Monthly Archives: April 2017
Photo c Robert Deaves
Medal Race Day 2 at World Cup Series in Hyères
On the second day of live Medal Racing from the south coast of France, it was the turn of the One and Two Person Dinghies to have their day.
A colder, overcast day with a steady 8-12 knot breeze did nothing to dampen the spirits of the final few lucky World Cup Series medallists.
Dutch Women’s 470 team, Afrodite Zegers and Annaloes van Veen made it three straight regatta wins in Hyères, backing up their World Cup Series Miami win and Trofeo Princesa Sofia victories.
Despite the victory, Zegers first thoughts were on improvement when she reached ashore at the end of the day, “We didn’t have a good race because we had a bad start. But I am happy that we stayed cool and just did our best. If I look back at the whole week I am happy with the things that we have improved and happy with the things we know we still need to work on.”
Zegers and van Veen crossed the line in fifth position in the Medal Race, but with a gold medal all but confirmed beforehand, the result wouldn’t hurt as much. The same cannot be said for Great Britain’s Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter. The Britons came in last place, and with it the chance of a medal slipped away.
The medals instead went to Silvia Mas Depares and Patricia Cantero Reina (ESP) who claimed silver and Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) who took bronze. Finishing on equal points, the Spanish team stand one step higher than their rivals on the podium thanks to a third-place Medal Race finish compared to the Swiss teams eighth.
When the going gets tough, some teams have the ability to just get the job done. Rio 2016 Men’s 470 silver medallists, Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) rose to the top when others around them were struggling. With a string of four race wins in a row handing them the gold with a day to spare, the Aussies could have sat back and basked in the glory. Instead they went for the jugular and claimed a fifth straight race win in the Medal Race.
On paper the gold look liked a walk in the park, but for Belcher it was anything but, “The one thing I love about this class is the strength and depth throughout which always gives us good racing. We had a great scorecard this week but we have had to fight for every metre.
“It’s one of our first events back after Rio so it was great for me and Will and we look forward to building on this through the year now.”
The two teams that pushed Belcher and Ryan the most were Carl-Fredrik Fock and Marcus Dackhammar (SWE) and Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE). The Swedish team claimed silver and the Greeks recovered from a disastrous fourth day to keep hold of bronze.
It was a case of déjà vu in the Laser class as Cypriot sailor Pavlos Kontides once again stole gold from underneath the nose of his rival. Pavlos must have been sitting on the start line of the Laser Medal Race thinking, ‘I’ve been here before’.
At the 2016 World Cup Final in Melbourne, Kontides went in to the final race in second overall fighting for a gold against Australia’s Matt Wearn. He won that battle and the gold. This time around, the job at hand was the same, the only difference was Italy’s Francesco Marrai was now in his way. The result? Well that was the same, gold for Kontides.
The Cypriot may walk away from Hyères, France with the Laser title, but it couldn’t have been closer. Kontides and Marrai finish the regatta level on 63 points. In the end it came down to the Medal Race result, and Kontides knew this, “It was a battle out there and I was in second or third. Francesco managed to pull himself back up to fifth but I knew my current position would give me the win. I got overtaken but then got my position back in the downwind and that got me the gold. It was close racing.”
The man that Kontides battled in Melbourne, Matt Wearn, had to settle for bronze medal and secured it with a sixth place final race finish.
In the Laser Radial Belgium’s Evi van Acker was safe in the knowledge she could not finish any worse than in silver medal position. But silver isn’t good enough for the determined Belgian and she was focused on gold.
The only sailor that could catch van Acker was Tuula Tenkanen (FIN). Van Acker always had rival Tenkanen in her sights and set out for a fight as she explains, “Today was an interesting race as I knew I had a silver and just had to defend a gold. That was the focus of the day, trying to defend against Tuula which meant we had a bit of a Match Race at the start.
“There were a lot of penalties given but for both of us I think it was quite exciting. I managed to get a good start compared to her and because of that I always felt in control.”
With a fourth placed finish compared to Tenkanen’s last place, van Acker won her mini match race and in turn won gold.
Finishing just ahead of van Acker in third place was France’s very own Mathilde de Kerangat. That finish meant she had secured herself a bronze medal in front of her home crowd.
When does finishing in last place feel good? At World Cup Hyères, when you win your first gold medal. That was the case for Turkey’s Alican Kaynar in the Finn class.
“This is my first World Cup win so I feel great,” said the Turkish sailor, “I started the season very well and now I have won here. We head to the Europeans next week so I feel great off the back of this.”
Hidden under a smile, you could see a sense of relief in Kaynar’s eyes. That relief came from a lot of time, effort and perseverance, “It is my first major regatta win and it’s just so good to know hard work pays off.”
Nicolas Heiner (NED) has been there or thereabouts all week in the Finn. A ninth place finish in the Medal Race meant that the Dutch sailor had to settle for silver, and in turn took the pressure of Kaynar allowing him to claim that maiden win.
Winning the Medal Race, Jonathan Lobert (FRA) secured another medal for the home nation as it took him in to bronze position. Recovering from knee surgery, the Frenchman will be happy to come out of Hyères with his body unscathed and with a medal around his neck.
As all the winners spray the champagne and collect their medals, focus will now shift to the 2017 World Cup Series Final in Santander, Spain this coming June.
The level of spectators at the regatta was however a real concern for World Sailing. There was a handful of supporting sailors on the rocks watching the medal races but very little interest in on of World Sailings marquee events!
The World Cup Series, as it is now known, is a work in progress but a pathway needs to be designed quickly for these events to have any significance in Olympic sailing class racing.
Day 5 of World Cup Series in Hyères, France
Seven medals were confirmed on Saturday at Sailing’s World Cup Series in Hyères, France. In the first of two live Medal Race days, France’s southern coast was blessed with glorious sunshine. Coupled with an 11-13 knot breeze from the west, the day was virtually perfect. The skiffs, windsurfers, multihulls, foiling kiteboarders and the Para World Sailing 2.4 Norlin OD concluded racing.
As the Medal Races played out, there was also fighting for the top ten positions in the one person and two person dinghies ahead of Sunday’s live final day of racing.
Spain’s 49er team, Diego Botin and Iago Lopez, had the luxury of knowing that whatever happened in the Medal Race the gold medal was theirs. With an unassailable overnight lead, even with the double points on offer in the final race, they could not be beaten.
Highlights of 49er medal race:
Reflecting on the impressive win, skipper Botin said, “It’s been a really good week for us. We hope every time we come in to a Championship that we will be in with a chance at the end of the regatta and this time around we were really surprised that we were top with a day to spare.”
Digging deeper to find their secret to success, Botin confirmed a simple fact of sport, “It was a lot of things. But it really came down to yesterday when we sailed well and everyone else didn’t.”
Holding on to silver was Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell (GBR) who finished third in the Medal Race. The bronze medal went to Sweden’s Carl Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark who just needed to stay ahead of nearest rivals Yago and Klaus Lange (ARG) which they did with ease as the Argentinean brothers fell to the back of the fleet finishing tenth.
In the 49erFX, Rio 2016 golden girls, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) have done it again as they claim another Medal Race and 2017 World Cup Series win. Backing up the gold they took in Miami, USA in Round One, the Brazilian girls were just too good for the fleet.
“We have nailed the year now with Miami and now Hyères,” said a smiling Grael, “but we have to keep our feet on the ground as we know there will be big competition ahead.”
Highlights video of the 49er FX medal race
One of those big competition’s is the Final in Santander, Spain this coming June. So, could it be a clean sweep? “It would be awesome,” said Grael, “let’s see what happens. The FX is a tough competition.”
Germany’s Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz win silver and the new 2017 pairing of Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) claim their first World Cup Series medal with a bronze.
Whatever Grael and Kunze can do, France’s Louis Giard can do too. Just like the Brazilian FX sailors, the French windsurfer has also added the Hyères title to the Round One Miami gold.
Despite a nervy start, Giard has slowly but surely climbed the ladder to the top of the podium racing better and better throughout the regatta, as he explains, “It’s another win for me after Miami. It wasn’t an easy week of racing and I had to improve my level throughout the week. I did that so I am happy.”
One sailor in the Men’s RS:X not happy is Mateo Sanz Lanz (SUI). While Giard started slow and gained confidence, Sanz Lanz seemingly did the opposite. With a tenth place finish in the double point Medal Race, Sanz Lanz missed out on the medals altogether allowing Piotr Myszka (POL) to take silver and Kiran Badloe (NED) to sneak in to take bronze.
Taking the Women’s RS:X gold was Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka. It has been a mixed bag of results from the Polish windsurfer, but in the end a string of high finishes throughout the week was enough to claim the title, “Today I enjoyed the racing. It was stable conditions and great planing. Compare that to yesterday when it was very hard.
“Overall though I have sailed consistent. If you think I haven’t won a race but I have won gold. It was all about consistency.”
That consistency equated to a 23-point win over second placed Yunxiu Lu (CHN) who takes silver and a 32-point margin over third placed, and bronze medallist, Noga Geller (ISR).
If you are going to win a gold medal, you may as well win it with a first place in the Medal Race. That is what Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) did in the Nacra 17.
For the Spanish team it seems that Hyères has been a collection of puzzle pieces fitting to make one golden picture, as Echavarri explains, “It’s a good prize for a lot of things coming together. We are enjoying our sailing and have a solid base. We are putting everything we have learned in the last two years together and it is working well.”
French medal hopefuls Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet secured silver when they finished ahead of Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN). That meant the Danes had to settle for the bronze medal.
Nico Parlier (FRA) has won all but one race in the Formula Foiling Kiteboarding, including the final three Medal Races.
Despite the dominance, Parlier still felt it was closer than the results suggest, “It’s been tough with really close racing. I’ve been really dialled in with my equipment though and had the wind I like so I am really happy with everything.”
Parlier’s compatriot, training partner and friend, Axel Mazella (FRA), has always been one step behind, but still secured the silver with room to spare ahead of Monaco’s Maxime Nocher.
Australia’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan will have a Hyères gold medal around their neck in the Men’s 470 no matter where they finish in the final Medal Race. With two bullets from two races, they opened up a 24-point lead to second placed Carl-Fredrik Fock and Marcus Dackhammar (SWE).
In the Women’s 470, Afrodite Zegers and Annaloes van Veen (NED) and Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) have been neck and neck all week. Not anymore. The Dutch team took two bullets compared to a tenth and 11th from the Swiss. Zegers and van Veen now hold a 19-point advantage.
With a 1-2 finish on day five, Alican Kayner (TUR) remains top of the Finn fleet going in to Sunday’s live Medal Race. Nicholas Heiner (NED) holds second and Ed Wright (GBR) third.
Six points separate the top two in the fight for Laser gold. Italy’s Francesco Marrai is the current leader on 53 points from a 2-9 day, bettering second placed Cypriot Pavlos Kontides who scored a 2-11. Australia’s Matt Wearn is in third.
Evi van Acker (BEL) has secured at least a silver medal ahead of the final Medal Race in the Laser Radial. Fighting the Belgian all the way will be second placed Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) who is 12 points behind.
It would seem that the mechanical issue that kept Damien Seguin (FRA) out of day four action was well and truly fixed. The impressive Frenchman returned to action in style to claim all three bullets on offer and close out the 2.4 Norlin OD series.
Seguin’s finished with a 17-point gap back to nearest rival Antonio Squizzato (ITA) in second. Xavier Dagault (FRA) claimed the bronze medal with 30 points.
Racing continues on Sunday 30 April at 12:05 local time as the final five Olympic classes race in the second and final day of Live Medal Races shown on the World Sailing YouTube Channel.
Day 4 of World Cup Series in Hyères
Sailors are always thrilled when they have a return of straight race victories. Then there are times when they are happy to come out in one piece, still within touching distance of the medals.
That was the case today at Sailing’s World Cup Series in Hyères, France as chaos reigned in the Laser Radial fleet. The competition in Hyères reached a critical stage on Friday with Medal Races imminent.
Saturday’s racing will see the skiffs, windsurfers, multihulls and foiling kiteboarders fight for the medals after a day that saw all the competitors make a final dash to reach the top ten.
Medal Races on Saturday 29 April will be streamed live on World Sailing’s Facebook and YouTube Channel.
Overnight, the forecast for racing on Friday was not looking good and Hyères was expected to be on the receiving end of 30knots of breeze, gusting 35. The breeze was strong in the morning and sailing postponed as the conditions were not deemed safe enough to sail. As the day progressed the breeze decreased enabling all but one fleet, the 2.4 Norlin OD, to hit the water.
The Laser Radial saw a day of chaos but Evi van Acker (BEL) has been there and done it. Van Acker was beaming with a smile ashore after racing following a sixth and 13th place to take the lead. Explaining the day van Acker said, “We waited a couple of hours because it was too windy, then we got out there and it wasn’t windy at all. Then it was shifty. We were far out today between fighting winds coming from the left, then the right, so today you didn’t know where you were.”
It was probably making sense of the chaos that brought the smile to van Acker’s face, “When we were racing there were very big variations in wind and strength so you were winning, then in the middle.
“It was crazy, but I did ok.
“I had some pretty good results in some very tough conditions.”
Van Acker is 12 points clear of Tuula Tenkanen (FIN).
Overnight leader, Hungary’s Maria Erdi, crept over the start line for her second black flag of the regatta and has fallen to ninth.
If van Acker was confused, then so was the young Hungarian, “I didn’t push the line. I mean I didn’t know what was happening at the start. Wind was shifting. People at the pin end. Wind turned. I just didn’t know what was happening.”
Carrying two maximum scores in a one discard regatta effectively puts you out of the running, so what now for Erdi, “If I make the top ten I am happy. That was my goal before the regatta started and it’s still my goal.”
Italy’s Francesco Marrai took the shifty conditions in his stride with a bullet and fourth place to move him top above Cypriot Pavlos Kontides.
Great Britain’s Nick Thompson is now tied with Kontides with an impressive second and third place. Those scores were impressive as second placed Kontides and fourth placed Matt Wearn (AUS) both had high scores on the day which they had to discard.
With another day of qualification racing before Sunday’s live Medal Race, the top order in the fleet could yet again switch around as a competitive Laser fleet continue to battle.
It was a day of contrasts in the Men’s and Women’s 470. Blows were exchanged between the leaders in the women’s and the men’s saw some knock outs.
Still on the same points total, Afrodite Zegers and Annaloes van Veen (NED) and Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) both notched up a bullet and second place to ensure that the Hyères title goes right down to the wire. With one more day of racing before the Medal Race, you wouldn’t bet against these two going in to a double points decider neck and neck.
With a perfect two bullet day, Rio 2016 silver medallist’s Mat Belcher and Will Ryan now have a 19-point buffer over second placed Carl -Fredrik Fock and Marcus Dackhammar (SWE).
Overnight leaders, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis have dropped after a 21-22 day which they have to carry. They now sit on 54 compared to the Australians 14 and the reason was simple, “We had really bad starts today,” said a despondent Mantis, “We also missed the first shift and when you do both of those you are in trouble. It was such a bad day.
The Greeks will have to recover their composure quickly and return to winning ways just to stay in contention for medals after an impressive opening three days of racing.
What a day Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Marra had in the 49er. Coming in the day the Spaniards were in medal contention. At the end of the day they had guaranteed themselves a gold medal. With a bullet, sixth and 11th, Botin and Marra have an unassailable 27 point lead ahead of the Medal Race.
Great Britain’s Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell and Sweden’s Carl Sylvan and Marcus Anjemark are tied on 76 points and will fight it out with Yago and Klaus Lange, on 83 points, for silver and bronze.
Fast becoming a regular sentence in a 49erFX day review, Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze are in first place. Looking to add yet another gold to their ever growing collection, the Rio 2016 Olympic champions hold pole position for a Hyères win with an eight point lead over nearest rivals Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER).
There were some big climbers in the RS:X fleets shaking things up before Saturday’s live Medal Race.
France’s Louis Giard now sits top of the men’s fleet after a 1-4-5 scoreline which gives him a one point advantage over the man who has occupied pole position all week, Switzerland’s Mateo Sanz Lanz. The Swiss windsurfer could only card a 9-14-8 which are all scores he carries.
Winner of the first World Cup Series event in Miami, USA, Yunxiu Lu (CHN) was head and shoulders above the Women’s RS:X fleet, claiming a bullet and two seconds. She leapfrogs several rivals into second. With a 19-point lead, Poland’s Zofia Noceti-Klepacka remains top going into the double points Medal Race.
Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) hold a seven-point advantage over their nearest rivals, France’s Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet in the Nacra 17. The Spanish pair finished the qualifying series with a bullet which made up for a discarded tenth place in the previous race. Add to that a second place and it was enough to lift them above the French team who scored 11-2-5.
On day three, Turkey’s Alican Kaynar thought the then leader Nicholas Heiner (NED) had sailed conservative to take the lead. Well Kaynar was anything but as he took two bullets to take top spot from the Dutch sailor’s grasp.
French friends and rivals, Nicolas Parlier and Axel Mazella continue to lead the way in the Formula Foiling Kiteboarding. Parlier has the upper hand with five wins from six races which gives him a four-point lead over Mazella. It was day of mixed fortunes for Mazella, but still good enough to give him a 22-point cushion over third placed Toni Vodisek (SLO)
Racing continues on Saturday 29 April at 11:00 local time with the first day of Live Medal Races shown on the World Sailing YouTube Channel. Sunday 30 April will be the second day of Live Medal Races and will bring the penultimate event before the Santander Final to a close.
Live Medal Races will be shown on the World Sailing YouTube Channel on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April, bringing the penultimate event before the Santander Final to a close.
Daily highlights video
On Friday 28 April World Sailing has confirmed its support for the existing roll out plan to release the first batch of 45 Foiling Nacra 17’s on June 26. The European Championship, as previously stated in the released NoR will be a foiling event, and the World Championship in La Grande Motte, France, will also be raced in foiling Nacra 17’s. In addition, World Sailing with their partners in Aarhus, would like to announce that the Aarhus test event will also be conducted in Foiling Nacra 17’s.
Both the Nacra 17 Class Executive and the Board of World Sailing recently reviewed and debated all options on how to transition to the foiling Nacra 17. Both parties have confirmed their support for the initial plan, and this was made official in a letter to Nacra 17 class president, Marcus Spillane from the Board of World Sailing following their board meeting on April 25, 2017.
With this confirmation World Sailing will review its plan for the Sailing World Series event in Japan for October 2017. It is probable that the Nacra 17 event will be cancelled for 2017 due to unavailability of sufficient foiling Nacra 17’s and lack of demand to race the event in C board Nacra 17’s. World Sailing will make an official announcement shortly.
While the above news will mean disappointment for all teams not able to get their boats in the initial allocation or before the Worlds, we understand your frustrations and the implications for your campaigns. The Nacra 17 Class will continue to work with Nacra Sailing to make every effort to minimise the impact on each team.
Since the initial distribution was announced in January, the manufacturing plans remain on time. In addition Nacra Sailing have increased their build capacity for the second half of 2017.
The Class continues to investigate other options with Nacra Sailing to speed up the roll out of foiling equipment to as many teams as possible. Aside from equipment, we are engaging with World Sailing on how best to minimise the medium-term impact of uneven equipment distribution to reduce its effect on future event entry particularly the qualifying for future Sailing World Cups.
This decision reflects the best course of action, despite their being no perfect solution. All parties are committed to ensuring that the equipment side of this Class is right for the 2020 Olympics. With early feedback from top teams testing the foiling equipment we will be better placed to ensure the long-term success of the foiling Nacra 17.
by Nacra 17 Class Executive
The mission was to develop the fastest course-racing boat ever for a televised series of competition. It had been done before in Australia with the 18-foot skiffs, and with the new SuperFoiler now in the water, the plan is for it to soon occur again. Darren Davidson reports for The Australian.
Twenty years after the last pictures of yachts shooting along the edge of Sydney Harbour past a crowd of thousands left millions of television viewers awestruck, a new rights deal will once again thrust sailing into the nation’s households through Channel Seven.
One of Australia’s best-known sailing entrepreneurs is mounting a comeback after raising more than $3 million from high-net-worth individuals in a funding round late last year to develop a new Australian racing series next summer.
SuperFoiler Grand Prix is the brainchild of Bill Macartney, chief executive of the eponymous firm behind the competition, and his son Jack, chief operating officer.
The father and son have spent at least half a million dollars of their own money to bring finely tuned high-performance racing boats back to Australia for the first time since 1997, the final season of sailing’s 18-foot skiff Grand Prix.
“When we produced the 18-footer broadcast we demonstrated that coverage of racing with advanced machines could be very exciting, particularly by showing the on-board experience,” Macartney says. “When we sold out of it, no one picked it up. Sailing went back to dots on the horizon, the way it has always been covered.”
This could be all about to change. Based in Sydney’s Rose Bay at the Woollahra Sailing Club, the family has sold TV and digital streaming rights to the Seven Network but with a twist — the prototype SuperFoiler vessel is fast, extremely fast.
Conceived in Australia, and created by Morrelli & Melvin, a California-based designer, the three-person 26-foot machine harnesses the new world of wind-powered flying, with the highest power-to-weight ratio of any air powered boat.
The stunning ascent of hydrofoil technology has transformed sailing in recent years.
By minimising drag, these daggerboards lift the hull out of the water as the boat skims the surface, and flies through the air, riding waves and wind.
Macartney expects the SuperFoiler to achieve unprecedented speeds of more than 40 knots, with on-board cameras, mikes and low-flying drones bringing viewers close to the action.
“The great opportunity with our racing is staging extremely fast, high-intensity competition where the viewer has a genuine sense of being on board. They will be able to hear everything that is being said by the three members of each crew as they make decisions that help them succeed or fail. All that great stuff that makes for a wonderful soap opera.”
Under Seven’s broadcast agreement, covering 32 hours of programming on the network’s multichannel 7mate, eight teams will race SuperFoilers across eight iconic venues. Points will accumulate from each qualifying event, culminating in a grand final.
Each sailor on board will need to be world class. Never before has a boat been designed to “foil” from start to finish with three sailors on the trapeze.
“We’re not just looking for the best sailors, we’re also looking for interesting personalities as well,”
Macartney has a rich pedigree of being involved in the TV and sailing industries. A former journalist, Macartney ran Grand Prix Sailing for 11 years in the 1980s and 90s, and worked in TV for more than 40 years, working on The Paul Hogan Show and World Series Cricket coverage for the late Kerry Packer.
Macartney says the inspiration for his latest venture came from watching the America’s Cup on TV with his son.
“The extraordinary spectacle of those 72-foot America’s Cup catamarans suddenly rising up out of the water was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. All of a sudden we saw there was a whole new dimension to it.
“It was at that point that Jack and I said ‘look, this is too good to not do something about’ and we’ve been discussing a gap in the design parameters of using foils to get these machines up and flying. That gap was to do with everyone else as we perceived it putting foils underneath existing vessels.
“Which means once they were up on the foils the existing vessel became superfluous. The challenge we have set ourselves is to see what sort of performance gains one can get if you start with the foils, and then build a structure around them.”
With the inaugural competition to start on the second weekend of November, Macartney is in talks with overseas-based free-to-air networks and pay-TV operators over international TV rights.
Would-be bidders include Liberty Global, controlled by US tycoon John Malone, British broadcaster ITV and Fox Sports.
Whether it’s extremist content on YouTube and the overstatement of ad metrics and fake news at Facebook, advertisers are having to work harder than ever to find their audience.
Amid a flight to premium content among advertisers, Macartney is positioning the SuperFoiler Grand Prix as a cost-effective marketing vehicle that can deliver powerful billboard advertising, and a compelling corporate hospitality experience.
Macartney is months away from locking in corporate sponsors for the boats and agreements with state-based tourism bodies including Destination NSW about venues.
“In a world where advertisers struggle to cut through the clutter, we think we will do even better with it second time around. This a ground-breaking machine.”
See video: Start up the Super Foiler project
as published on Scuttlebutt April 27th, 2017
Day 3 World Cup Series in Hyères, France
Nicholas Heiner’s (NED) consistency in the Finn is equalling success at Sailing’s World Cup Series in Hyères, France. Out of all the sailors, Heiner has been one of the most reliable performers with a string of top five finishes to lead in the Finn.
Racing in a 7-13 knot breeze that took some time to fill in, the second regatta of the 2017 World Cup Series reached its mid-point and the battle to make Saturday and Sunday’s live Medal Races is on.
In only his third Finn regatta, Heiner had another consistent day of racing to take the lead in a fleet packed full of experienced racers. Although he’s a fresh face in the Finn, the Dutchman is no stranger to competitive racing. He is a former Laser World Champion and used to racing in competitive fleets. Moving into a new boat can always be challenging for a sailor but Heiner has thrived in the Finn after making the crossover.
From Thursday’s racing, he picked up a second and a fifth and made all the right calls on a challenging day.
“The wind was coming in and falling out all the time, but when we finally started it really kicked in to around 12 knots. Close to the start though I made a quick call to change the sail from the light wind to the medium heavy and I think that paid off well for me.”
Heiner is staying conservative in his racing, ensuring he has good boat handling and technique amongst the experienced pack. The natural, talented fearless sailor that sailed his way to an emphatic Laser world title in 2014 is yet to come out in Heiner. But for now, he is happy with his progress, “At moments, I think I saw some pressure coming and maybe tacked a bit early when I could have taken more risks. The idea is to keep it really conservative and stay with the pack right now.”
Fabian Pic (FRA) and Ben Cornish (GBR) trail Heiner by nine points with Alican Kaynar (TUR) a further point back. There is plenty still to play for with four fleet races and Sunday’s Medal Race to follow. Kaynar is targeting Heiner and will be aiming to climb up the leaderboard, “I think Nicholas extended his points lead today but we are still close. I just have to keep in contention and then attack in the last races.
“Today Nicholas sailed very conservatively I think and always caught the good shifts. He had good down winds today as well so he was always there at the front.”
The sailors of the day goes to Germany’s Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz who took all three wins in the 49erFX. That perfect performance moves the German team up in to silver medal position. They will need to continue that winning form though if they are to overhaul Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) who are 10 points ahead.
Great Britain’s Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell edged ahead in the 49er with a 1-8-4. Those results give the Britons a slender two-point advantage over Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez.
Rio 2016 silver medallists Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) have cut the gap at the top of the leaderboard to one point behind the Rio 2016 bronze medal winning Greeks, Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis who currently occupy top spot in the Men’s 470. Mantis and Kagialis had to discard a 27th place before picking up a bullet in race two as they came under pressure from the Aussies who took a second and third for the day.
The Women’s 470 leaders mimicked the men’s with a discard in the first race and a bullet in the second. Dutch racers Afrodite Zegers and Annaloes van Veen discard their 16th and as a result are now tied on 15 points with Switzerland’s Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler. Silvia Mas Depares and Patricia Cantero Reina (ESP) are three points back in third.
Swiss windsurfer Mateo Sanz Lanz remains top of the Men’s RS:X despite slipping outside of the top five in a race for the first time. Thanks to his consistency so far in Hyères, Sanz Lanz could discard his 23rd place to hold a six-point lead over Israel’s Shahar Zubari and a 20-point lead over France’s Louis Giard.
Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) leapfrogged overnight Women’s RS:X leader Noga Geller (ISR), opening up a 10-point cushion to lead the fleet. Brazil’s Patricia Freitas continues to climb the leaderboard and now sits in third with a day three score card which included a bullet, second and discarded 23rd.
In a day of catch up for the Laser fleet it was Australia’s Matt Wearn who came out on top with a bullet, second and fourth place from three races. With the schedule back on track it will be Wearn’s job to keep second placed Pavlos Kontides (CYP), third placed Francesco Marrai (ITA) and the rest of a strong dinghy fleet at bay.
Despite a black flag in the final race of the day, Hungary’s Maria Erdi heads the Laser Radial fleet, but only just. The young Olympian will need to be careful there are no more slip ups if she wants to end the regatta with a medal. Waiting for any possible slip is Evi Van Acker (BEL) just one point behind in second.
Home support will be aimed toward the Nacra 17 fleet as Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet (FRA) are tied at the top with Spain’s Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco on 23 points. Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck are in third on 28.
As the breeze died later on in the evening, the Kitesurfers were unable to hit the water but they will resume tomorrow for their finals.
Racing resumes at 11:00 local time on Friday 28 April. The forecast shows big breeze and the RS:X, 49er, Nacra 17 and Kitesurfers will be aiming to grab a spot in the Medal Race.
Live Medal Races will be shown on the World Sailing YouTube Channel on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April, bringing the penultimate event before the Santander Final to a close.
Day 3 highlights video
Day 2 of Sailing World Cup in Hyeres
Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) were unstoppable on day two of Sailing’s World Cup Series in Hyères, France, winning both Women’s 470 races in convincing style.
Out of the 534 competitors from 52 nations racing across ten Olympic events, Open Kiteboarding and 2.4 Norlin OD, the Dutch team were the standout performers.
Following a brief morning postponement due to a wait for the wind, the 470 fleets got out for a 12:30 start, sailing in a westerly 10-15 knot breeze.
Zegers and van Veen were unrelenting, sailing their way to two convincingly victories to leapfrog Switzerland’s Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler into first place.
The Dutch duo are on a hot streak in the Women’s 470, winning gold at the opening 2017 World Cup Series event in Miami, USA before securing the Trofeo Princesa Sofia title in March.
They were agonisingly close to claiming a medal at Rio 2016, missing out by a single point and as their rivals have gone onto new ventures or taken time out of the boat, Zegers and van Veen were quick to get straight back into action.
“We already knew we wanted to continue as a team,” explained van Veen. “It was an easy choice to carry on.
“Since the beginning of the year at the World Cup in Miami we have made a lot of improvements, we still know there is a lot of work to be done but we feel like great improvements have been made.”
Zegers and van Veen got off to a strong start in both of their races and when compared to their rivals they were simply faster as van Veen explained, “We had good boat speed in the first race and from there we just tried to defend the lead and stay in front of the fleet which we did well.
“In the second race, we had a really good start from the pin and got the lead straight from that. We just played the shifts then.”
A familiar battle is developing in the Men’s 470 with Rio 2016 silver and bronze medallists separated by small margins. Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis were made to settle for bronze at Rio 2016, beaten to silver by Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS).
The tables have turned, for now, in Hyères as the Greek team hold the lead on five points to the Australia’s seven. Both crews posted identical results on day two, recording a first and a third but the Greek team had a better opening day with a race win and a fifth to take the lead.
On the rivalry with the Australians, Kagialis said, “It is always nice to race against people like Mat and Will as they are top athletes. When the level is higher you try more and you push more so it’s nice.
“It makes the sport better.
“Our goal is always to get a medal. You do your best in the regatta and if you are up there near the end you then get to choose which medal you can push for. It’s still early though, we have three days of racing before we get to that point.”
An interesting battle is developing in the Nacra 17 as the top three continue to fight for supremacy.
Five points separate Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet (FRA), Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) and Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN). The trio shared the day’s race wins and have put some points between themselves and fourth place.
“We had good starts and took the right side so it was a good day for us,” said Lubeck who had a steady day with a 1-(8)-2 scoreline. Ea Cenholt added,
“We had an offshore tricky wind but we succeeded in what was important for us, to be at near the top of the fleet at the top mark.”
From a three-way fight to a three-way tie, Great Britain’s Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell, Argentina’s Yago and Klaus Lange and Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez are all locked on 16-points apiece in the 49er.
The trio scored a good set of ‘keepers’ on the second day, discarding their worst race which for all three was race one.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) had another consistent day to consolidate their lead. Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) shone the brightest, however, winning a pair of races and claiming a fifth. As a result, they move into second place ahead of Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz (GER).
From two Finn races, a 5-4 from Ben Cornish (GBR) and a 4-2 from Nicholas Heiner (NED) sees the pair tied at the top on ten points. The day’s race victories went the way of Jorge Zarif (BRA) who is 11th overall and the sixth placed Ed Wright (GBR).
Finland’s Tuula Tenkanen is making her first competitive appearance back in the Laser Radial after finishing fifth at Rio 2016. Any cobwebs were blown off on the opening day as she won the opening race. A mid-fleet finish followed but Tenkanen was back on form on Wednesday, winning another race. She leads on ten points, two ahead of Belgium’s Evi Van Acker. Maria Erdi (HUN) and Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU) are tied for third on 13 points.
As the day progressed in Hyères, the breeze began to decrease meaning the Laser and RS:X fleets could only complete one race in a challenging, fickle afternoon session.
Shahar Zubari (ISR) took the men’s race win and moves to second overall, one point behind Mateo Sanz Lanz (SUI) who consolidated first place with a third. Overnight Women’s RS:X leader Noga Geller (ISR) remains in control following a third. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) pulled within one point of the Israeli with a second. The single race win went the way of Patricia Freitas (BRA).
Sam Meech (NZL) moved from 11th to fourth overall as he took the single Laser race win. Pavlos Kontides (CYP) retains his lead by discarding his 14th. Nick Thompson (GBR) follows and Francesco Marrai (ITA) is in third.
Six further races were conducted in the Foiling Formula Kiteboarding and the perfect records held by Axel Mazella (FRA) and Nicolas Parlier (FRA) were crushed in the opening race of the day. Mazella finished second in the blue fleet and Parlier third in yellow.
That was, however, just one blip on the record as they got back to winning ways immediately after, taking the remaining five victories in their respective fleets. They are tied on 10 points at the top with Maxime Nocher (MON) following nine points behind.
Damien Seguin (FRA) and Xavier Dagault (FRA) shared the 2.4 Norlin OD race wins. Seguin, the Rio 2016 and Athens 2004 Paralympic gold medallist leads the 12-boat fleet on three points and is trailed by Dagault and Bruno Jourdren (FRA).
Racing continues Thursday 26 April at 11:00 local time. Live Medal Races will be shown on the World Sailing YouTube Channel on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April, bringing the penultimate event before the Santander Final to a close.
Daily highlights video
Day 1 at Sailing World Cup in Hyères
Over 500 sailors from 52 nations opened their quest for World Cup honours, personal best performances and bragging rights as the second event of the 2017 series got underway in Hyères, France.
Events cannot be won on the first day in sailing but they can certainly be lost. So, in a stable 8-11 knot south easterly breeze, it was vital that those aiming for the top honours laid down a marker with consistent race results.
South American sailors occupy the top two places in the 49erFX.
Rio 2016 Olympic champions Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) lead on three points and Victoria Travascio and Maria Branz (ARG) follow on four.
The Brazilians are the ones to beat in the 49erFX having added Miami gold to their collection after Rio 2016. They got off to the best start in the 20-boat 49erFX fleet, collecting a 1-2-(4) scoreline.
Travascio and Branz were hot on the heels of the Brazilians on day one, finishing third in the opening bout and backing it up with a race win immediately after. They finished the day with a discarded 12th but are pleased to be on the tails of the Olympic champions,
“It was really windy and wavy today but it was good,” expressed Travascio.
“I’m happy we got off to a good start. We had two good races but then a bad third race. We went to the right when we really should have gone to the left. Overall we are happy though.”
There were some mixed scorelines in the 49er pack but it’s another South American contingent who lead the way. Brothers Yago and Klaus Lange from Argentina top the leaderboard on three points and World Cup Miami winners Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stu Bithell (GBR) follow one point behind.
In the 470 fleets, Rio 2016 bronze medallists Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) lead the men’s division and Switzerland’s Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler are in control in the women’s after two races each.
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) came out firing in the 60-boat Laser fleet, winning both of the days races. Good boat speed and positioning at the startline enabled Kontides to be within the leading positions at the top mark in both races. From there he was able to use his speed to take a lead at the first gate, in both races, and subsequently he dominated from there.
Nick Thompson (GBR) and Rio 2016 Olympic Champion Tom Burton (AUS) kept Kontides in sight in both races. Thompson picked up a 3-2 and Burton a 4-5.
In the Laser Radial, Evi Van Acker (BEL) posted two strong results as she bids to defend her Hyères crown. A third and a first gives her an eight point advantage over Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU). World Cup Miami winner Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) had a mixed day with a 35th and fourth. Sailors’ worst races will be discarded after the third race so a good performance on Wednesday will propel the Greek racer up the leaderboard.
In the 38 strong Women’s Windsurfer fleet, Israel’s Noga Geller came out flying with superb starts and speed. Feeling comfortable in the conditions, she snapped up the first two race wins.
Having won the first two races in the RS:X fleet, Geller was aiming for a perfect day but a bad start in the third bout of the day meant she was unable to assert herself as she had been doing.
Geller finished in 22nd place, quite the comedown from her flying start. Geller discards her 22nd and leads the way on two points. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) and Veronica Fanciulli (ITA) follow. The day’s other race win went the way of China’s Yunxiu Lu, winner at the World Cup Series in Miami, USA.
In the Men’s RS:X, Switzerland’s Mateo Sanz Lanz had a wonderfully consistent day, winning two races that were sandwiched with a fourth.
Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet (FRA) controlled the Nacra 17, picking up a (4)-1-2 scorecard to lead on three points. Lin Ea Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck (DEN) and defending champions Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) follow on six points.
In their first regatta together, Billy Besson, the four time Nacra 17 World Champion, and new crew Amelie Riou got off to a slow start with an 18th and 11th. By the third race, the pair were flying and took the race win.
Great Britain’s Ben Cornish and France’s Fabian Pic shared the race wins in the 34-boat Finn fleet. Cornish holds an early lead after he backed his race win up with a sixth and Pic sits in fourth after an 11th.
French racers Nicolas Parlier and Axel Mazella dominated their respective blue and yellow fleets in the Foiling Formula Kiteboarding. The pair won every single race, beating World Champion racers Maxime Nocher (MON) and Florian Gruber (GER) respectively.
Racing continues on Wednesday 26 April at 11:00 local time. Live Medal Races will be shown on the World Sailing YouTube Channel on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 April, bringing the penultimate event before the Santander Final to a close.
Daily highlights video
Gold for Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes Van Veen (470 W) – photo © Thom Touw Photography
A mix of established Rio Olympic campaigners and emerging young talent shared the top podium spots when the 48th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar ended Saturday with a brisk 25 kts Mistral offshore wind which brought the 646 boat regatta to spectacular, challenging finale.
While it is the first major Olympic classes regatta victories for the up and coming winners of the 49er class, for the triumphant Men’s 470 pair, the Laser Radial, the men’s RS:X, the outright winner of the Princesa Sofia Trophy is 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Zofia Noceti-Klepacka.
“I am so happy to win the overall trophy. I have been here 15 or 16 times maybe and usually finish in the top three but this is the first time I have won the class and to win the trophy is fantastic. We had a light winds series then finishing with nearly 30kts of wind was amazing today. This is the first regatta I have done this year and so to win is great.” Said Klepacka
Zofia Noceti-Klepacka – photo c Sailing Energy / Trofeo Sofia Regatta Iberostar
The Polish RS:X sailor snatched the class win from an amazing three cornered, sudden death Medal Race race over a new style course. Although the RS:X titles were decided only on these new short, sharp finales featuring only three sailors, Klepacka’s scoreline through the week counted no results worse than fifth over her 12 races. With the best average she wins the prestigious regatta’s top award. Pavel Tarnowksi made it a Polish double, winning the Mens RS:X.
The event which traditionally raises the curtain on the new European Olympic seas started in light winds Monday before the 8-10kt reliable Bay of Palma sea breeze prevailed, but when new format final races were scheduled for several classes the big breeze blew in. The Women’s FX skiff class only managed two of their planned three medal deciding races before the remaining races were cancelled. With the blustery wind peaking at over 25kts Race 2 of their Grand Final turned into a veritable demolition derby. Only two of the 10 finalists finished. Although they won the race, finishing with a broken mast, Germany’s Victoria Jurczok and Anita Lorenz had already wrapped up the class victory yesterday and finished a whopping 49 points ahead of Norway’s second places Helene Naess and Marie Ronninngen.
“It was hard today for the teams who are quite new in the fleet and there are a few of them.” Said helm Jurczok who finished ninth in Rio with Lorenz, “We sailed quite well through the whole week. We felt comfortable and ow because it’s our first medal here in Palma. This is a good start to the season and gives us confidence. Our boat handling is quite good in strong winds.”
The strong wind annulled any final racing for the 49er class, cancelling what would have been an intriguing title tussle between the young British duo James Peters and Fynn Sterritt, Spain’s Rio representatives Diego Botin and Iago Lopez and the new British pairing of Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell. But with no racing possible it is the first big regatta win in the 49er for Peters and Sterritt who had something of a nervous day, sitting one point clear of their Spanish rivals. Palma has traditionally been the least favourite regatta for the young pair, struggling here at times in the past, but it is now a favourite.
“We are stoked with how the week has gone.” Crew Sterritt smiled, “Our consistency paid off in the end. We are early in the cycle but it is nice to kick off the season with a win and gives us the target to go out and win some more. The quality of the fleet is not that deep at this point in the cycle but we wanted to put down a marker early on and to put us in the best possible shape for when it gets tougher.”
GBR took gold and silver in the 49er fleet and won two medals, silver and bronze in the Laser. Italy’s Rio selection Francesco Marrai gave regatta leader Elliot Hanson the slip just before the start of the medal race and went on to win the class. Double world champion Nick Thompson won the medal race and took bronze.
Marrai reported: “I feel at ease sailing here. I have a lot more experience than last time, especially having been to the Olympic Games, mostly about the whole approach to the whole sailing week and staying motivated and focused all the way through the regatta. And I am very motivated after Rio.”
And Thompson added: “I had a really good week working with a new coach for this week, Mike Bullough, and we were working on a few different key areas and so to come away with a medal is quite nice even though I was not really focusing on the result. I was looking at starting, some strategy and a lot of downwind technique. That is what we have been looking at. So it has been quite hard for me this week because I am generally a bit of an end starter (starts close to one end of the line or the other) and I was sticking out in the middle all the way through the regatta and so it was a bit of a test of my patience, but it was the right thing to be doing.”
Elliot sailed a fantastic regatta and deserved to win it. He has made big improvements working together through the winter. He just did not get it together in the Medal Race but I am sure he will learn from it.”
A capsize late in the Medal Race meant Lithuania’s Victorija Andrulyte let the Laser Radial gold slip from her grasp, handing the Palma title to China’s Dongshuang Zhang.
“I am delighted to be second. I have always been top 20, sometimes top five or ten but this is great. I was making smart decisions in the middle of the week and then today I was leading into the final mark but capsized and let the Chinese girl pass me. I am not too disappointed because this is a good result for me.”
Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi – photo c Thom Touw Photography
Confidence and accomplished crew work in the strong breeze and choppy waves made the winning difference for the jubilant Japanese pair Tetsuya Isozaki and Akira Takayanagi. Their third place in the Medal Race – trialled here at eight boats – was enough to overhaul Sweden’s Carl Frederick Fock and Marcus Dackhammar who finished a painful last in the medal race and so losing the gold by one single point. The Japanese duo finished second in Miami. “We are very happy with the gold.” Said Isozaki, “It was a difficult race today but we’ve managed to make a good performance in the strong wind which we feel used to.”
Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes Van Veen – photo c Thom Touw Photography
There was an encore performance in the 470 class where the Dutch duo Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes Van Veen repeated their success at Sailing World Cup Miami. Zegers, a concert pianist who has put her music aside as she pursues the Olympic dream in the 470, grew up in Athens, Greece before moving to Holland in 2011. Both girls are also pursuing degree courses away from sailing.
“Most of the days were quite light and so you had to be patient and we are good at that.” Van Veen commented, ” In the short races the places were settled quickly after the start and then finishing off with a lot of wind today added an extreme to the event.”
The duo have been together since 2012. “We are very different, have different backgrounds and complement each other. She keeps my calm at the right time. Physically we are both very good together and just work very hard.” Says Zegers.
“Most of the regatta would be Chopin or Liszt but today was definitely a Rachmaninov kind of day!” grinned Zegers.
Max Salminen – photo c Thom Touw Photography
Max Salminen of Sweden won the Finn class, emerging through Semi Final qualification to triumph in the new winner takes all five boat Final. Arguably the Finn class has been bravest in their desire to innovate and change. Turkey’s Ailcan Kaynar was best in the Opening series and went directly to the Final but took third.
Salminen, sixth in Rio, said, “I got better during the week and finally found my old speed and perhaps my performance is even better than before.”
The Nacra 17 fleet, like the 49ers did not get the chance to race because of the boisterous winds. That leaves Spain Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco in gold with Britons John Gimson and Anna Burnet in second and Denmark’s Lin Cenholt and Christian Peter Lubeck third.
Crew Pacheco dedicated the win to her grandmother who died the week before the regatta. “It has been a difficult week so it is important to have won.” she said.
For all results see: www.trofeoprincesasofia.org
The final day of the 48th Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar on Mallorca’s Bay of Palma will be a test for sailors but also for the new formats which are designed to produce simpler, more engaging action on the last day.
The prime example might be Saturday’s Finn finale which is now pared back to a five boat winner takes all showdown. First to cross the finish line wins the regatta. Accumulated, qualifying points count for nothing. Semi Final Qualifying and Semi Final positions do not mean anything.
Whoever wins between Turkey’s Alican Kaynar, Deniss Karpak of Estonia, Sweden’s Max Salminen, Zsombor Berecz of Hungary and Holland’s young Nick Heiner collects the regatta title for the class.
But some sailors or crews are already assured of leaving Palma with medals. Poland’s 2012 Olympic bronze medallist Zofia Klepacka and Spain’s Ivan Pastor, both winners of their Opening Series go straight to the three board RS:X Grand Final and are therefore both guaranteed a medal. The RS:X Men and Women race through a final day 10 board Qualifier and six board Semi Final to leave just three sailors in their respective Grand Finals.
The German FX duo Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz appear to have beaten the FX and 49er change to three races Final format by amassing a lead of 38 points going into their final day, and are assured of gold. They wobbled with a tenth in their penultimate race but then bounced back with their seventh win from 15 starts.
“It was pretty challenging out there.” Said crew Lorenz, “We went out so late and they had to move the whole course. The first race there were only the guys in front of us when it was really breezy. The second race we smashed up the start but the third race we won. It is comfortable to go into the final day with such a lead but it will be challenging because the forecast is for it to be windy.”
Also guaranteed a medal, gold or silver, are Nacra 17 leaders Fernando Echávarri and Tara Pachecho. Spain’s 2008 Beijing Tornado gold medallist seized the lead and have now sailed a 1,1,1,2 from their last four races, leading Britain’s John Gimson and Anna Burnett by 16 points. So the Spanish duo who have been together in the class since just after the 2014 Santander Worlds are assured of at least silver, going into a conventional 10 boat one race Medal Race.
Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco – photo © Jesus Renedo / Sailing Energy / Trofeo Princesa Sofia Iberostar
In contrast the 49er Men’s Skiff is poised for an exciting showdown. Under the usual Olympic Medal Race format that young Brits James Peters and Fynn Sterrit go into the Medal Race with a 25 points lead over Argentina’s fourth placed Lange brothers Yago and Klaus would normally have at least ensured a medal of some colour was assured for the British duo.
But the new three heat, single points Medal Race for the top 10 pairs changes the dynamic for the Finale. Peters and Sterritt lead their Spanish counterparts Diego Botin and Iago Lopez by a single point while Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell, third at 13pts behind their countrymen, still have a fighting chance of adding the Palma title to January’s Sailing World Cup Miami win. Fletcher and 2012 Olympic silver medallist Bithell had a 12th today but otherwise have never been out the top three during the eight other Finals races.
“We are just looking forwards to a good battle for the gold. These guys are all good competitors so it will be tough. The last race did not go our way. But we know we have what we have to win this regatta and are going to go out and do everything that we can to win the regatta.” Helm James Peters asserted.
Unmatched consistency sees young British Laser helm Eliot Hanson holding the lead into a final day which may yield his first major regatta win at senior level. He finished the Finals series with a 2,1 to lead Italian rival Francesco Marrai into the Laser Medal Race, a conventional 10 boat one race double points showdown.
Outcomes are harder to predict in the Laser Radial and the 470 Men and Women where points are very tight. Just one point separates China’s Dongshuang Zhang from Lithuania’s Victorija Andrulyte.
In the 470 Men and Women the margin is just five points in both classes. Sweden’s Carl-Frederick Fock and Marcus Dackhammar hold on to first place ahead of Spain’s Rio selection Jordi Xammer and Nicolas Rodriguez, while Greece’s 2016 bronze medallists Pangiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kaglialis are 24 points off first. Both 470 classes now race one single eight boat medal race Saturday.
Dackhammar, the leading 470 helm commented: “We are enjoying the sailing out there, it’s been fun. We have managed to pull off the starts well, we have good speed and really are just enjoying the sailing. This is key point for us. Tomorrow anything can happen!” Spanish rival Xammar pledges: “Tomorrow we cannot be conservative. We have to fight for the gold. It’s better to fight and lose than to wait to see what happens and end up losing as well. We will focus on our performance. If we work hard we plan to make it hard for our rivals.”
For all results see: www.trofeoprincesasofia.org