap but it is a setback. Nevertheless, onshore Nathan remained up beat. “It’s not how you want to start your worlds but still.”
Ben ‘Patonator’ Paton (GBR) sailed two solid races scoring 2,2, but was a bit disappointed to lose the first to Nathan Outteridge by ditching on his final gybe to the finish.
Another favourite to suffer damage was Scott Babbage (AUS) who broke a push rod in race 1 to start on the back foot, but recovered with a bullet in the second race of the day.
One of the Corinthian sailors, Luka Damic from St Georges SC in Sydney enjoyed a great start to his worlds with a pair of thirds.
“We were on the Southern course early in the day and there were big waves and 14 – 18 knots of wind and I’m a big heavy guy, 95 kilos, so that suits me fine. For the second race, the breeze started to drop off and the sea state dropped off which also suits me quite well so I managed to pick up two 3rd’s.”
Luka is racing a home built boat and is happy with his new rudder design which he built himself and was on trial for the first time, passing with flying colours.
Annalise Murphy (IRE) endured lots of capsizes in her first race but enjoyed a big improvement in the 2nd race with an 8th and is leading female overall.
On the Red fleet course the waves were a bit smaller and the northerly breeze a shade lighter 9 – 15 knots closer to Torbole.
Rob Greenhalgh (GBR) wasted no time with a bullet and a second. Fellow Brit and former training partner Dave Hivey, scored two excellent results as top Corinthian in the group.
“It was good fun, we had a decent northerly wind and some pretty big shifts but there was definitely a few holes in the wind. I need to work on my downwind speed a bit but I was pretty quick upwind and getting off the start line well. The main event for me is I want to be the first Corinthian.” He said on shore.
The overall leaderboard was stacked with sailors from the Red group. The talented foiler from Australia, Harry Mighell picked up two great results of 7,1 and Olympic Gold medallist Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen (AUS) scored two bankers 6,3, although he wasn’t entirely happy with his set up. Steve Thomas from West Australia scored 4,5, and a young Italian sailor studying in Sydney, Gian Maria Ferrighi came ashore with a 3,7.
By the time the Blue and Green fleets went out mid morning, the breeze was already beginning to fade from 10 knots to 5-6 knots and the patches meant most sailors were having difficulty staying on the foils.
The first race of the Blue fleet was a bit of a Laser fest with London 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Tom Slingsby (AUS) taking the gun from Rio Olympic gold medallist Tom Burton (AUS) in 2nd.
Tom Slingsby also scored a bullet in the 2nd race of Red group to sit on top of the overall table on day 1 of qualifying.
“It was a tricky day with the dying breeze in the morning but I think more than anything I got the foil selection right, I hedged that the breeze was going to die sooner than later so I went big front foil and big back foil. In the dying breeze, I think that was what the big factor was.”
“The first race was a bit of a battle with Tom Burton and then the second race was up and down. Rob Gough caught right up but then I got back on the foils and he fell off, so I snuck a way again.” Tom said on shore.
Another amateur club sailor, Jim McMillan from Stokes Bay SC in the UK was a bit surprised to come ashore and see a 3rd & a 4th next to his name.
“I was pretty surprised actually to come away in the top 10 in my first Moth worlds race. I was actually a bit late for the start so I tacked off, banged the right-hand side and tacked to find I was leading at the windward mark.”
“But Tom Slingsby was very quick upwind and downwind, he got me on the second beat along with Tom Burton. But I was very happy to come away with a 3rd in my first worlds race.”
The Green fleet sailed in similar conditions to the Blue fleet, very light and patchy. This fleet was randomly loaded with three former world moth champions. One of the hot regatta favourites, Paul Goodison (GBR) wasted no time chalking up two wins although he was made to work for it.
Behind him, ‘Pistol’ Peter Burling (NZL) was back out after some minor surgery over night in the Moth hospital. Pete was breathing down ‘Goody’s’ neck finishing the day with a 2,3.
The third former world champion, Josh Mcknight (AUS) sailing his own design of Moth finished the day with a very respectable 4,4. In this group, a number of sailors had one good score and one slightly average score but the conditions for the Blue and Green groups were tough even for the top pros.
The Qualification Series racing continues on Thursday 27 July with another early start for the Green and Blue groups of 08.30hrs (local time). Red and Yellow groups will not be sent afloat before 0945hrs. The intention of the PRO is to try and get at least 2 races per fleet completed.
Event website: www.mothworlds.org/malcesine
Fraglia Vela Malcesine: www.fragliavela.org
Photos: credit Martina Orsini
Videos by Beau Outteridge Productions
Link to videos: https://www.youtube.com/user/mothclass
WASZP International Games at Campione, Lake Garda
The countdown is on until the inaugural International WASZP Games takes place from 31 July – 5 Aug at host venue Campione, Univela Yacht Club on picturesque Lake Garda in Italy. It is exciting on so many levels, with the event using some new race formats and a large emphasis on beach culture.
The most popular one design foiler in the world is hosting its inaugural International Championship only 1 year since production commenced on this product. The WASZP is taking grass roots sailing to new levels around the world.
With over 400 boats shipped around the world it makes for an incredibly exciting class to be a part of. 50+ boats will compete in the WASZP Games, with 15 countries being represented from all corners of the globe.
Some different racing formats are being tested, with the introduction of Handicap Starting, the same as reverse grid grand prix motorsport, Slalom Racing and GPS Speed Events, to compliment the Championship Course Racing. This provides an opportunity for all sailors to try their skills at different formats which will suit all sailors.
Entrants include both male and female sailors and an abundance of youth sailors cutting their teeth in a foiling dinghy for the first time and some experienced Olympic and Moth circuit sailors.
There is quality everywhere with a few of the gun Moth sailors trying their hands at the one design boat. Harry Mighell from Australia would have to be one of the favourites having also played a strong part in the design of the boat. The local Italian Ferringhi brothers are regular Moth sailors and have local knowledge on their side. Reed Baldridge (USA) who recently won the Atlantic Coast Championship and competed in the Youth Americas Cup is another name to watch out for.
The Kiwis will be strong with a small contingent coming over after their successful Nationals held in March.
Some Olympic sailors will be competing including Pierre Leboucher from France who has campaigned in the 470 class and Sara Winther from New Zealand who regularly raced in her Laser Radial on the Olympic circuit.
The European influence will be large and it is going to be fantastic to see an abundance of young Norwegian sailors from Foiling Norway competing. These young guns are straight out of Optis and aged 13-16 making it so exciting for the class.
Off-the-water it will be no different, with Stand-up-Paddling, Canyoning and Boat Workshops taking place. As well as on-water training being provided by the WASZP Team.
It is the perfect balance of a family holiday, a beach party and some seriously competitive racing. There will be some fantastic social events run post racing each day with an opening ceremony and a WASZP Party, with a live band and sensational food and beverages to party the night away.
Also WASZP has a dedicated event page for the WASZP Games