Monthly Archives: April 2014
Photo © Robert Deaves / Finn Class
Finn European Championship in La Rochelle, France
The Finn Senior and Junior European Championship gets under way this weekend in La Rochelle, France. To date there are 95 entries from 31 nations and with a few exceptions virtually all of the top sailors are entered for what will be the classes third senior championship at the Atlantic coast venue.
It has been 10 years since the Finn Class sailed a senior championship in La Rochelle. Previously La Rochelle has hosted the Finn Gold Cup in 1996 and the European Championship in 2004, as well as the Finn World Masters in 1996 and 2013.
La Rochelle is located about half way down the Atlantic coast of France and is one of the most picturesque and historical cities along the coast. It includes one of the largest marinas in Europe at Les Minimes and has a very strong boat building industry.
The main feature of the town is the Vieux Port, or the Old Harbour, located at the heart of the city and surrounded by bars and popular seafood restaurants. The well preserved old city is a short distance from the host club for the event, Société des Régates Rochelaises (SRR), which was founded in 1860, and has a very spacious location at Port des Minimes, to the south of the town. It is highly experienced at running major events, having hosted some 24 World and European championships in the past three decades.
The racing will be held just outside La Rochelle harbour in a natural straight in the Bay of Biscay known as the Pertuis d’Antioche, or Passage of Antioch. This is enclosed on three sides by the Île de Ré, the mainland and the Île d’Oléron.
The fleet is as deep as ever and includes 21 former Olympians, six former European champions and three former world champions, including the current European Champion Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), and the current World Champion Jorge Zarif (BRA).
While Zbogar is expected to be in contention, he will have a very hard time defending the title he won last year in Warnemünde, Germany. He placed sixth in the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma this year, but has otherwise been training at his Valencia base.
In contrast Zarif has done all the major events this year, with a bronze at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, followed by 19th in Palma, and then a more encouraging ninth in Hyères, including a win in the medal race. While his world championship win last year was a surprise to many, he has since shown he can compete with the best and can never be ruled out. It also has to be remembered he is still a junior.
The British, French and Italians are fielding the largest teams at 10 a piece, but without doubt the British have the strongest team in La Rochelle, with four sailors capable of winning races as well as the championship itself. Both Edward Wright (GBR) and Giles Scott (GBR) have already taken the title in previous years while Andrew Mills (GBR) and Mark Andrews (GBR) win races at this level on a regular basis and are quite capable of putting together a title winning series. Behind them are another five up and coming sailors, including last year’s Junior European Champion, Peter McCoy (GBR). With the class raising the age limit for Juniors, he is able to defend his title, though to do that he will have to beat the current junior and senior World Champion, Jorge Zarif.
For the French team, Thomas Le Breton (FRA) and Jonathan Lobert (FRA) will be making a strong challenge. So far this year Le Breton has had the upper hand over Lobert, who won bronze in London 2012, so Lobert will be looking to even the score. Both picked up a medal at the ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma, while Le Breton added a bronze in Hyères last week. Lobert had to return home to La Rochelle early to fix his boat after a mid-series collision, so hopefully he will be back up to speed by Monday, in time for the first race.
If performance at Hyères was anything to go by then Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) will be a force to contend with as well. Overcoming a large nemesis last week with his first ever major win in the class, he will be brimming with confidence and could well be the surprise package of the week. Likewise, the new World No 1, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), who took the silver in Hyères, will be very confident going into the championship. He has previously won the Europeans in 2009 and 2010, and narrowly missed out on a third title in 2011. His return to form has been overdue, and, coming back from an enforced break, he will only get better in the coming months.
Of the other non-European countries competing, of which there are seven, New Zealand, is fielding a strong team which includes Josh Junior (NZL) and Andrew Murdoch (NZL). Junior finished strongly in Hyères to place fourth, following a top 10 finish at last year’s world championship. Training with the more experienced Murdoch, the two have been putting in the hours, with Murdoch picking up the European bronze last year.
Other names to watch during the week include: the 2012 European Champion Ioannis Mitakis (GRE), Deniss Karpak (EST), Tapio Nirkko (FIN), Zsombor Berecz (HUN), Piotr Kula (POL) and Gasper Vincec (SLO). The Swedish battle between Björn Allansson (SWE) and Max Salminen (SWE) will also be of great interest.
Coming so soon after the end of the World Cup in Hyères, most sailors travelled straight to La Rochelle, so have been training in earnest this week in preparation, for what for many will be the last true test before the ISAF Worlds in Santander in September when the first 50 per cent of the nation places for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio will be decided.
Zarif and McCoy will join the 15 or so other juniors racing in the same fleet as the seniors as they compete for the European Junior title. The results are not extracted, it’s the overall position that counts.
Conditions in La Rochelle often prove challenging as those who attended in 1996 will testify. In 2004 it was a much lighter event on the whole, but with sea breezes generally setting in the 14-18 knots range and with a strong chop due to shallow water, whoever wins next week will have been fully tested to their limits of fitness and ability, and in the Finn that is often the greater challenge.
At the moment, long range forecasts are showing a windy but changeable start to the week. Registration and measurement runs from Friday 2, May to Sunday 4, May, with the opening series of 10 races scheduled from Monday 5, May to Friday 9, May. The medal race for the top 10 and the final race for the rest will be on Saturday 10, May. The opening ceremony will be on Friday 2 May.
For more info see: www.finneuropeans.org/ec2014
By Robert Deaves, International Finn Association
Wally Class racing at 2013 Gaastra PalmaVela © MartinezStudio/Gaastra PalmaVela
Record sized Wally Class fleet at 2014 Gaastra PalmaVela
From the impressive 130 ft ‘Angel’s Share’ to the 80 footers ‘Tango G’ and ‘Ryokan 2’, Wallys have chosen Palma as their first port of call for the 2014 European season.
They are part of the most exclusive ‘big boat club’ and always impress with their powerful and futuristic good looks. This will be the first time in the 11 years of Gaastra PalmaVela that nine Wallys will be on the start line, a record number for the Real Club Náutico de Palma’s regatta.
Most owners are International Maxi Association (IMA) members, such as ‘Kenora’, ‘Magic Carpet’ and ‘Open Season’ but in addition to them the British flagged boats ‘Ryokan 2’, ‘Magic Blue’, ‘Tango G’ and ‘J One’; the Maltese ‘Angel’s Share’ and the Spanish ‘Galma’ will race on the Bay of Palma from May 1 – 4.
Magic Carpet Cubed, 3rd overall in 2013 © MartinezStudio/Gaastra PalmaVela
From 24 to 40 meters LOA
Built in 2009, ‘Angel’s Share’ will be the biggest boat in the Wally class. Her dimensions speak for themselves: 40 meters LOA, with more than 7 metres beam and 727 square metres of a sail area, equal in area to almost three tennis courts. Argentinian Javier Soto is Angel’s Share’s naval architect, while the exterior and interior design are by Wally boss Luca Bassani.
In addition to her, in size order, from the largest to the smallest LOA: ‘Kenora’; the winner of the 2013 Wally racing series ‘Open Season’; ‘Magic Carpet Cubed’ –the new WallyCento that was third overall in Palma last year; ‘Magic Blue’; ‘Galma’; and the victor of the Gaastra PalmaVela’s past edition ‘J One’. Owned by Frenchman Jean Charles Decaux, ‘J One’ was the other leading performer of the 2013 Wally season, tied on points with ‘Open Season’, she only finished ahead of her having had a greater number of first place finishes.
The ‘smallest’ of the Wally Class will be the 80 footers ‘Tango G’ and ‘Ryokan 2’.
J One, Wally Class winner in 2013 © MartinezStudio/Gaastra PalmaVela
First race of the Wally Class season
Gaastra PalmaVela kicks off the Wally Class season, which comprises four regattas. After the Real Club Náutico de Palma’s regatta, there will be the Menorca Maxi Cup (Mahón, Balearic Islands), Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup (Porto Cervo, Italy) and Les Voiles de Saint Tropez (France).
Six races have been scheduled for the Wally Class at 2014 Gaastra PalmaVela. At least one regatta must be completed for the event to be valid.
Wally Class Entry List. 2014 Gaastra PalmaVela
Boat – Owner – Country
Ryokan 2 – Ligier Philippe – GBR
Magic Blue – Antonio Cacace – GBR
Magic Carpet Cubed – Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones – GBR
Angels Share – Petherton Marine – MLT
Tango G – Ajax – GBR
Kenora – ND – BVI
Galma – Alberto Palatchi – ESP
J One – Jean Charles Decaux – GBR
Open Season – Tomas Bescher – GBR
By Gaastra Palmavela media, www.palmavela.com
Gaastra PalmaVela kicks off the Soto 40 European Championship
Soto 40s Bigamist & Earlybird racing in 2013 Gaastra PalmaVela © MartinezStudio/Gaastra PalmaVela
Gaastra PalmaVela is set to be the first of the 2014 Soto 40 European Championship. In its 11th edition, the regatta is the first of three events with subsequent ones being held in Palma de Majorca (Spain), Porquerolles (France) and Cascais (Portugal).
The Soto 40 one design class made its debut at Gaastra PalmaVela in 2012. It returned in 2013, when it proved to be the most competitive fleet with the first three boats finishing tied on 12 points after the last day of racing.
Defending champion and European Championship runner-up ‘Earlybird’ of skipper and helmsman Hendrik Brandis has confirmed her participation in Palma. Tactician Sten Mohr, main trimmer Luc Molloy, upwind trimmer Arnd Howar and bow Jonas Nielsen are also part of the crew.
The German yacht comes to Palma with the goal of “winning again if possible and getting ready for the Worlds in Valencia,” as the German skipper says.
The European Championship is an important event and Hendrik Brandis thinks the key to win will be, “as always, a competitive boat speed, an excellent boat handling and the right tactics. I am convinced; it will be very close again! That’s the beauty of one design racing,” he points out.
The Portuguese yacht ‘Bigamist’, current European Champion, which was second overall here last year, will also be on the start line. Undoubtedly, the boat owned by Pedro Mendoça will arrive in Palma gunning to claim her first victory at Gaastra PalmaVela as well as her first bullet for the European Championship circuit.
They will be up against two boats competing for the first time at the Real Club Náutico de Palma’s regatta: ‘UON’, owned by Portuguese sailor José Caldeira and the French ‘Glen Ellen XXII’, skippered by Dominique Tian.
One practice day and three days of racing
The Soto 40 class will warm up with a practice race, on Thursday, 1st May. The schedule is then for three days of racing. Those will kick off on Friday and will finish on Sunday. A maximum of nine races are scheduled.
By Gaastra Palmavela media, www.palmavela.com
Tonnerre de Breskens and Scarlet Runner in CSA 0 – Photos © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
Antigua Sailing Week – 26 April – 2 May 2014
There are more than a million reasons to come to Antigua Sailing Week and the opening day’s beautiful sailing conditions is one of them. Trade winds blowing warm air and splashes of sunshine on the deep blue Caribbean Sea are just about as heavenly as you can get. The international fleet of over 100 yachts enjoyed a relatively gentle day, with not a drop of rain in tropical conditions. Fine weather prevailed for the first day of Antigua Sailing Week, but the competition on the water was as close as ever.
Start Boat A ran courses from Windward Beach towards Shirley Heights and beyond to Willoughby Bay. The breeze was pumping up and calming down all day and teams that could change gear with the varying wind speed made the best of the conditions.
In CSA 4, Ian Hope Ross’ Melges 32, Kick ’em Jenny 2 took the gun and the win on corrected time by just over a minute. Ian’s team from St Maarten is returning to Antigua Sailing Week after racing here last year:
“We have a good set-up on the dock, we have sailed down with a catamaran and it’s our mother ship for the week,” explained Ian enjoying a cold Wadadli in the cockpit in Falmouth Marina. “We didn’t have a good start today and got into bad air. But by the second mark we had stitched it all back together and got into clear air. We had Bernie [Evan-Wong] on High Tension breathing down our neck all day and the two Cork 1720s are very well sailed. This is a very competitive class, but today the short chop suited us more than the other boats. This is only day one and we are not celebrating too much, there is plenty of racing to come.”
In Class Zero, British Farr 100, ICAP Leopard with owner Mike Slade at the helm, got away to a blistering start and quickly pulled away from the chasing pack including Andy Budgen’s Volvo 70, Monster Project. Leopard hit the turbo button off the breeze to take line honours by half an hour and the pro-crew was joined today by Mike’s wife, Heather and four friends who enjoyed a high speed sail on one of the world’s fastest yachts:
“I love coming here, what is there not to like?” quizzed Mike Slade dockside. “We have been coming to Antigua since 1990 and it is one of my favourite places to sail. Leopard has been very busy since the start of the year, giving many guests the perfect way to enjoy the Caribbean and Antigua Sailing Week is a marvellous way to round off the season.”
Piet Vroon’s Dutch Ker 46, Tonnerre de Breskens 3, has enjoyed plenty of success in the Caribbean this season and corrected out to win CSA 0 in Race 1 by three minutes from Rob Date’s Australian RP52, Scarlet Runner.
Start Boat B ran courses from Rendezvous Bay past Curtain Bluff and Old Road. The breeze was from the southeast and a shifting breeze kept drivers and trimmers on their toes.
In CSA 6, Tom Wilson racing British Swan 44, Selene corrected out to win Race 1.
In Bareboat 1, just four minutes separated the top four boats in a three hour race. Garvey Colman’s Irish team on Bageal is returning after coming second in class last year. Bageal corrected out to win the first race of the regatta by less than a minute from the Kiev Racing Club. Nicholas Jordan’s Just De Ting completed the podium, placing third just ahead of Marcelo Baltzer Foucher’s Pinel.
For full results see: www.sailingweek.com
By Louay Habib
Last minute victory for Peninsular Petroleum – Photo © www.MartinezStudio.es
RC44 Cascais Cup – Cascais, Portugal
Racing on the final day of the RC44 Cascais Cup proved an emotional rollercoaster ride for everyone at different times over the course of three races.
Conditions on the final day reverted to idyllic with the sun out, clear skies and a northerly wind that started at 12 knots and built to 18.
Having relieved Peninsula Petroleum of the lead, Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika started the day with a slender two point advantage, the two boats having edged ahead of third and fourth. This was all to change during the final day’s first race, when both boats scored unusually poor results, leaving Nika ahead, but with three boats poised, just three points behind her.
In the second race, Team Nika fought back to take the win, but Peninsula Petroleum was second. Now there was four points separating the two leaders. But then the situation turned on its head. In the final race Nika made a poor start and from there never recovered, finishing 11th. Peninsula Petroleum came home second, enough for John Bassadone’s Gibraltar-based team to win the RC44 Cascais Cup by three points, while Team Nika dropped to third.
John Bassadone was elated at Peninsula Petroleum’s last minute victory, particularly after his team had led the regatta for the first two days of fleet racing. While Peninsula Petroleum won the RC44 World Championship in 2012, this was the team’s first circuit victory.
“Having missed out in Virgin Gorda on the last day with that crash, it was great to come back with another solid performance to show that wasn’t a fluke,” Bassadone explained. “I feel sorry for the Nika team – they sailed great all week. I know how it feels to be one race away, but I am really proud of my guys and the way they sailed. Having a bad result in today’s first race and coming back with two seconds shows good character and composure.”
This is the third full season Vasco Vascotto has been with the team, and the jubilant, champagne-drenched Italian tactician enthused: “We are very very happy and proud about what we’ve done during these last years. We’ve improved as a crew, our speed, everything in all the details and now we are in good shape. We know that if we do our job properly, we can have a good result.”
Vascotto added that perhaps a mistake they had made on Peninsula Petroleum yesterday when they handed Nika the lead, Nika herself had made today. “When we were in front we sailed a little too conservative – that was a mistake and that also happened to Nika in the last race and was why they lost: They had a good amount of points and in this class you have to keep pushing hard in every single race.”
Photo © Bombarda Racing / ZGN
Team Nika’s Vladimir Prosikhin felt disappointment having fallen at the final hurdle, but said third was still the highest place his team had ever achieved in the RC44.
Prosikhin explained what happened in the final race. “It was a bad start. We miscalculated and somehow I was carried away a bit – probably over excited. We tacked on to port and one boat tacked on us and it was very difficult to escape. We got jumped, everything went wrong and we couldn’t recover. To lose one race was okay today. Two was too much.”
Tactician Terry Hutchinson appeared more devastated, but looked on the bright side: “It was just the subtleties of it all and we’ll get better at them.” He praised Peninsula Petroleum for its victory and acknowledged that third place was probably a more accurate indication of how good Team Nika currently is as a team. “I certainly don’t feel like they beat us. I feel like we beat us.”
No podium in the RC44 seems to be complete without Team Aqua and sure enough, after a slow start in Cascais, Chris Bake’s four-time Championship winning team finished the regatta second.
Bake observed: “It’s been a really tough week. There are a lot of boats doing really well out there. We made a lot of basic positioning mistakes early on so today we had a pretty firm view on where we needed to be and how we were going to get there. We stuck with that and that shows in the results.
“Today was probably the first day where we felt we had got some good channels and were going well upwind, but still fighting a lot downwind.”
Aside from Team Nika in the second race, today’s other race winners were Andrea Pozzi’s Bombarda in race one while Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s Synergy claimed race three.
Also remarkable was the performance of Nico Poons’ Charisma in its first ever RC44 regatta. With London 2012 Laser gold medallist and Oracle Team USA strategist Tom Slingsby calling tactics, the Dutch businessman’s team ended the regatta in fourth place, ahead of much more experienced RC44 teams after scoring a 3-11-7 today.
Next up for the RC44 class is the RC44 Sotogrande Cup, in the south of Spain, over 25-29th June.
RC44 Cascais Cup Overall Results: (after 12 races)
1 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 3 3 1 4 9 4 1 9 4 10 2 2 – 52pts
2 Team Aqua, 1 9 4 2 10 7 5 6 2 2 4 3 – 55pts
3 Team Nika, 8 1 9 5 3 1 6 2 1 9 1 11 – 57pts
4 Charisma, 2 5 12 9 4 2 7 1 3 3 11 7 – 66pts
5 Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4 2 8 7 5 8 13dns 5 5 5 7 1 – 70pts
6 Artemis Racing, 9 6 7 6 2 3 4 8 7 4 8 9 – 73pts
7 Bronenosec Sailing Team, 10 8 11 3 1 9 2 4 9 7 5 6 – 75pts
8 Bombarda Racing, 6 4 10 1 7 6 10 7 11 1 12 4 – 79pts
9 Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, 5 7 5 10 8 5 3 10 6 8 6 10 – 83pts
10 Katusha, 12 10 6 8 11 10 11 6 RDG 6RDG 6 3 5 – 94pts
11 Aleph Racing, 7 13DNF 2 11 6 11 9 3 8 11 10 8 – 99pts
12 Mag Racing, 11 11 3 12 12 12 8 11 10 12 9 12 (2) – 125pts
RC44 Championship Tour Overall Fleet Race Ranking: (after two events)
1 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team – 3pts
2 Team Aqua – 3pts
3 Synergy Russian Sailing Team – 8pts
4 Artemis Racing – 11pts
5 Team Nika – 12pts
6 Bombarda Racing – 12pts
7 Charisma – 15pts
8 Bronenosec Sailing Team – 15pts
9 Aleph Racing – 17pts
10 Katusha – 17pts
11 Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge – 20pts
12 Mag Racing – 23pts
By RC44 Class media: www.rc44.com
Team Nika has the best day – Photos © www.MartinezStudio.es
RC44 Cascais Cup – Cascais, Portugal
Newcomers are causing a mix-up in the fleet, including a change of leader going into the final day of racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup.
Conditions took on a decidedly different flavour for day three of fleet racing with the sunshine giving way to a more Atlantic-like overcast sky and intermittent rain, as a warm front passed over the west coast of Portugal. This made it a particularly hard day for the tacticians, while the owner drivers once again found themselves wrestling their boats downwind in the large swell.
For the second day running it was Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika that shone, her 6-2-1 scoreline the most consistently good across the 12 boat fleet.
With a smile, Prosikhin paid tribute to his crew’s new American tactician, Farr 40 and TP52 World Champion Terry Hutchinson: “I am really happy. It is nice to have our team brought together and to be very very solid, unlike before. The reason for this is obvious: we have a General on board! It is like a battleship, there is no democracy, there are no talks! But everyone is still willing to do his best, just at the top of what he can deliver. It is very nice to see guys happy and so active. And our boat speed was very good today.”
If the crew hang on to its present position Team Nika is in line to score its first ever victory at an RC44 regatta tomorrow. However Peninsula Petroleum lies just two points astern and at least two more boats remain in contention, including well known comeback kids, Team Aqua. Chris Bake’s crew has been sailing solidly, if not exceptionally, all week and currently lies fourth, a very redeemable 10 points off the lead.
John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum leads the chase – Photo © www.MartinezStudio.es
After an exemplary first two days, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum came out of the blocks well winning the first race, partly thanks to a lucky shift coming into the weather mark for the first time. With this they extended their overall lead to eight points. Unfortunately with a ninth place in race two, this evaporated. Bassadone admitted they had thrown it away. “Our first run wasn’t great, but the second one was where we went from third to 10th. None of us were happy, but that is what happens if you take your foot off the pedal for one second in this class.”
Peninsula Petroleum redeemed itself partially with a fourth in the final race. “That puts us in a decent position for tomorrow – we are pretty happy with that,” concluded Bassadone. “Nika sailed better than us and is well overdue a good result, because they are a very good team and, with Terry [Hutchinson] on board, they seem to be sailing very, very well.”
Today’s other big climber was RC44 first timer Nico Poons and his Charisma crew. Starting the day in sixth place, 10 points off the lead, the team posted a 7-1-3 to elevate itself to third, nine points off first.
Poons admitted surprise at how well his team is doing on its RC44 debut “…especially with a rental boat. Obviously it is a good boat, otherwise we wouldn’t perform that well.” Around half his crew has emigrated from the Charisma Farr 40, but there are some new additions, in particular his Australian tactician, London 2012 Laser gold medallist and Oracle Team USA strategist Tom Slingsby. As Poons wryly described their relationship: “With results like that – you can’t dislike him!”
Slingsby explained why conditions off Cascais were so tricky today. “There were storm fronts coming through and rain clouds and big shifts, but we managed to get through them pretty well.”
In race two, which Charisma won, they had been over early but Slingsby said they had seen a big rain cloud coming over. They tacking onto port and went furthest right, nosing out ahead at the weather mark. “We got the perfect layline from a mile away and no one tacked on us the whole way in – a bit of luck never hurts.”
Slingsby had expected a mid-fleet result here in Cascais and is pleased with Charisma’s performance. “Every day we are getting better. Scoring 10 points a day is going to put you up there in any fleet in the world. We have lucked out a few times but we’ve sailed well in certain parts and we are in the hunt.”
The final day of fleet racing is scheduled to start Sunday at 11.30 hrs local time (10.30 UTC). Follow all the race action on the live race commentary blog at www.rc44.com
RC44 Cascais Cup Results: (after nine races)
1 Team Nika, 8 1 9 5 3 1 6 2 1 – 36pts
2 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 3 3 1 4 9 4 1 9 4 – 38pts
3 Charisma, 2 5 12 9 4 2 7 1 3 – 45pts
4 Team Aqua, 1 9 4 2 10 7 5 6 2 – 46pts
5 Artemis Racing, 9 6 7 6 2 3 4 8 7 – 52pts
6 Bronenosec Sailing Team, 10 8 11 3 1 9 2 4 9 – 57pts
7 Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4 2 8 7 5 8 13DNS 5 5 – 57pts
8 Gazprom Youth Sailing Team, 5 7 5 10 8 5 3 10 6 – 59pts
9 Bombarda Racing, 6 4 10 1 7 6 10 7 11 – 62pts
10 Aleph Racing, 7 13DNF 2 11 6 11 9 3 8 – 70pts
11 Katusha, 12 10 6 8 11 10 11 6RDG 6RDG – 80pts
12 Mag Racing, 11 11 3 14 12 8 11 10 (2) – 92pts
By RC44 Class media
ISAF Sailing World Cup – Hyeres, France
From the words of many of the sailors competing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères it was a beautiful ending to a perfect week.
More than 1,100 sailors from 59 nations raced at the final ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta of the 2013-2014 series and were treated to exceptional race action.
Medals across the ten Olympic events were decided on the final day with a 10-12 knot westerly breeze on flat water bringing a superb week to an end.
Kiwis Burling & Tuke dominate again – photo c Yvan Zedda
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) made it two ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta victories in a row with another dominant display.
The Kiwis sealed the deal in the opening race of three stadium style races as they took the first bullet and Burling was delighted to pick up his second consecutive World Cup gold, “I’m pretty stoked to take the win. We had a pretty big lead but it was mathematically possible to lose it so we made sure we did the job in the first race and had a bit of fun in the last two.
“It was really great to get out in the lead in the first race and just be able to sail away.
“We’re definitely really happy with how we backed up Palma with another win.”
The silver medal was picked up by Ryan Seaton and Matthew Mcgovern and the Irish team were all smiles after racing. “It was a great week and obviously the result tops it all off,” said Mcgovern.
“What a great week of sailing in Hyères. It’s been six days of brilliant breeze and sunshine. It couldn’t be any better in every respect.”
Seaton and McGovern finished a disappointing 35th in Mallorca just weeks ago and hit back hard to show the fleet what they are all about, “We came here and we knew we had to hit the ground running. We couldn’t have two bad weeks in a row so it was full on, ‘put the engines on’ and go as fast around the course and keep the mistakes to a minimum.”
Australia’s Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen pushed hard on the final day to pick up bronze.
Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze winners again – photo c Yvan Zedda
Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze will go into the remainder of 2014 full of confidence after they took their second consecutive ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal in Hyères. The Brazilians were dominant in Mallorca and despite a final day wobble in Hyères they came away with gold.
Grael and Kunze held an 18 point lead over Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) ahead of the three stadium style races and an 8-3-9 score line was enough for them to hold on. The Kiwis won the day with a 6-1-3 score line and reduced the deficit to eight points but they settled for silver.
After racing Grael said, “We’re not used to the format and we had an 18 points lead so it wasn’t too hard for us. We did pretty bad in the races but we still managed to win. I’m feeling awesome, what can be better than this?
“I think it’s been the best week the sailors have ever seen in Hyères. We had great wind, weather and I’ve been talking to the old guys and they’ve all said it’s the best week ever. We’re looking forward to coming back here again.”
Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) finished third overall.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) back to winning ways – photo c Franck Socha
After their unbeaten run was ended at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) returned to winning ways in the Men’s 470 at the final ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta of the 2013-2014 series. Belcher and Ryan took silver in Miami and bronze in Mallorca and are back atop of the podium.
The Australians had a 17 point lead going into the Medal Race and with a fifth they sealed the deal, “It wasn’t our best race,” commented Ryan. “It was quite tricky conditions but we knew we had to stay in front of the Greeks and the French.
“Off the start we managed to get in a good position and from there we protected where we were with the jury on us at the top mark. We were back on track after that and we’re really happy. It’s been a pretty long week and to come down today with not too much pressure was quite a nice way to do it.”
For Ryan the result has extra significance as he concluded, “It’s quite special for me because all my family are over here. My sisters are competing and the parents are over. So it’s really nice to do well and hopefully we can carry the momentum through the year.
“It’s been a beautiful week here in Hyères with beautiful conditions and perfect sailing.”
Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) finished one point ahead of Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) as the two teams took silver and bronze.
The Medal Race bullet went to Germany’s Jan-Jasper Wagner and Dustin Baldewein.
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) won their third ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta – Photo c Franck Socha
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) won their third ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta of the 2013-2014 series after another controlling display in Hyères.
The Kiwi girls had a tough day on the water as Powrie explained, “It was a little bit stressful. We made it hard for ourselves. We thought we may have been over at the start so we came back and re-started.
“We managed to make our way back through the fleet and we still managed to come away with an overall win but still stressful.”
The Kiwis finished the Medal Race in fourth which was enough to defend their overnight lead.
Aleh and Powrie sailed in Qingdao, Mallorca and Hyères taking gold at all. On the victory Powrie added, “I’m very relieved. It’s really nice to win again. We put together a relatively good series which was nice. We didn’t have that many different conditions this week. It was a bit of a grind by the end of it.”
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre, who won ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, and Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) fought hard for silver and bronze. The Britons came through in second which gave them the silver whilst an American fifth saw them finish the week in third.
First world cup win for Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) – photo c Franck Socha
There were plenty of permutations possible in the Nacra 17 with ample medal opportunities across the top five racers. Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) had the advantage in the fleet with a seven point lead over Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) and Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA).
Unfortunately the Australians made an error on the race course as Bundock explained, “We had to finish within three boats of French or within four boats of the Italians. We were doing that midway through the race but then they shortened the course and we stuffed up basically.
“We headed to the wrong mark and we ended up finishing second last and let the other guys get away. We finished third overall and the Italians finished first with the French in second.
“It’s a silly mistake on our behalf. They halved the leg and we weren’t expecting that at all. By the time we tacked and looked back it was all over.”
Bissaro and Sicouri and Besson and Riou were tied on 72 points upon the conclusion of the race but the Italians came through in second compared to the French teams third, which game them gold.
Pieter Jan Postma (NED) had gold in the bag ahead of the Medal Race – photo c Franck Socha
Pieter Jan Postma (NED) had gold in the bag ahead of the Medal Race and sailed with a clear head, finishing sixth to cap off a great week.
“It’s my first world cup win,” said the experienced Dutch sailor. “I’ve always been there for years and years and I’ve never managed to step up so this week was awesome.
“It feels like a personal victory as I topped my best. I’ve got a few more grey hairs but I managed to deal better with my opportunities and I’ve been able to play out my strengths on the battlefield.”
The fight for silver and bronze was between Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Thomas Le Breton. Three points split the pair with a Croatian advantage. Gaspic finished up in third place to take silver whilst Le Breton came away with bronze.
Jorge Zarif (BRA) took the Medal Race victory and ended up ninth overall.
Antipodean battle in the Laser medal race off – photo c Franck Socha
Three points split Andy Maloney (NZL) and Tom Burton (AUS) going into the Medal Race and it was Burton who came out on top in a thrilling conclusion.
“It was a bit surreal,” said an ecstatic Burton after racing. “I think that was one of the closest races I’ve done in a long time, if not ever. It was pretty exciting.”
Burton finished fifth to Maloney’s seventh which handed him gold. “I didn’t have the best of first beats. I think I rounded in maybe seventh or eighth at the top and the guys were all in front of me which wasn’t ideal,” explained Burton.
“I just hung in there and Andy got a yellow flag on the first run that put me in front of him but at the second top mark I was directly in front of him so he still had it.
“In the last run it was a bit dicey with big pressure differences and on the line I crossed in front of him by a boat length and then there was a boat in between us two. I only beat him by a nose, it was such a close race.
“I’m pretty stoked. I won here last year and the goal was to come and win again after winning last week in Palma. It was a close race but I’m happy to take the win.”
Maloney went in to the Medal Race with a strong plan but was visibly disappointed ashore as things did not quite go his way, “It was really tough, like it always was going to be in the Medal Race. I was really close with TB [Tom Burton] going into it. The game plan was to lead at the top mark and then evaluate from there. I knew what I needed to do.
“I didn’t have the best of starts. The French guy was on top of me so that didn’t help. I was looking pretty good two thirds up the beat and didn’t have the best rounding at the top of the course but I was back in amongst it in the downwind.
“At the bottom gate I had another small hiccup with a yellow flag for rocking. I was then just behind Tom at the bottom gate and in with the fight.
“I got behind him on the final run and it was looking good right near the finish line. I was just sticking with Tom and then the French guy just slipped in right between us.
“It’s tough to take but there are a lot of good points we can take out of this week.”
Rutger Van Schaardenburg (NED) walks away with Laser bronze.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne winner Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) entered the Medal Race with a three point lead over Evi Van Acker (BEL).
Van Acker relinquished her lead the day prior having sailed the wrong course and counted a high score that handed Drozdovskaya the advantage going into the last day.
Van Acker went out with intent and sailed a superb race that she lead from the start to take the bullet and gold as she explained, “I just had a strategy that I discussed with my coach and everything just worked out.
“I was the only one starting at the pin end. Everybody else was middle of the line or boat end so I was happy I was down there so could have a good start.
“I played the left side more than the others and I was in front from the beginning. Once you’re sailing in front it’s no so hard, if you’re at the back it’s quite difficult.”
Hyères is one of Van Acker’s favourite venues as she was thrilled to take the regatta victory, “Hyeres is always the toughest World Cup to win. I’ve managed to win it only once before and now it’s really nice to win it for a second time because it’s a difficult venue.
“It’s my first win in a very long time so I’m really happy. I had a lot of fans on the water, all the team went out and it was great fun. I’m really happy that I could make up from my stupid mistake yesterday.”
Marit Bouwmeester (NED) finished the Medal Race in second which was not enough to move in to silver medal position as Drozdovskaya held on to second podium spot with a third.
Moana Delle (GER) wins a three way battle – photo c Yvan Zedda
It was a three way shoot out in the women’s RS:X with Maja Dziarnowska (POL), Jiahui Wu (CHN) and Moana Delle (GER) in with a shout of the medals.
The three windsurfers had all guaranteed themselves a medal going into the final race but the colours were far from certain as two points divided the trio.
There was very little separating the racers as a clean start saw them bunched up together. As the race progressed it was Wu who held the gold at the first mark, rounding ahead of Delle whilst Dziarnowska was down in tenth.
At the downwind mark Delle and Wu were neck and neck but the German squeezed past the Chinese sailor on the inside and kept tight to the mark and pushed forward, leaving the Chinese sailor trailing.
Delle pushed forward and whilst the race win went to Peina Chen (CHN) an eighth was enough for Delle to bring her RS:X sailing career to an end, “It’s my last regatta and last race and it couldn’t have been any better. It’s the perfect way to end my Olympic career.
“It was quite a challenging race physically. We’ve had 15 races in planing conditions and this was a light wind race which was a bit of a change. The top girls matched each other and we didn’t do so good in the Medal Race but I came first.”
Conditions have suited the German racer and it will be a memorable way for her to leave life in the RS:X behind as she returns to her studies, “It’s been a perfect regatta. We’ve had the most beautiful conditions. It was around 15 knots every single day. I’m from Germany and I’m just enjoying France. Sunshine, blue water, it’s just beautiful.”
Wu finished the Medal Race in ninth as she took silver whilst a disappointing last place finish for Dziarnowska gives her bronze.
Piotr Myszka (POL) had gold all wrapped up a day early – photo c Franck Socha
Going in to the Men’s RS:X Medal Race the top three podium spots were occupied by Polish racers.
Whilst Piotr Myszka (POL) had gold all wrapped up and Pawel Tarnowski (POL) silver up his sleeve but the bronze medal was far from certain. Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) had the advantage but Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) was breathing down his neck.
Van Rijsselberge knew what he had to do and ahead of the Medal Race looked focused on the race course. He came out strong from the off and took the lead at the first mark. On the downwind he slipped to second but was strong on the upwind and took control and held the lead all the way through to the finish.
Miarczynski finished in fourth to go level on 83 points with the Dutchman. But as Van Rijsselberge took the victory bronze went his way.
Myszka sailed pressure free in the Medal Race and took a fifth. On the 16 race series Myszka commented, “It was a really nice week for me and I’ve really enjoyed it. I was probably the fastest guy in the fleet and I was improving every race. I was going faster and faster.
“It was really important for me to improve on my speed and technique this event and I’m really happy with that.
“Everything is working and going the right way. It’s the Polish in the top two positions this year, just like last year. Last year I was second and Przemyslaw, who is fourth here, finished first.
“But this year I’ve won and Pawel is second so it’s quite nice. We were expecting Przemylsaw to defend third position but he lost it in the Medal Race. It’s quite sad but it’s nice to have two Polish places on the podium.”
It’s now full tilt towards to 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships this September for the sailors. With 50% of Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition spots up for grabs the regatta has added importance.
For full results see:
Photos © www.MartinezStudio.es
RC44 Cascais Cup – Fleet Racing
If day one of fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup belonged to John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum, on day two it was the turn of Vladimir Prosikhin’s Team Nika.
In breeze that was considerably lighter than yesterday, another three races were held on the Atlantic waters off Lisbon, with Nika putting in a 5-3-1. This was enough to elevate them from fifth to second place, now just three points behind overall leader, Peninsula Petroleum.
“5-3-1 – the order matters, as we’re climbing up, so I’m happy,” beamed Prosikhin.”We had no presents from the weather, like nice wind shifts. It was hard work all the time, but we made no big mistakes. We made some bad tacks in the last race but we won that. We were doing well today.”
Prosikhin said that the difference today compared to yesterday was that conditions had dropped, but even so you had to change mode during the day – including boat set-up and helming style – as the wind increased from 8 knots to 14-15 for the last race.
Nika is currently in her highest position ever at an RC44 fleet racing regatta, the difference apparently being the effect the team’s new American tactician Terry Hutchinson. According to Prosikhin, Hutchinson has a unique style: “I consider Italian tactics on board to be emotional while Anglo-Saxon tactics are rational. With Terry we get both! But I like it this way. I always get something sweet from it, even when I make mistakes. He is tough, but encouraging.”
Hutchinson felt that Team Nika had shown good boat speed today and he, Prosikhin and the team had made two and a half good starts, despite running into MAG Racing’s transom in the first race and a hole in their spinnaker on the final run of race two, causing the kite to explode 50m shy of the finish line.
A new American tactician to the fleet also featured in today’s first race win, when Andrea Pozzi’s Bombarda prevailed, featuring Oracle Team USA’s John Kostecki. “We made a good start, which was very fast and John sent us to the right and it was good. Every race we were very fast and we were in a good position,” summarised Pozzi, whose team is only sailing its second ever RC44 regatta, but now lies fifth. Originally a motor racing driver, Pozzi previously competed in the Melges 32 class but graduated up to the RC44, which he says is the top racing boat class, short of the America’s Cup.
Another team having a strong day was Bronenosec, which after a disappointing performance yesterday, posted a 3-1-9 today, the second strongest across the fleet, elevating them from last position to ninth.
Bronenosec is skippered by Commodore of the St Petersburg Yacht Club Vladimir Liubomirov and has Italian America’s Cup veteran Michele Ivaldi as tactician.
“We had a good day, especially compared to yesterday,” said Liubomirov. “We improved a lot and I am really happy: Conditions were not as difficult as yesterday and yesterday we learned our lessons.”
Photos © www.MartinezStudio.es
Also on the ascent is Artemis Racing, skippered by Torbjörn Törnqvist, which scored a 6-2-3 today, a vast improvement over the Swedish team’s scoreline on Thursday.
“We were going pretty well which helped a lot – it makes my job easy when we are going fast,” commented tactician on board, Iain Percy, the British double Olympic gold medallist who now runs Törnqvist’s Swedish America’s Cup challenge. “We were over on the first start, but we had good speed in slightly easier conditions and the boat was well set up and we were the same speed, if not better, than most.”
Percy has been racing the RC44s for the best part of a year. “It is a fun boat and it’s really good here. The standard is now up another jump as a lot of people have come from the Cup, but it’s happening at the pace of the owners as well. It is fun racing, the boat is tweaky and you have got to be quick. It is proper sail boat racing.”
Day three of fleet racing continues tomorrow with the first warning signal scheduled for 11.30.
RC44 Cascais Cup Overall Results: (after six races)
1. Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 3 3 1 4 9 4 – 24pts
2. Team Nika, 8 1 9 5 3 1 – 27pts
3. Team Aqua, 1 9 4 2 10 7 – 33pts
4. Artemis Racing, 9 6 7 6 2 3 – 33pts
5. Bombarda Racing, 6 4 10 1 7 6 – 34pts
6. Charisma, 2 5 12 9 4 2 – 34pts
7. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4 2 8 7 5 8 – 34pts
8. GAZPROM Youth Sailing Challenge, 5 7 5 10 8 5 – 40pts
9. Bronenosec Sailing Team, 10 8 11 3 1 9 – 42pts
10. Aleph Racing, 7 13 2 11 6 11 – 50pts
11. Katusha, 12 10 6 8 11 10 – 57pts
12. MAG Racing, 11 11 3 12 12 12 (2) – 62pts
By RC44 Class Association, www.rc44.com
ISAF Sailing World Cup – Hyères, France
The Medal Race places at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères have been decided as the penultimate day brought drama and early victories across the ten Olympic events.
Pieter Jan Postma (NED) was able to seal the deal in the Finn fleet with a race to spare, as was Poland’s Piotr Myszka in the Men’s RS:X.
After a slightly delayed start an easterly 10-12 knot breeze and a choppy sea meant for close calls and tense racing on the race courses as sailors pushed for positions going into the final day.
Strong lead for New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie – Photo Thom Touw
New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie put daylight in between themselves and the chasing British and American teams.
Double bullets handed the Kiwi racers a 12 point lead going into Saturday’s Medal Race and another competent performance will hand them their third ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal of the 2013-2014 series.
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) are second on 32 points with Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) third on 34 points.
Sitting in fourth on 51 points Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) have an outside chance of taking bronze but will have to take the bullet and hope the Americans falter.
Sofian Bouvet & Jeremie Mion (FRA) – Photo c Franck Socha
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) have a solid advantage in the Men’s 470. Their lead stands at 17 points over Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) before the Medal Race.
The Australians obliterated the opposition on the penultimate day of racing. They took the first bullet of the day by 44 seconds and popped up with a 28 second victory in the final race of the series to leave them in a good position before the Medal Race.
Mantis and Kagialis are five points clear of Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) whilst Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom are fourth.
Strong performance by Ryan Seaton and Matthew Mcgovern (IRL) – Photo c Franck Socha
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) will be able to wrap up 49er gold on the final day if they finish fourth or better.
The Kiwis have given themselves plenty of room for error on the final day and the way things are going an error of any sort looks unlikely.
They discarded a 20th in the opening race of the day but bounced back to take their fourth bullet of the series in the second and last race of the day. They go into the three final day races with a 23 point advantage.
Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski (NZL) and Ryan Seaton and Matthew Mcgovern (IRL) are tied in second and third on 90 points with French favourites Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis fourth on 94 points.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) have an 18 point advantage going into three single point stadium style races in the 49erFX.
The Brazilians posted three results in the top six to hold firm in the leading position, one they’ve barely relinquished over the 15-race series.
New Zealand’s Alex Maloney and Molly Meech were also fairly consistent on the day recording a 4-10-2 and are second overall on 66 points.
Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) are third on 71 points whilst Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) are fourth on 83 points.
Thirty points are on the table across the three 49erFX races on the final day.
Billy Besson & Marie Riou (FRA) – Photo c Franck Socha
It’ll be all to play for in the Nacra 17 with plenty of permutations possible on the final day.
Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) will enter the Medal Race with a seven point advantage over Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) and a nine point lead over Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA).
The French and Italian teams received scoring penalties on the first race of the day whilst the Aussies sailed consistently across the day with a 7-4-5 score line.
Besson and Riou bounced back with vengeance and took the bullets in the following two races as they discarded their scoring penalty.
The Italians were also consistent in the proceeding races taking a fifth and a fourth.
With 14 points splitting the third place Italians and Euan McNicol and Lucinda Whitty (AUS) in eighth it will be intriguing action in the Nacra 17 Medal Race.
Pieter Jan Postma (NED) sealed the deal in the Finns – photo c Thom Touw
Pieter Jan Postma (NED) sealed the deal in the Finn with another dominant display of racing in the 59-boat Finn fleet.
Postma finished behind Josh Junior in Race 9 and came through with another second place in Race 10, finishing behind Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO).
After seven months out of race action trialling out for the Volvo Ocean Race Postma has come back into the fleet incredibly strong and goes into the Medal Race with an unassailable 33 point lead.
“This is a very special feeling,” commented Postma after racing. “A big step. Up to today during major events something went wrong in the end. I set myself straight. This now feels like a break, I can win.
“I have put so much energy into it over the past decade. Despite the stress I was really strong this week. This growth has been in recent years. If you look at the Olympics, which of course was a huge thing, on sailing quality I deserved a medal but I failed to rise above.
“Now I have to overcome it, so it feels very special.”
In the opening race of the day Postma found himself down in 11th but as he’s done all week he clawed back up the pack. At the second upwind mark he was seventh and weaved his way through to finish proceedings in second. In the final race the Dutchman was at it again and came from tenth to second and with it World Cup gold.
The battle for silver and bronze will be close on the final day with three points dividing Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), who took the Race 10 victory, and French favourite Thomas Le Breton.
Tight at the top of the Radials – photo c Thom Touw
Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) advanced from third to first in the Laser Radial as a slip up from Evi Van Acker (BEL) handed the Belorussian an advantage.
“Today I was first in the first race and I sailed the wrong course which was really stupid,” explained Van Acker. “I had a good feeling through the day, I was fast and the second race I won.”
Drozdovskaya pounced on Van Acker’s misfortune and took the first bullet of the day, five seconds ahead of Hannah Snellgrove (GBR). A fifth followed and she is three points clear of Van Acker going into the Medal Race, “Today I was very good downwind. It was good racing. I had a first and a fifth and I’m so happy,” said an elated Drozdovskaya.
She added, “All races have been hard. It’s been good conditions for sailing and in all of the races I’ve felt good. Tomorrow will be another day.”
Van Acker and Marit Bouwmeester (NED) occupy the silver and bronze medal positions. The Belgian is three points off Drozdovskaya whilst the Dutch sailor is a further two points behind.
With the points close Van Acker knows it’s still all to play for, “I’m staying positive and it’s going to be exciting tomorrow. I first came here when I was seven years old, that was 20 years ago, I still love this venue and it’s great to be here.”
Finland’s Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) is fourth overall, 20 points off Drozdovskaya and 14 off Bouwmeester.
Antipodeans top Laser fleet – photo c Thom Touw
Three points separate Andy Maloney (NZL) and Tom Burton (AUS) heading into the Laser Medal Race.
Both sailors used up their discard on the penultimate day of racing as Maloney loses a 20th and Burton a scoring penalty.
The day’s bullets went to Jesper Stalheim (SWE) who is 11th overall and the fourth placed Robert Scheidt (BRA) who is a single point off of Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED).
Poland’s Piotr Myszka took gold in the Men’s RS:X with a day to spare following an exceptional week of racing.
In the 15 race series Myszka has taken no fewer than eight race victories and is in a good place ahead of a busy summer featuring European and World Championship racing.
Providing Pawel Tarnowski (POL) completes the Medal Race he will pick up silver.
Six points separate Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL), in third, and Dorian Van Rijsselberge (NED) in fourth so it will go down to the Medal Race for the bronze.
It will be a three horse Medal Race showdown in the Women’s RS:X between Maja Dziarnowska (POL), Jiahui Wu (CHN) and Germany’s Moana Delle.
The Polish sailor leads on 61 points whilst the Chinese and German racers are tied on 63 points.
All three have guaranteed themselves medals but it’s going to be a winner take all fight in the Medal Race.
“It’s been a pleasure to race here and I’m happy to have the yellow jersey,” said Dziarnowska, “It’s been good for me. I like flat water and strong winds. I will fight with Moana and the Chinese sailor intomorrow’s Medal Race.”
It could be a golden ending for Delle as the Medal Race will serve as her final RS:X race. Delle, who finished fifth at London 2012, will want to leave the scene well as she returns to her studies, “It’s my last regatta, and after this I’m going to finish my Olympic sailing career. For me it’s special to finish off my career well. I’ll try to enjoy my last race and enjoy it one last time.
“I’m going to finish my degree. Windsurfing will always be a part of my life, I’m going to go on to short boarding but it’s not going to be Olympic RS:X windsurfing anymore.”
On the week she concluded, “It’s Hyeres at its best, I’ve never seen it this beautiful. It’s a World Cup, it’s a strong fleet and there are the best racers in the world here. The girls are fighting closely.”
Medal Race action gets going at 11:00 hrs on Saturday 26 April as racing at the fifth and final regatta of the 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series concludes.
Heiko Kroeger (GER) shone in the 2.4mR as he came away with the honours as Paralympic racing concluded at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères.
The Sonar honours were decided in the Jury Room after racing with Great Britain’s John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas taking gold ahead of the penalised French trio of Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont Vicary and Eric Flageul.
The 16-boat 2.4mR and eight boat Sonar fleets brought their racing to an end in an easterly 10-13 knot breeze with two exciting races apiece as it all went down to the final bout.
For all results and information visit the ISAF Sailing World Cup website, www.sailing.org/worldcup
Photo © Yvan Zedda / ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
ISAF Sailing World Cup – Hyeres, France
ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères reached a critical stage with a fourth day that included near disaster, small margins of error and hard fought battles across the ten Olympic and two Paralympic events.
It was long day out on the water with the last race concluding at 20:00 hrs local time.
Following a delayed start to the day a shifty 10-12 knot westerly breeze tested the sailors’ and the race committees. Minus one Nacra 17 race a full complement of gold fleet races concluded ahead of the penultimate day.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) have opened up a 12 point lead in the 49erFX but there’s plenty still to play for with six races remaining.
The Brazilians picked up their third and fourth race victories and a final race seventh solidified their position atop of the pile.
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) moved up to second overall with a consistent day of racing whilst Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) took third with a final race bullet.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) top the 49er pile – Photo Thom Touw
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) showed a fine display of racing on the 49er course to stay out of trouble, avoiding a double point score like many of their competitors succumbed to. A ninth in the opening bout was followed up with a fourth and a ninth and they have a healthy 22 point lead with two days remaining.
Ireland’s Ryan Seaton and Matthew Mcgovern held on to second overall but they found the going tough discarding an 18th and count a 15th and an eighth to trail the Kiwis on 72 points. They are just a single point ahead of Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski (NZL).
Germany’s Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel started the day emphatically in the gold fleet and in Race 10 narrowly missed out on the bullet to Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis (FRA) as they came through in second. In Race 11 they hit back hard and were truly dominant. Leading from the outset they never truly looked threatened and eased through to a 15 second victory. Overall Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) are fifth.
Unfortunately it did not go to plan in the final race of the day for the Germans as a 25th puts them in ninth overall.
The final bullet of the day went to David Evans and Ed Powys who are 11th overall.
Photo © Yvan Zedda / ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
Just two points separate the leading trio of Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA), Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) and Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) after two Nacra 17 gold fleet races.
By their high standards the leading three had some what of a disappointing opening race with an 18th for the Italians, 21st for the French and a 20th for the Australians.
On the first race Curtis said, “There was very little wind with massive pot holes and big streaky gusts coming through on the race course. We rounded the top mark in second last – we got stuck on the upwind. We were in a lot of trouble but we got the hang of the conditions throughout the rest of the race and we avoided those sticky situations.”
“We managed to fight our away back so a good recovery, especially by Bundy from picking up on those shifts.”
Riou concurred with her opponent on the opening race, “We finished close with the Australians and Italians and we didn’t race the same race but we finished close together. It’s quite close but we race our races with the wind, not our opponents. We are happy to be in the top three at the moment with good and bad races.”
The trio were back on form in the second race of the day and hit it from the off. Besson and Riou were rampant and took the victory by a minute over Luke Ramsay and Nikola Girke (CAN). The Australians came through in third with the Italians in fourth.
Bissaro and Sicouri have the two point lead over the French and Australia teams who are tied on 43 points and Curtis is looking forward to the fight for the medal positions over the next two days, “It’s so good to get this type of pressure and tight racing. We’ve got another three races to go before the Medal Race with all these points. It’s testing us and as a new combination it’s nice to be put through these situations early on. We’re loving it.”
Photo © Yvan Zedda / ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) held on to their two point advantage over Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) and Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) who are tied on 20 points in the 51-boat fleet.
Weguelin and McIntyre made it three wins on the bounce in Race 7 but finished seventh whilst the Kiwis took the final win of the day, recovering from a seventh in the first race.
“It was good to get some races in,” commented Aleh after racing. “It looked a bit suspect for a while with a delay and not much wind when we first got out but there were two good races. We stuffed up one of them but came through in the last one and it was good to get another win.”
The Kiwis are on course for their third ISAF Sailing World Cup gold medal following victories at Qingdao and Mallorca but every day is a learning curve for the ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year. Aleh concluded, “We came here to find out things to work on and we’re finding lots. The thing with sailing is that you’re always learning and you’ve never learnt it all.”
“There’s always something new and the conditions change and the fleet change. Every day we get a bit out of it.”
The top three have put 27 points between them and Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance (FRA) who are fourth overall.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) back in front in the 470 – Photo Thom Touw
The points are close in the Men’s 470 but it’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) who maintain their lead. The Aussies took the final bullet of the day whilst ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallists Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) picked up the first.
Bouvet and Mion are second overall, two points behind the Australians. Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis are third, two points off Bouvet and Mion.
Pieter Jan Postma (NED) came from the brink of a near disastrous day to hold his lead in the 59-boat Finn fleet.
Postma finished 58th in the opening race of the day and explained what went down, “Today was something different. I was around tenth or 12th at the top mark and then my halyard broke,” Postma paused on reflection. He continued, “I tried to fix it as I went downwind and I finished the race but I only had three boats behind me.
“Then I needed to fix it and it took us 15 minutes or so and I only had one more minute before the race so it was really close. A lot of people helped and in that last race I was sixth.
“The points are getting close. It will be exciting tomorrow, I like some action and the heat is on.”
The day’s bullets went to Bjorn Allansson (SWE) and Thomas Le Breton (FRA).
Le Breton is second behind Postma and after racing the Frenchman said, “It was quite a physical day. I had good downwind speed and helped me win the last race. I’m a bit tired but that’s okay. The goal is not to have a bad race and I’m still in it and we’ll see what happens tomorrow.”
Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic was the most consistent racer of the day and is third overall, a point behind Le Breton.
Photo © Yvan Zedda / ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres
Tom Burton (AUS) and Andy Maloney (NZL) are divided by a single point in the Laser as the 62-boat gold fleet concluded racing at 20:01 local time.
With nine races done and dusted in the Laser there’s very little to separate top four in the Laser. Burton sits on 31 points, Maloney 32, Robert Scheidt (BRA) on 36 and Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) on 39 points.
Burton and Maloney have the most impressive score cards with only top eight results.
On the day Burton said, “It was a good day for me. I got some consistent results. The first race was a little bit tricky and the second race was even more tricky but it ended up well for me.
“It was getting late and everybody was getting pretty frustrated and everybody was pushing the starts pretty hard.”
The Kiwi racer added, “I was pretty happy to come away with another top ten result and I go into tomorrow with a good score line.
“I went in to the day second overall and just been trying to chip away and keep inside the top ten in every race and so far so good.
“Hopefully we’ll get another couple of good ones tomorrow and push on to the Medal Race.”
Marit Bouwmeester (NED) advanced into the lead overtaking Evi Van Acker (BEL).
The pair have set the pace across the week but in the opening encounter of the day Bouwmeester came through in 30th with Van Acker in 23rd as they struggled in the light conditions.
As the breeze stabled they performed to their high standards as Bouwmeester took a second and Van Acker an eighth, which she counts having discarded her 23rd.
Bouwmeester now leads on 18 points and is four clear of the Belgian.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne gold medallist Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR) held on to third overall with a final race bullet.
Paige Railey (USA) took the day’s other race victory and is ninth overall.
Poland’s Maja Dziarnowska advanced in to pole position following double bullets in the 59-boat fleet.
She opened her day with an eighth as her second and third race victories of the week flowed in. As she takes the lead she has Germany’s Moana Delle for company who is a point behind following a 2-3-2 score line.
Overnight leader Jiahui Wu dropped to third. A less than convincing day for the Chinese racer saw her struggle in the shifty breeze. She picked up a 13th, a discarded 19th and a fourth.
Piotr Myszka (POL) continues to lead following a 1-4-3 score line but the young Polish sailor Pawel Tarnowski and Dutchman Kiran Badloe continue to impress.
The young guns lead the likes of London 2012 Olympic gold medallist Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) who is fourth, bronze medallist Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) who is fifth and silver medallist Nick Dempsey (GBR) who is eighth.
Tarnowski is second on 45 points whilst Badloe is third on 50 points. Badloe is five points ahead of compatriot Van Rijsselberge,
There will be very little room for error on the final day of Sonar racing as four points separate the top four racers.
John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas (GBR) keep their overnight lead and still have a slight advantage over Bruno Jourdren, Nicolas Vimont Vicary and Eric Flageul (FRA).
Aleksander Wang Hansen, Per Eugen Kristiansen and Marie Solberg (NOR) are three points behind the Brits with the Australians Colin Harrison, John Harris and Russell Boaden in fourth.
It’s a three horse race for the medals on the final day of 2.4mR racing with Heiko Kroeger (GER) on 13 points and Damien Seguin (FRA) and Megan Pascoe (GBR) on 14 points.
Seguin and Pascoe had trailed the German by a larger margin coming into the day but a bullet each mixed with a solid top three result sees them pull to within one point. Kroeger meanwhile had his worst day on the water with a 2-5.
Racing commences at 11:00 hrs local time on Friday 25 April as the places for the Medal Races are decided.
For all results and information visit the ISAF Sailing World Cup website, www.sailing.org/worldcup
Photos © www.MartinezStudio.es
RC44 Cascais Cup
A stiff breeze blowing along the coast, combined with an impressively large Atlantic swell made the opening day of fleet racing at the RC44 Cascais Cup a very tricky one, particularly for helmsmen.
In the three races sailed, consistency was difficult and of the 12 teams competing, John Bassadone’s Peninsula Petroleum was the only team to manage it. With a 3-3-1, the Gibraltar-based crew is now the runaway fleet racing leader, seven points clear of Chris Bake’s Aqua and Valentin Zavadnikov and Leonid Lebedev’s Synergy.
With three more days of fleet racing to go, Bassadone wasn’t celebrating just yet, but was pleased with their performance, as was Peninsula Petroleum’s Italian tactician, Vasco Vascotto, who commented:
“It was a good day – we were proud about what we did. We sailed the boat with good power, good karma, good everything. The crew is happy and when that happens everything is a lot easier. Plus John is getting better and better, which makes my job easier.”
Vascotto managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat in the third and final race when they got off to a terrible start. But this ended up benefitting them as they found a nice lane once they’d tacked. “It was very clean,” Vascotto continued. “We didn’t rush, we waited for our moment, if others made mistakes, then we passed them…”
From their horrible start, they picked off the entire fleet until they were second coming into the finish line, ultimately surfing past Aleph Racing to take the win. “The guys on board did a fantastic job,” Vascotto added. “They pump on every wave, they push hard every single second and this is the way to do it.”
Aleph Racing had the most up and down day in terms of results. Finishing seventh in the first race, the French crew was then forced to retire from the second with a broken jib cunningham and then led the third until they were pipped at the post, by Peninsula.
“We managed to tack very early after the start because there was a cloud coming and I was expecting a wind shift to the right which happened,” described Aleph’s tactician Mathieu Richard. “We got a good lead from the shift and managed to stay ahead until the very end. It was really frustrating to lose by half a boat length, but it was a good race.”
After a collision yesterday saw costly points deducted from its match racing score, Chris Bake’s Team Aqua came out of the blocks strongly today, winning the first race.
“We had a fantastic start and the fleet had the right side backed to pay and we were in smoother water, with a nice breeze line and were one of the most left boats,” said the team’s Cameron Appleton. The Kiwi tactician added that the day favoured more experienced drivers. “It was very much a helmsman’s day – the guys who could steer the best rose to the top, because of the cross sea and the boats getting corkscrewed around. Downwind it was all about your timing on how much how you had the boat loaded, when you chased a wave and when you didn’t. We are happy – we survived day one.”
After their strong start, Aqua was subsequently nailed in the second race when they were pinned out on the final run, causing them to finish in a disappointing ninth.
Winner of race two today was Vladimir Prosikhin’s Nika, sailing with his team’s new tactician, American Terry Hutchinson. “It is fun – a very high level indeed. I am learning a lot of things,” said Prosikhin of how he’s getting on with the former Farr 40 and TP52 champion. “All of our starts were good, we had good boat speed and Terry read the wind shifts excellently.”
In the race they won, Hutchinson said he felt they had started well mid-line but had played the shifts well up the first beat. In reality, Nika’s lead at the top mark was enormous, by far the biggest of any in today’s three races.
In his first fleet racing with the team, Hutchinson said he was pleased with their fifth place overall after day one: “It was hard. It doesn’t feel as good as that, but that shows there is room for improvement. If you had said to me this morning we would finish fifth, I would have taken it. Vladimir and the guys did good work in that middle race. In fairness, the first race we got a ‘well sailed’ eighth, the second race we won, and the ninth in race three, I was mad with myself over. We could easily have been sixth but we messed it up on the second beat.”
Day two of fleet racing resumes Friday at 11.30 hrs local time.
RC44 Cascais Cup Results: (after three races)
1. Peninsula Petroleum, 3 3 1 – 7pts
2. Team Aqua, 1 9 4 – 14
3. Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4 2 8 – 14
4. Gazprom Youth Sailing Challenge, 5 7 5 – 17
5. Team Nika, 8 1 9 – 18
6. Charisma, 2 5 12 – 19
7. Bombarda Racing, 6 4 10 – 20
8. Aleph Racing, 7 13DNF 2 – 22
9. Artemis Racing, 9 6 7 – 22
10. MAG Racing, 11 11 3 – 25
11. Katusha, 12 10 6 – 28
12. Bronenosec, 10 8 11 – 29pts
By RC44 Class Association media, www.rc44.com