Monthly Archives: August 2016

Rob Greenhalgh crowned UK Moth Champion

 

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left to right Rob, Dave & Dylan – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

UK Moth Championships in Portland Harbour

 

The wind just didn’t play ball on the final day, with the odd gust reaching 7 knots across Portland Harbour, but more commonly 3-4 knots and much less. At 1pm the race team called time and raised AP over A to abandon racing for the day. This means the results at the end of Monday stand and Rob Greenhalgh has been crowned the UK International Moth class champion for 2016.

At the prize giving Rob thanked the Race Team, all the staff at the WPNSA, the UK Moth Class Association for putting all the work in ahead of the event and the sponsors; VRsport.tv, blueteq, Brand Identity, Ronstan and Noble Marine.

We spoke to Rob after the racing about his championship, “It’s fantastic to have won. Post the World Championship this was the next big event on my radar as I couldn’t do the Europeans, so I came here with the aim of winning and I’m pleased to have achieved that.

“Bermuda is the next Moth event on my radar now and the Worlds next year is the long-term goal, depending on whether I can fit it into my calendar. Bermuda is going to be a big event as everyone’s going to be there so I’ll be trying pretty hard for that.”

On whether he’d have any new developments for the Bermuda event Rob said, “We have a new sail coming out in the next month, a 3Di sail. Whether that’ll be ready for Bermuda remains to be seen. Otherwise it’ll be just small refinements to the boat.”

We asked Rob about the health of the Moth class in the UK after seeing a superb 73 entries for the 2016 Nationals, “The Moths in the UK have been fantastic for a few years. There must be 150 active boats in the UK, with many happy staying at their own club and racing, or just sailing around – we probably have a lower turnout at some events because people don’t need to go racing. Moths are a great boat, I’ve always said if you can sail a Laser then you can sail a Moth, you shouldn’t be put off by the look of it as it’s actually a relatively easy boat to sail.”

With the class having so many active sailors, we asked what would encourage more people to attend open events and the nationals, “It’s just having the confidence to come and realising that we’re a friendly bunch of people. It’s not about winning, it’s about getting round and having fun.”

The podium was completed by David Hivey in second and Dylan Fletcher in third.

David Hivey, being a school teacher, has managed to spend a fair amount of time during the holidays sailing his Moth and we asked him if he was happy with his 2nd overall in the championship, “Going from 12th (in last year’s championship) to 2nd, I couldn’t really ask for anything more, I was secretly aiming for a podium but I’d have been happy with a top five. I thought I was fast enough to challenge Rob but I was pretty certain that I’d do something stupid and it turned out that way in the end!”

On whether he’s be able to get more time off to compete in next year’s Nationals and the Bermuda Regatta David said, “I’m going to struggle for the nationals as I won’t have the advantage of a summer holiday beforehand, I think I’ll be a bit of a weekend warrior between now and the Worlds in Italy. I’m going to ask my headmaster nicely about Bermuda and hopefully he won’t read this before I get to speak to him!”

Dylan Fletcher said about the championship, “Rob’s put together a really good campaign and was always at least equal fastest with the next boat and he was arguably the fastest boat downwind which actually won him the regatta. He sailed well, he sailed smart, and kept himself out of trouble with his boat speed and was pretty hard to beat.”

Dylan has very much been focused on his Rio 2016 49er campaign for the past 2 years so hasn’t had much time to commit to the Moth so we asked him if he can now spend more time in the boat, “Yes, I’ve sold this boat and I’ve got another one coming in a couple of weeks. The main focus now is on Bermuda where we’ll introduce some new developments and I’ll try and campaign it quite hard for the next couple of months. I’m doing another 49er campaign as well so will be out in Japan in October (the Sailing World Cup is there in 2017) and my Moth sailing will be fitting around that, but it’s definitely much higher up the priority list over the next year or so. With what we’ve got planned on development, even if I can get level on pace with Rob then I think I’ll give him a bit of a headache.”

As mentioned above, the next major event for the International Moth Class is the MS Amlin Moth Regatta in Bermuda from 2-9 December. In 2017 the World Championships are being held in Malcesine on Lake Garda from 23-29 July.

 

Overall results can be found at:

http://www.sailwave.com/results/WPNSA/2016_Moth_Nationals/Overall.htm

 

by Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

 

Glamour day on Portland Harbour as Rob Greenhalgh shines

 

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Photos c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

Day 3 – Moth UK Champs on Portland Harbour

 

 

Monday saw another delay in the morning, but this time due to a lack of wind. Signs were promising though with a clear sky out to sea, the wind switching to the South West, and clouds building over the land.

It wasn’t long before a steady 12-15 knot sea breeze had filled in and, combined with the flat water of Portland Harbour, the 73-boat fleet of foilers revelled in the superb conditions.

After 8 clean starts in a row, the Moths finally got over-eager in race 9 with a high flyer drawing the rest of the fleet over the line leading to the first general recall of the championship.

Principal Race Officer Bryan Drake has been impressed with the fleet’s discipline so far, “They’ve been really good, close to the line, but up until the final race today the line has been nice and clear. In the last race there was one boat that was well up on the line and he basically pulled the others up as they assumed he wasn’t over. Suddenly the whole fleet was up too early and we had the first general recall of the regatta and so we went for the U flag afterwards.”

 

 

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Rob Greenhalgh – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

Rob Greenhalgh held a master-class, winning 3 of the 4 races with some of his winning margins being measured in minutes over the half-hour 3-lap courses. The call over the VHF of “first round the windward mark, GBR4340” became almost monotonous with surprise shown on the committee boat if another sail number was called in. The only thing that seemed capable of slowing him down was weed on the foils – something that nearly always has be cleared with via a capsize – but even this seemed to only halt his charge momentarily.

On his super speed Rob said, “I changed batten 3 today to a softer one and it definitely helped – I was ripping downwind. There was a lot of weed out there today and it was pretty shifty so I just stayed out of trouble and was going quick. I had one bad start but the wind was very left so I flipped onto port quickly, stuck it out there, and got to the windward mark in the top 3. My other starts were alright.”

On whether a batten change could make all the difference Rob said, “Definitely, especially downwind in these things as a stiffer rig or a more grunty sail will definitely give you more downwind. Yesterday I was looking at that batten and it didn’t look quite right so I put in a slightly softer one today and it definitely looked a lot nicer. It’s such a small sail, only 8 sq. metres, so you really need to get everything out of it downwind when the apparent wind drops.”

“One of the big things with Moth sailing is that there are so many factors going on; there’s the rig and then you’ve got the whole foil package. It takes a bit of time to know what rope to pull when something’s not quite right, whether it’s the rig,  the foil, the wand or the rudder angle, and after a couple of years you have the experience to know which is the ‘go to’ rope according to what the boat is telling you. A lot of the sailors who are new to it have to go through that whole learning process.”

 

 

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Dave Hivey & Dylan Fletcher battle for 2nd – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

 

Behind Greenhalgh it was another day of tight racing within the pack with four-wide roundings of the leeward mark commonplace. The clash of rigs, shouts for avoiding action, emergency manoeuvres and capsizes were nearly as regular.

The question amongst those chasing Greenhalgh was how to catch him. We asked David Hivey, winner of race 7, about what the difference was between himself and Robert: “I was pretty tired and broken after yesterday – I don’t spend as much time in the gym as Rob and I think that showed today. I sailed alright but I seemed to get a lot of weed and was struggling to get it off the foils. I had to capsize 3 times today to get the weed off which cost me quite a lot, but it was the same for everybody.”

Current European Champion Mike Lennon is lying 4th going into the final day. He’s posted a number of top 5 results but said, “It felt like a bit of a war at times – there was a lot of weed around so you were constantly looking over the side and then trying to figure out ways of getting it off without actually capsizing.”

 

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Mike Lennon – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

On how to handle weed Mike said, “We get a lot of it at Hayling so we practice it. Just before you’re about to tack you set the boat up really high and let it heel over, assuming the weed’s on the windward side of the foil, and then as it falls down out of the sky sideways it washes off the foil. You can only do that one side at a time unfortunately. The other method is to just sky the boat, pulling on so much ride height that the whole foil comes out of the water – the problem with that is the rudder comes out as well and you lose steerage for a few seconds. As you’re plunging back down into the water your steerage comes back again and you just hope you can send it in the right direction!”

There were some great battles amongst the ‘elder statesmen’ of the fleet with Jason Belben and Ricky Tagg battling it out all the way to the line for 7th in the final race of the day. Whilst losing out to Jason in the race, Ricky put his performance down to “Ignoring pain and competitive spirit”.

On how he handles a four race day Ricky  said, “I think you’re relying on everything in the boat working well so that you expend the least amount of energy on systems in the boat. Then getting everything into its right position so that the boat hits the groove, then you’ve got time to look around and race, because you can’t just fire into a corner – the racing is very tight and brutal. If you make a mistake then 4 or 5 places go in an instant.”

Jason gave us his view of the battle: “At the end of the 4th race today we both gave everything we could for the last downwind leg. We went for it the whole run and it pushed us both to the limit.”

Not every sailor is looking to put a full series together at the nationals. Graham Simmonds chooses his races according to the conditions saying, “In the first race I thought ‘my legs don’t hurt, the sun’s shining and my new sail is working a treat. It’s actually a boat where you don’t really need to race it, but it does give it an edge doesn’t it? Even Dave (Smithwhite) who’s 60 can sail it, so I’ve got at least 5 years left in the boat! Next year I might take it seriously and get fit, but this year I’ll just stick my finger in the air and see how it’s going.”

In the contest to be top female sailor of the regatta, former Olympian Penny Clark is mixing up with the guys in a very respectable 22nd place.

 

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Penny Clark – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

 

PRO Bryan Drake summed up with, “It was a dream day. The wind did flick around a bit but the average remained constant and I barely had to change the course at all.”

Racing concludes on Tuesday with the final three races scheduled for 10.30am. Barring gear failure Greenhalgh should have the championship wrapped up with his current pace but Hivey is only 4 points behind so it’s not a given.

 

Overall Standings: http://www.sailwave.com/results/WPNSA/2016_Moth_Nationals/Overall.htm

 

 

High octane foiling at former Olympic venue

 

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Rob Greenhalgh  – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

 

Day 2 – UK Moth Championships in Portland Harbour

 

It was a wet and windy start to the day in Weymouth with gusts up to 29 knots coursing across Portland Harbour. Principal Race Officer Bryan Drake and his team went out early to scout the course area, but the wind strength and the considerable chop that had built up led to a postponement, waiting for the forecast drop in wind.

At 2pm the fleet were released from the shore and blasted down to the course area at over 20 knots to start a superb day of action with four high speed 3-lap races. Each race went away cleanly on a very even line with most of the fleet going left to catch the lift near Portland. Battles were tight throughout the fleet with adversaries rounding the leeward mark in packs.

David Hivey and Rob Greenhalgh picked up where they left off after yesterday’s single race, taking the top two places in every race. It’s Greenhalgh who holds a slight advantage going into day 3 with a one point lead thanks to his 3 bullets.

We spoke to Rob after the racing, “As expected I had very close racing with Dave Hivey who’s obviously going very fast – I just had the better of him today. I was pretty happy with how I was going. In the windy stuff he seems to be going well and he just got away from me in the second race today.”

“It’s all super-close, Dylan’s right there as well and conditions are changing on Monday and Tuesday with lighter air so we’ll be using big foils and stiff masts. It’s all to play for.”

Rob commented on the tight battle with David, who’s he done some training with, “We did a bunch down in Garda a month or so ago and he was going really fast – I think we both got a bit quicker down there and I think that’s pushed us a step ahead.”

On today’s racing Robert said, “Four good races. I think we probably could have got out a bit earlier as I didn’t think it was overly windy, but everyone got round so it was probably the right decision.”

David, who is just a point behind after the day said, “I think I sailed pretty well. Rob was the same speed as me but I let him get away on 3 of the first beats, but it’s pretty hard to keep that guy behind you anyway!”

 

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David Hivey – photo © Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

David quickly sailed ashore before the final race today and switched to a larger foil. We asked him his thinking on the change, “My weakness is sailing when the breeze drops off on the smaller foils. I’m a bit heavier than most of the sailors so I tend to drop off the foils faster than everybody else so I made the choice to come in. It almost worked – if it had dropped off a knot or two I don’t think Rob would have made the last windward mark on the foils and I would have got him – I was happy with my choice anyway.”

Dylan Fletcher, fresh from his 49er exploits in Rio, was hot on their heels in every race, but couldn’t quite break the leading pair’s lock-out of the top two positions, so far stringing together all 3rd place results. We asked him how he was going to break into the top two, “I don’t really know to be honest! Today I was trying everything, I was trying to be more aggressive but it didn’t seem to make a difference and they were just a tiny bit faster. I’m going to have a look at the boat this evening and make a few modifications, but ultimately I think it’s what happens when you don’t do any development work for a year and other people do.”

 

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Dylan Fletcher – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

 

“I felt like I was sailing really well today, I was starting well and I was getting everything right. They’re both about 10 kilos bigger than me and that’s probably got a little bit to do with it. I was trying to hike harder but my legs didn’t want to hear that.”

On coming straight from Rio and back into the UK Moth circuit Dylan said, “It’s good fun. I’m still broken from Rio – both physically and mentally – but I wouldn’t miss the Moth Nationals at my home club for anything… apart from the actual Olympics! It’s great to be here with mates and sailing around your home waters in a wicked boat.”

Dylan is one of four Olympians sailing at the event. We spoke to relative newcomer to the fleet Stu Bithell, silver medallist in the 470 class at London 2012, about the draw of the International Moth class.

“They’re exciting boats. The sport of sailing in my opinion is going foiling and the Moth is probably one of the most developed classes in that area. Also living down here in Weymouth we’ve got this amazing arena to go out and play – the flat water in Portland Harbour is perfect.”

 

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Stu Bithell – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

 

On whether it’s the competition or the boat itself that draws him to the class, Stu said, “Both; the boats are amazing but the class attracts the best sailors in the world. If you want to improve your sailing and racing skills then racing against the best guys in the world is the place to be. The boat itself is cool to sail – good fun.”

On his performance today and whether he can challenge for a race win Stu said, “I’m really happy with how I sailed today. I got some good starts and some solid top ten results but the guys at the front are quite a long way down the line on the boat speed, but hey – never say never! I’m getting the buzz and feel for it and will give it all I’ve got.”

 

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Simon Hiscocks – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

Simon Hiscocks, silver medallist in the 49er class at Sydney 2000, agreed with Stu on the draw of the International Moth, “I think it is the most exciting boat that is available to sail, full stop. That’s the draw within itself, whether you’ve got a past competitive sailing background or not, but then when you look at the fleet and who currently sails them then the other people draw you there as well because the competition is excellent. There are very few classes where you can race against the likes of Rob Greenhalgh, Nathan Outteridge, Pete Burling on as near as you can get to a level playing field.”

 

For full results see: http://www.sailwave.com/results/WPNSA/2016_Moth_Nationals/

 

 

 

 

Dave Hivey fastest out of the blocks

 

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Dave Hivey port tacks the fleet at start of race 1 – photos c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

 

Day 1 International Moth UK Nationals at the WPNSA

 

 

Seventy-three boats have signed on for the 2016 VRsport.tv International Moth UK Nationals at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. With the odd lightning strike off Chesil Beach and a huge storm over Dorchester, the fleet were released to leave the shore once it was deemed safe enough to sail in Portland Harbour, with racing getting underway just 20 minutes after the scheduled 1pm start time.

The easterly breeze was set to swing around to the south and drop so the race team, led by Bryan Drake, were keen to get as much racing in as possible before this happened.

In the end just a single race was possible. A second race was started, but with the vast majority of the fleet low-riding, and those who did manage to get foiling dropping down and stopping once they’d gybed, the race was inevitably abandoned.

 

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Dave Hivey wins race 1 – photo Mark Jardine – IMCA UK

 

 

David Hivey won the race after finishing 12th at last year’s nationals. We spoke to him about what has made the difference this year:

“Boatspeed. I’ve been spending a lot of time with Rob (Greenhalgh). He’s a pretty difficult man to beat so I’ve been working pretty hard to get around the same speed as him.”

On how much time he’s been spending out on the water David said, “Probably about the same as the professionals! Because I’m a teacher I’ve spent most of the past 7 weeks sailing. I also managed to spend 3 weeks sailing over Easter and school gave me a week off for the Europeans which was amazing and I’ve also had 2 weeks training on Lake Garda with Rob.”

“I had a real issue with tacking last year. My boatspeed was almost there and I was rounding the top mark in the top 5 sometimes, but I was capsizing on 50% of my tacks. So I’ve probably tacked 10,000 times since January trying to make sure I sorted that out.”

On what the draw is to the International Moth over other fleets he’s said in, such as the Lasers, RS200s, 400s & 800s David said, “The standard is higher at the very top end as we’ve got the Olympics guys, and professional sailors who aren’t doing the Olympic classes, so at the very top end it’s the best racing you’re going to get. But even outside of this you have people who are sailing the boat all the time so the level is very, very high.”

“The draw is the competition and the boat itself – you can have a bad day in a Moth and it’s still good fun.”

 

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2nd placed Rob Greenhalgh – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

Second placed Robert Greenhalgh was pleased with his opening race, “I didn’t have the greatest start to the race. I crossed the line on port and was probably being a little conservative and rounded the top mark in 4th and to fight back a bit. The second (abandoned) race was a bit of a lottery. I was in the lead when they canned it, but canning it was the right thing to do.”

Robert said on his training with David Hivey, “We’ve got the same kit and he’s going quick and he’s trying hard so it’s good to be pushed.”

Robert’s schedule this year has included sailing the Fast 40+ ‘Invictus’ and also the record-breaking MOD70 ‘Phaedo3’ and we asked if this had impacted on the time he had available for Moth sailing, “I haven’t had a huge amount of sailing in the Moth recently, but enough and I’m certainly not going to use it as an excuse. More is always better, but with 4 or 5 days here I think we’ll see everyone improve as the event goes on.”

Andrew Budgen, while well known in other fleets and through his Monster Project Volvo 70, is competing in his first Moth UK Nationals and is the leading ‘first timer’ after finishing the day’s race in 6th. We spoke to him after the racing,

“We had a nice bit of breeze early on which obviously suits me, being one of the bigger guys in the fleet. I had a reasonable start and it might have actually been the first race I’ve ever done where I flew the whole way round without hitting the deck! I’ve been working on the boat all week trying to get a new sail plan together which has maybe made a difference. It’s the kind of boat that you want be out in quite a lot.”

 

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First home-build over the line was Alister Richardson in 8th – photo c Mark Jardine / IMCA UK

 

 

First home-build over the line was Alister Richardson in 8th, who was sailing his new Moth which has been two years in the making, “It was my first time racing in the boat which was good fun. It’s been in development the whole time of the build and it’s still in development!”

There are a couple of unique features on the boat including a foredeck-less bow and tapered stern. We asked Alister to describe these more,

“The thinner transom is for less drag when its low riding and it’s also supposed to help a little bit when it’s popping out of the water – less of a brake effectively. On the front I haven’t got a foredeck and the intention is to get the mast down onto that and get rid of the stump altogether, but that’s phase two. I’m just trying to get it to go alright in the same configuration as every other Moth before I start getting more radical.”

 

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Principal Race Officer Bryan Drake summed up his thoughts about the day and trying to get more racing in, “The Moths foil for a good race and if they can’t foil it’s not much fun. In the second race we had a few people foiling on the corners where the wind was stronger and they walked away from the others, but as they came downwind towards us the wind decreased and they dropped back in the water and from a Moth point of view I didn’t think it was a fair race.

“Races are timed at about 30 minutes each so we can catch up on the schedule. We can turn around races in less than an hour so there’s no difficulty in getting in 4 races if they’ve got the stamina to do so.”

There’s set to be 15 to 20 knots on Sunday so the fleet is looking forward to a high speed blast around Portland Harbour.

 

Day 1 results can be found at:

http://www.sailwave.com/results/WPNSA/2016_Moth_Nationals/Race_1.htm

 

by Mark Jardine for IMCA UK

 

 

 

SoftBank Team Japan cracks the foiling tack

 

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Photo © Matt Knighton / SoftBank Team Japan

 

 

 

SoftBank Team Japan announced that they cracked the foiling tack earlier this year while training with their AC45 Sport test boat in Bermuda.

Long regarded as the ‘holy grail’ of the America’s Cup, the manoeuvre has been the last significant barrier preventing America’s Cup teams from hypothetically foiling around an entire racecourse – a feat that if proven could potentially define the outcome of the 2017 America’s Cup.

“We know now that it’s achievable and it’s a real game changer”, said Skipper and CEO Dean Barker. “We think most of the teams know we did it so the race is on now. The trick with the foil gybe was learning the different settings and techniques for different wind conditions and that’s going to be the same with the tacking.”

The manoeuvre has the potential to reshape the upwind strategy of the next America’s Cup as it reduces the deficit incurred by slowing down to cross the wind resulting in gains of possibly hundreds of meters compared with the 2013 event.

“The boat needs to be doing a certain speed to stay on foils – typically in the 16-18 knot region – as when you’re going into a tack, the bottom speed is usually around 13-14 knots. So what you end up doing is using the speed you have going into the tack to make sure you don’t drop below. You typically would loose a lot in the tack – up to four boat lengths even – but if you can stay on the foils the losses are heavily reduced.”

The first foiling tack manoeuvre was developed by the team on April 19th alongside their training partner Oracle Team USA.

“We were out there, nice breeze, put the boat into a tack and stayed up on the foils. Then pulled off another one the same day just to make sure it wasn’t chance. In the months since then we’ve been growing in our consistency to perform the manoeuvre.”

The breakthrough of the foiling tack marks one of the final pieces in the accelerating development of the new wing-sailed, foiling catamarans that have come to define the America’s Cup.

In preparation for the 2013 event, it was Barker and his team who first foiled their AC72 class yacht and then proceeded to develop the breakthrough technique for gybing the boat downwind while staying on foils.

Now at it again, Barker is pushing his team even further to use the new tacking technique to try and achieve a perfect flight around the racecourse without getting the hulls wet.

“The absolute ‘holy grail’ would be to pop up on foils at the start and then keep the hulls dry all around the racecourse. It’s certainly not inconceivable. It’d be quite the achievement to pull it off.”

Calling it a “game changer”, Tactician Chris Draper was confident that the new technique – once mastered – has the potential to change the entire playbook of the America’s Cup.

“If it’s anything like Moth sailing, this starts to open up the race course a lot more, your options are a lot wider. It’s not about sailing boundary to boundary anymore, you can tack on the shifts a lot more on demand. It will make the racing a lot more exciting for the public as well.”

It’s now a race for consistency as Barker is cautious that all teams will likely be able to perform tacks while foiling during the America’s Cup in 2017. Still, now that SoftBank Team Japan has cracked the code, the sailing and performance teams are devoting significant resources towards mastering the manoeuvre.

“It’s no secret it’s what team’s see as the future”, said Barker. “You have to believe everyone will be able to do it but it’s nice to be getting there early to try to learn what the key parts are. I’m sure over the next few months we’ll see more teams perfect the tack.”

 

Youtube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uU9KwmumSg4

 

by Matt Knighton, SoftBank Team Japan

 

 

More medal race dramas, ecstasy and agony

 

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition features 380 athletes from 66 nations, in 274 boats racing across ten Olympic disciplines. Racing runs from Monday 8 August through to Thursday 18 August 2016 with 217 male and 163 female sailors racing out of Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sailing made its Olympic debut in 1900 and has been a mainstay at every Olympic Games since 1908. For more information or requests please contact Daniel Smith at World Sailing on marketing@sailing.org or phone +44 (0) 7771 542 131.

 

 

The Olympic Sailing Competition rose to a dramatic crescendo, with the home nation winning a gold medal in the Women’s Skiff by the most ridiculously small margin, just two seconds. Silver would have been great, but gold for Brazil has set off a party that will last for days. In the Men’s 470, Croatia won its first ever gold medal in Olympic sailing.

After no wind the previous afternoon, the final day delivered perfect 14-knot breezes for the finale. The four Medal Races kept the crowds on Flamengo Beach entertained all afternoon. It started with an ever-shifting battle for silver and bronze in the

 

 

Brazil clinches 49erFX gold by just two seconds

 

The crowd on Flamengo Beach went wild as Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) won gold by just two seconds from Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) in a nailbiting final run to the finish. New Zealand took silver and bronze went to Denmark’s Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen. The team to miss out on a medal from the four-way battle was the Spanish crew of Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos.

With the wind blowing 12 to 15 knots, New Zealand launched off the left-hand end of the start line, Brazil got away cleanly from the middle while Denmark and Spain made messy starts on the right. Maloney and Meech got into a good lead on the first lap but led Brazil by just 13 seconds at the halfway stage of the three-lap race. At the bottom gate, the Kiwis chose the right-hand side and Brazil broke off to the left in search of something different. When they came back together again at the top of the course, Brazil’s alternative tactics had given them a ten-second lead.

Down the run to the finish the Kiwis attacked hard and made up ground on the Brazilians, but somehow Grael and Kunze held on to get across the line just two seconds ahead.

After five-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt just missed out on a sixth medal in the Laser, finishing an agonising fourth, it was critical that the Brazilian 49erFX team came away with something from the final race of Rio 2016. To come away with gold has sent their home nation into ecstasy. When Grael and Kunze won gold at the Olympic Test Event a year ago, the Brazilian media went wild. But one can only imagine how big this will go now that they have become Olympic Champions.

Grael’s victory continues a great family tradition, her father Torben having won five Olympic medals for Brazil. Torben was watching from a coach boat and was one of the first to congratulate his daughter. Martine said, “To receive the medals here in Rio with all our friends and family is indescribable. But I didn’t think about the fact the Brazilian sailing team had no medals. I was just focused on the race, nothing else.”

Kunze said, “Before starting the Medal Race we hugged each other and said, ‘Let’s give our best and no matter what the result it’s going to be fine.’ We were already happy to be among the first four teams, that was already an excellent result. And it’s incredible to compete at home with these amazing fans. We hope to influence more girls to compete in sailing and to make our sport grow.”

Maloney and Meech so nearly made it a Kiwi double in the Skiff classes after Pete Burling and Blair Tuke had won gold in the Men’s 49er. But any disappointment at missing 49erFX gold was swiftly cast aside as the Kiwi girls celebrated taking the silver. “It’s an amazing evening for the Brazilian girls,” said Maloney. “I think the next couple of weeks will be pretty special for them.

With her brother Sam winning bronze two days earlier in the Laser Men’s division, it’s a double celebration for the Meech family. “I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s been an amazing week,” said Molly. “We’ve sailed really well and were really happy with the way things have gone this week. The Olympics has been an amazing experience. It’s awesome to have all the support back home and everyone getting up early to watch us race, it’s really cool. The whole of the New Zealand sailing team has been working really hard for the last four years and I think that it’s all paid off for everyone. It’s amazing to be part of the team.”

Hansen and Salskov-Iversen beat the Spanish in the battle for bronze. The 49erFX was expected to deliver some of the most exciting and unpredictable racing at Rio 2016, but no one could have imagined that the gold would come down to the last two seconds.

 

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition features 380 athletes from 66 nations, in 274 boats racing across ten Olympic disciplines. Racing runs from Monday 8 August through to Thursday 18 August 2016 with 217 male and 163 female sailors racing out of Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sailing made its Olympic debut in 1900 and has been a mainstay at every Olympic Games since 1908. For more information or requests please contact Daniel Smith at World Sailing on marketing@sailing.org or phone +44 (0) 7771 542 131.

 

GBR wins 470 Women’s gold, New Zealand silver, France bronze in tight Medal Race

With Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) having already won the Women’s 470 gold medal, the battle for silver and bronze came down to a six-way fight between New Zealand, USA, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) took up the early running and led for the first lap, putting them in silver medal position ahead of the 2012 Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL).

The shifting wind produced some new race leaders on the final lap, with Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) streaking away to win the Medal Race. Meanwhile the battleground for the medals was changing by the moment. The Americans were given a penalty turn for fouling the Japanese crew which put them to the back and out of the medals. This left the way clear for New Zealand to take a jubilant silver medal with reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA) making a late charge from the back of the fleet to finish sixth, sufficient to give France the bronze by a single point from the Netherlands crew, Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen. It was tears of joy for the three Medal winning crews but the Americans were distraught after having controlled the race early on, only to come away with nothing.

On winning gold at her third Olympic Games and her second with Mills, Clark commented, “It’s our second Games together and to actually have a gold medal after seeing our team mates do it in the past and this week as well, for us it’s just so exciting.”

Mills said, “We’re totally overwhelmed right now. Obviously we knew we’d kind of clinched it but I did so many boat checks this morning because we still had to finish the race. That felt like such a lot of pressure to finish one 20-minute race. We were desperate to race yesterday but we are actually quite glad we didn’t as it was a cracking sailing day for our medal race with sunshine, wind and waves. It all overwhelms you at once – especially when you see your family and friends who have come all this way to support you and have been with you every step of the way and to be able to share this special moment with them was very overwhelming.”

Aleh had no regrets at not being able to defend the gold medal from London 2012. Silver was still great. “I don’t have any what-ifs. Sometimes in sport it goes your way and sometimes it doesn’t. We’re just proud of the fact we’ve been able to fight all week and come out with a silver. It means more to us than a gold because we’ve had to fight for everything. Nothing went the way we wanted it to really. We just battled and to contemplate a silver from where we were half way through the event seemed like an impossibility, so we’re really happy.”

Lecointre was relieved to come away with bronze. “The competition level was close, there were six boats or even more who could have won a medal here so we are so happy we managed to come back into bronze medal position on the final lap of the last race.”

 

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition features 380 athletes from 66 nations, in 274 boats racing across ten Olympic disciplines. Racing runs from Monday 8 August through to Thursday 18 August 2016 with 217 male and 163 female sailors racing out of Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sailing made its Olympic debut in 1900 and has been a mainstay at every Olympic Games since 1908. For more information or requests please contact Daniel Smith at World Sailing on marketing@sailing.org or phone +44 (0) 7771 542 131.

 

 

Croatia wins first ever sailing gold in Men’s 470, Australia silver, Greece bronze

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic have won Croatia’s first ever gold medal in Olympic sailing. The Croatians sailed a controlled race, making sure they stayed ahead of their rivals Australia and Greece. However, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) were much concerned about protecting the silver medal and engaged Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) in a match race before the start.

With the race underway, the Swiss team streaked off into the lead, but the three medal contenders were much more interested in covering each other’s moves at the back of the fleet. With the Aussies and Greeks caught up in their own duel, Croatia’s job of defending gold became straightforward.

Meanwhile, Belcher mostly had the best of Mantis until the top of the final windward leg when Ryan lost his footing and briefly fell overboard but still pulled himself back on board with his trapeze handle. The Greeks seized the moment and moved into the lead, but the Australians attacked again on the final run to the finish. They pressured the Greek boat into making a small mistake on a gybe, and the 2012 Olympic Champion steered the Aussie boat for the finish, crossing the line just six seconds before their rivals to secure silver for Australia. Despite missing out to the Australians, the Greek crew was still very happy with bronze after a tough series at Rio 2016. “It’s amazing to be on the podium at the Olympic Games,” said Mantis. “It’s what I have always dreamed of. As the race started today it was a game for all of the medallists but as it continued it was a fight between us and the Australians until the end. We had a great last day of racing. The other medal winners sailed perfectly and they deserve it.”

Fantela and Marenic’s victory crowns a stunning week for Croatia, the 470 Men’s gold going alongside Tonci Stipanovic’s Laser Men’s silver just two days ago. Croatia had never won an Olympic medal in sailing, now it has two. “It was a good morning,” said Fantela. “I feel really happy, calm, no stress, no pressure. Like the first day of the rest of my life, I really feel good.”

From the outside, it seemed the Croatians made easy work of Rio, but Fantela commented, “This was one of the toughest weeks for me in my whole career, nine days of racing, a bent mast in the storm, a broken mainsail and lots of waiting on the shore. So I was taking every day as a challenge, as there was always something new. I knew if I stayed calm and focused all the time, I knew we could win the medal.”

Belcher had no regrets with his and Ryan’s performance, not even the moment when Ryan half slipped out of the boat. “This is part of sport, we were in a really tight battle and mistakes happen. But for Will to be able to come back and refocus shows the level of our team’s ability. It’s been a difficult week for us. We’ve had to overcome a lot of things but I couldn’t be more proud of what our team have done and to come away with silver is a fantastic achievement. We wanted gold, but hats off to the Croatians because they truly deserve it.”

 

The Rio 2016 Olympic Sailing Competition features 380 athletes from 66 nations, in 274 boats racing across ten Olympic disciplines. Racing runs from Monday 8 August through to Thursday 18 August 2016 with 217 male and 163 female sailors racing out of Marina da Gloria in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Sailing made its Olympic debut in 1900 and has been a mainstay at every Olympic Games since 1908. For more information or requests please contact Daniel Smith at World Sailing on marketing@sailing.org or phone +44 (0) 7771 542 131.

 

 

New Zealand win 49er Gold, Australia silver, Germany bronze

For Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), the Medal Race was a victory lap, the Kiwis having won the 49er Men’s gold medal with two races to spare after dominating the 20-boat fleet at Rio 2016 over the past week. The unstoppable Kiwis stamped their authority on today’s Medal Race just as they have throughout the past four years, the four-time World Champions undefeated since taking the Olympic silver medal in London 2012.

Tuke said, “We’ve been working hard on always getting better throughout the four-year cycle since London 2012 and this week I think is the best we’ve ever sailed.” Burling added, “We’ve always had this goal for the last eight years, and we’re super proud to do this for our country. Blair and myself wanted to go out and try and dominate early and come to this event with people chasing us. We enjoy the pressure of being the favourite and the challenge of trying to rise to that level of expectation.”

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) began the day in silver medal position, but started the race very badly after a poor manoeuvre just 20 seconds before the start. This put the Germans on the back foot and opened the door for Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) to seize the advantage. The 2012 Olympic Champions did enough to stay ahead of their rivals and won silver for Australia, Germany taking bronze.

Outteridge might not have managed to defend the Olympic title but the Aussies were pleased to have upgraded their position on the podium. “We did as well as we could today, coming in we were bronze and the most we could get was silver and we managed do it so I am very happy.” Outteridge and Jensen have barely had a week off between professional sailing commitments. “We’re going to relax for a few weeks then head back to Bermuda and on to the America’s Cup.”

For Outteridge, the Olympic dream has been an obsession. “I remember watching the Sydney Olympics when I was a kid and remembered thinking that the sport I was doing was actually in the Games. I hadn’t really realised it before that stage so from that point onwards it was always a passion and a dream to get to the Olympics. This is my third Olympics now and winning a gold and a silver out of three is a pretty good track record. I am proud of the achievements that Iain and I have made together.”

Ploessel said the final race could have gone better. “The Medal Race was really tough for us, especially with Nathan and Iain chasing us. We put ourselves under a little too much pressure and it was hard for us to have a good race. We will analyse our mistakes and come back stronger. Heil said, “We came here with the goal of finishing somewhere between second and sixth and if we sailed well maybe we could get a medal. So to achieve what we did, we are very happy.”

 

Rio 2016 and thats a wrap – Obrigada Rio

 

 

Brazil wins 49erFX gold by 2 seconds from New Zealand

 

Grael and Kunze

All photos c Sailing Energy / World Sailing

 

The crowd on Flamengo Beach went wild as Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) won gold by just two seconds from Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) in a nail biting final run to the finish. New Zealand took silver and bronze went to Denmark’s Jena Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN). The team to miss out on a medal from the four-way battle was the Spanish crew of Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP).

With the wind blowing 12 to 15 knots, New Zealand launched off the left-hand end of the start line, Brazil got away cleanly from the middle while Denmark and Spain made messy starts on the right. Maloney and Meech got into a good lead on the first lap but led Brazil by just 13 seconds at the halfway stage of the three-lap race. At the bottom gate, the Kiwis chose the right-hand side and Brazil broke off to the left in search of something different. When they came back together again at the top of the course, Brazil’s alternative tactics had given them a ten-second lead.

 

Maloney and Meech

 

Down the run to the finish the Kiwis attacked hard and made up ground on the Brazilians but somehow Grael and Kunze held on to get across the line just two seconds ahead.

After five-time Olympic medallist Robert Scheidt just missed out on a sixth medal in the Laser, finishing an agonising fourth, it was critical that the Brazilian 49erFX team came away with something from the final race of Rio 2016. To come away with gold has sent their home nation into ecstasy. When Grael and Kunze won gold at the Olympic Test Event a year ago, the Brazilian media went wild. But one can only imagine how big this will go now that they have become Olympic Champions.

Grael’s victory continues a great family tradition, her father Torben having won five Olympic medals for Brazil. Torben was watching from a coach boat and was one of the first to congratulate his daughter.

Maloney and Meech so nearly made it a Kiwi double in the Skiff classes after Pete Burling and Blair Tuke had won gold in the Men’s 49er. But any disappointment at missing 49erFX gold was swiftly case aside as the Kiwi girls celebrated taking the silver. Hansen and Salskov-Iversen beat the Spanish in the battle for bronze. The 49erFX was expected to deliver some of the most exciting and unpredictable racing at Rio 2016, but no one could have imagined that the gold would come down to the last two seconds.

 

New Zealand win 49er Gold, Australia silver, Germany bronze 

 

Burling Tuke and their coach Willcox

All photos c Sailing Energy / World Sailing

 

For Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL), the Medal Race was a victory lap, the Kiwis having won the 49er Men’s gold medal with two races to spare after dominating the 20-boat fleet at Rio 2016 over the past week. The unstoppable Kiwis dominated today’s Medal Race just as they have dominated the 49er fleet for the past four years, the four-time World Champions undefeated since taking the Olympic silver medal in London 2012.

 

AUS Outteridge and Jensen

 

Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) began the day in silver medal position, but started the race very badly after a near capsize just 20 seconds before the start. This put the Germans on the back foot and opened the door for Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) to seize the advantage. The 2012 Olympic Champions did enough to stay ahead of their rivals and won silver for Australia, Germany taking bronze.

 

GER Heil and Ploessel

 

 

Croatia wins first ever sailing gold in Men’s 470, Australia silver, Greece bronze

 

Croatia 470

All photos c Sailing Energy / World Sailing

 

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) have won Croatia’s first ever gold medal in Olympic sailing. The Croatians sailed a controlled race, making sure they stayed ahead of their rivals Australia and Greece. However Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) were much concerned about protecting the silver medal and engaged Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) in a match race before the start.

With the race underway, the Swiss team streaked off into the lead, but the three medal contenders were much more interested in covering each other’s moves at the back of the fleet. With the Aussies and Greeks caught up in their own duel, Croatia’s job of defending gold became straightforward.

 

Australia 470

 

Meanwhile, Belcher mostly had the best of Mantis until the top of the final windward leg when Ryan lost his footing and briefly fell overboard. The Greeks seized the moment and moved into the lead, but the Australians attacked again on the final run to the finish. They pressured the Greek boat into making a small mistake on a gybe, and the 2012 Olympic Champion steered the Aussie boat for the finish, crossing the line just six seconds before their rivals to secure silver for Australia. Despite missing out to the Australians, the Greek crew was still very happy with bronze after a tough series at Rio 2016.

Fantela and Marenic’s victory crowns a stunning week for Croatia, the 470 Men’s gold going alongside Tonci Stipanovic’s Laser Men’s silver just two days ago. Croatia had never won an Olympic medal in sailing, now it has two.

 

Greece 470

 

 

GBR wins 470 Women’s gold, New Zealand silver, France bronze in tight medal race

 

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark

Photo c Sailing Energy / World Sailing

 

With Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) having already won the Women’s 470 gold medal, the battle for silver and bronze came down to a six-way fight between New Zealand, USA, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Slovenia. Annie Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) took up the early running and led for the first lap, putting them in silver medal position ahead of the 2012 Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL).

The shifting wind produced some new race leaders on the final lap, with Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) streaking away to win the Medal Race. Meanwhile the battleground for the medals was changing by the moment.

 

Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie

 

The Americans were given a penalty turn for fouling the Japanese crew which put them to the back and out of the medals. This left the way clear for New Zealand to take a jubilant silver medal with reigning World Champions Camille Lecointre and Hélène de France (FRA) making a late charge from the back of the fleet to finish sixth, sufficient to give France the bronze by a single point from the Netherlands crew, Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED).

It was tears of joy for the three Medal winning crews but the Americans were distraught after having controlled the race early on, only to come away with nothing.

 

Camille Lecointre and Helene Defrance