Grand Prix Sailing – fans of foiling

Laser Radials at the Olympics

 

 

The 41-boat Laser Radial fleet will be one of the most hotly contended sailing events at London 2012 with a number of sailors with realistic medal hopes.

Throughout 2011 Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Evi Van Acker (BEL) looked like they would be runaway leaders at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. However 2012 has seen the tide turn as those who trailed the Dutch and Belgian sailors are hitting the right form at the right time.

Beijing 2008 bronze medallist Lijia Xu is one of those sailors. Despite two poor performances at the 2010 Laser Radial Worlds, finishing 81st, and the 2011 ISAF Worlds which saw her end in 25th, she came back with two World Cup regatta victories as well as a second at the 2012 Laser Radial Worlds. Although Xu picked up an injury at the beginning of the year she is well on track for London 2012, “I was due to sail in Palma but I had an incident and had to have an operation so I was off sailing for two months,” said Xu. “I’ve performed very well and I have been working hard in preparation for the Olympic Games.”

Lithuania’s Gintare Scheidt won her nations first and only sailing medal at Beijing 2008 in the Laser Radial. The Lithuanian will want to go one better than her Beijing 2008 silver medal and after winning gold in shifty conditions at the 2012 Laser Radial Worlds in Boltenhagen, Germany her confidence will be high.

Great Britain’s Alison Young was one of the last British sailors to be selected for London 2012 and has slowly worked her way to World #2. A determined performance on home waters could see how come out with a podium finish.

Whilst those around them have flourished Bouwmeester and Van Acker will still be cutting it at the top.

Bouwmeester stormed to a crushing victory at the 2011 Weymouth and Portland International Regatta and followed this up with victory at the 2011 ISAF Worlds. More podium finishes followed but a fifth place at the 2012 Laser Worlds showed that she can be beaten at the big events. She has been in the World #10 since August 2009 and won’t go down quietly come race time.

Van Acker has more often than not had to play second fiddle behind Bouwmeester. The Belgian finished on the podium 10 times in 2011 and five times she was beaten by Bouwmeester. Van Acker finished second at the 2011 ISAF Worlds and missed out entirely on the 2012 Radial Worlds. She has what it takes to go the distance and with competition tight amongst the fleet the Belgian will have to be deliver consistent results.

Sari Multala (FIN) will be sailing at her third Olympic Games having missed out on Beijing 2008. The Fin came fifth at Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 in the Europe. She won the Radial Worlds in 2009 and more recently came third at the 2012 edition.

Big wind specialist Annalise Murphy (IRL) could be in the running for a medal if the wind is right and is following in the footsteps of her mother Catherine MacAleavy who competed at Seoul 1988. “I just want to sail to the best of my ability,” said Murphy. “I would like to be in the top ten, that is my goal at the moment and try to do well. I’m only 22 and I just want to perform at my best and see where I’m at.”

The fleet is also packed full of further talent aiming for medals including Krystal Weir (AUS), Tatiana Drozdovskaya (BLR), Tina Mihelic (CRO), Veronika Fenclova (CZE) and America’s Paige Railey.

The Laser Radial fleet set sail on 30 July at after the Laser fleet on Weymouth Bay South. The fleet enjoy a lay day on 2 August before racing resumes on 3 August. The Radials will play to the Nothe Spectator area crowd on 6 August where the gold medallists will be decided after the Medal Race.

2012 Olympics – Women’s Match Racing Preview

 

 

It will be a do or die for twelve women’s match racing teams from 29 July to 11 August as the cutthroat nature of match racing is displayed at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition.

Silja Lehtinen (FIN) comes into London 2012 fresh from a victory at the 2012 ISAF Women’s Match Racing Worlds in Gothenburg, Sweden but the Finnish match racer had somewhat of a mixed 12 months prior.

Lehtinen missed out on Olympic qualification at the 2011 ISAF Worlds in Perth, Australia despite a fantastic opening day. She bounced back to qualify her nation at the final qualification regatta in Florida, USA in February but had mixed results throughout the ISAF Sailing World Cup. But an emphatic 3-0 victory over Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) in the Gothenburg final shows she can hit it when it really matters.

World #1 in the women’s match racing rankings Tunnicliffe has held top spot since September 2011 and has proved she is a force to be reckoned with. Having won gold in the Laser Radial at Beijing 2008 Tunnicliffe has made a seamless transition over to women’s match racing and has won eight events since June 2011, including the 2011 Women’s Match Racing Worlds. All of the teams will have to step their game up if Tunnicliffe is to be toppled.

Claire Leroy (FRA) made her first appearance on the match racing scene in April 2002 and has made ten appearances at the Women’s Match Racing Worlds. Leroy won the event in 2007 and 2008 and has racked up plenty of match racing miles. Her experience will prove vital as tensions and pressure mount on the course.

One of the most exciting prospects comes from Australia in the form of Olivia Price. The Australian will turn 20 midway through the Olympic Sailing Competition and her progression up the women’s match racing rankings has been rapid. With regatta victories on Olympic waters and a third place as crew with Nicky Souter at the Women’s Worlds in 2010 she’s a hot contender for a podium finish.

Further challenges for podium finishes will come from Russia’s Ekaterina Skudina and World #2 Lucy Macgregor (GBR) who despite a lack of form both have what it takes to mix it with the best.

Lotte Pedersen (DEN), Renee Groeneveld (NED), Stephanie Hazard (NZL), Rita Goncalves (POR), Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) and Anna Kjellberg (SWE) make up the rest of the competitors but have yet to demonstrate the consistent performances shown by the favourites.

Women’s Match Racing commences on 29 July and rounds off the Olympic Sailing Competition on 11 August with the Petit Final and Final in front of the Nothe spectator area.

 

 

The 470 class in the Olympics

 

By the International 470 Class Association

 

Photo credit: Nico Martinez

 

At the end of 1972, the International Yacht Racing Union (I.Y.R.U.), the world governing body for the sport of sailing, selected the 470 Class for the double-handed dinghy event open to both men and women sailors for the 1976 Olympic Games of Montreal (Canada).

Almost 60 boats took part in the first pre-Olympic regatta organised in 1975 at the same venue as the Olympic regatta in Kingston. The winners were the French mixed crew Jean-François and Claire Fountaine. One year later, Frank Hubner and Harro Bode, from the former Federal Republic of Germany, won the first 470 Olympic regatta in which 28 nations competed.

The I.Y.R.U. renewed the 470 Class as an open event for the Olympic Games of Moscow (former USSR) in 1980 and Los Angeles (USA) in 1984, and then decided at the end of 1984 to split the open event in two, one dedicated to the men crews and one dedicated to the women crews, for the 1988 Olympic Games of Seoul (South Korea).

Since that time, both men and women 470 Class Olympic events have been renewed every four years by the I.Y.R.U. and then its successor, the International Sailing Federation (ISAF). These two 470 Class events will be part of the Olympic regatta of the 2012 Olympic Games of London, to be sailed in Weymouth (Great Britain).

Spain with 4 Gold medals and 2 Silver medals has been the most successful nation before Australia (4 Gold and 1 Bronze) and USA (2 Gold, 4 Silver and 2 Bronze).

Only one sailor, Theresa Zabell from Spain, has succeeded in winning two Gold medals (in 1992 and 1996) with two different crew members.

Four crews have succeeded in winning two medals each:

  • Thierry Peponnet and Luc Pillot (France): 1 Gold (1988) and 1 Bronze (1984)
  • Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield (Great Britain): 2 Silver (2004 and 2008)
  • Tynou and Toomas Tyniste (former USSR and then Estonia): 1 Silver (1988) and 1 Bronze (1992)
  •  Ruslana Taran and Olena Pakholchik (Ukraine): 2 Bronze (1996 and 2000)

 

The following sailors have won multiple medals with different crew members:

  • Jennifer J Isler (USA): 1 Silver (2000) and 1 Bronze (1992)
  • Kevin Burnham (USA): 1 Gold (2004) and 1 Silver (1992)
  • Paul Foester (USA): 1 Gold (2004) and 1 Silver (2000)

 

Since 1988, Victor Kovalenko (Australia), well-known as the “medal-maker”, has contributed to 5 Gold medals and 3 Bronze medals won by crews from the former USSR, Ukraine and Australia he has successively coached.

Balance and Challenge

 

By Robert Deaves – International Finn Class

 

Finn Class Interview: Pieter-Jan Postma – balance and challenge

At the last Olympics Pieter-Jan Postma went into the event as one of the favourites. Having collected silver medals at the 2007 Finn Gold Cup and the 2007 Pre-Olympics he looked to be at the top of his game and ready for the ultimate challenge. However it didn’t quite go to plan and he struggled to get any consistency and failed to even make the medal race.

After that experience, he took a few years out and is now back for his second campaign. Last year he took the silver at the Finn Gold Cup in Perth and a bronze at the 2011 Olympic Test Event. In spite of these great results he still had to finish top 10 at the Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth in May to satisfy his national Federation qualification requirements.

He says he has learned a lot from the previous campaign and now is better prepared for what lies ahead. “This time it was more about balance and challenge. We improved our weak points and we also improved our weapons, like starts, strategy and heavy air speed.. Last time I ran out of energy, because of too much of the same and neglecting myself. I lost my motivation to race.”

He found it hard to come to terms with his performance in Qingdao. “I started two months after the Olympics with all the wrong reasons, and after a half year without progress I took a break for a year and did another study. When I let sailing go I got a more clear view about the situation. I realised that accepting it was a weak spot in different ways, and learned to accept my negative feelings, to let them go and feel more free.”

But he still had a need to prove himself at the Olympics again. “I think what I have learned is that the things I do, it doesn’t matter what I do but how I do it. That’s the most important thing for me. Because I have the opportunity to do the best I can, in the sports I do now, I want to be as good as I can, sail the boat really well, get the nice shifts, to be fully in flow with the boat and the wind. What’s nice is that we can work towards something and that is the Olympics. Its great to work towards that.”

“The level is high, but I don’t believe the Olympics is the most important thing; it’s the process that is the most important. I am really happy I have the opportunity to do it and I have learned a lot from it as a person: to make life choices, to travel and to sail in the Olympics. The focus is the moment and the Olympics is a nice event. But the journey is more important than the moment. Everyone is looking at the Olympics, and it’s fun and it’s nice, but it’s all about the path you take – I have become more grown up by the whole process.”

How did he get back his motivation? “This year is easier to get motivated but I think its also nice to try and win a worlds. At the beginning of the four years, don’t look only at the Olympics look also at the worlds and the Europeans each year. Try to do the best you can. Make your goals challenging but not to much. So try to always make your goals so you just reach them and get your motivation from that. Try to work with the goals. I played a lot with my goals so you can also. Don’t put the goals too far away. Keep them close and play with the level.”

“To be a great Olympian I think you have to be persistent. It takes ten years at a high level of racing so you need to be persistent and determined; that’s the most important thing. I think some people are focussing too much on the Olympics, maybe. What Giles did last year winning the Europeans and the Gold Cup was fantastic. He was the best sailor in the world last year.

What drives you to want to do a Olympic Campaign? “It’s a great learning experience. It’s fantastic. Also it’s nice to prove yourself and be a part of it. You have to be hard on yourself. You have to be honest with yourself. You work on your characteristics. It’s a great thing. You learn about other nationalities. It is great taking challenges and step by step to be better.”

“Sailing is quite a complex sport, so I try to let my unconscious do almost all of it. Directing my conscious to take the best and objective information. So one of my main rituals is clear my mind.

What gear will he be using in Weymouth? “The plan was early ready. I am using a stiff HIT mast with a soft top with full sails. North for strong winds, with steady profile. WB for lighter winds for more adjustable profile.”

How does he think that Olympic sailing should move forwards? “To me it looks like the ISAF is reacting to the IOC and personal opinions, and IOC on what’s happening on the moment. I would like to see that the ISAF together with a few experienced athletes taking charge to make a 8/40 year vision and a strategy to get there. To be ahead of IOC wishes, and still keep the pure core of the sailing sport.”

Favourites for next week(excluding himself) “Ben Ainslie, Jonas Høgh-Christensen, Jonathan Lobert”

And what’s next? “We now have a small Finn team, with great key people; Coach Stefan de Vries, Sponsor and media manager Alexandra Verbeek and material expert Jan van der Horst. This is fantastic but I am by myself in the boat. In sailing I would like to focus more on teamwork. I would like to support and be part of a team and performing together at the highest level. I want to put all my energy in a AC or VOR campaign.”

 

Photos: Robert Deaves/Finn Class

Team Aqua come out on top

RC44 Sweden Cup in Marstrand, Sweden – Overall

 

 

Team Aqua has won the RC44 Sweden Cup for the second year in a row with a race to spare, on a day where the wind increased and the sea state made for some exciting downwind sleigh rides in Marstrand.

It was tight going into the final day of racing at the RC44 Sweden Cup, only 10-points separated the top four boats. Second placed Katusha (RUS) came out fighting, taking control of the first race of the day. They led from Artemis Racing at windward mark with Team Aqua (GBR) back in sixth place, but an early gybe by the British team saw them surf into third by the leeward gate. The positions didn’t change to the finish with Katusha taking the win from Artemis Racing and Team Aqua in third. It was getting tighter at the top.

Race two got underway with the breeze steadily increasing, gusting to over 20 knots. The leaders all opted for the left hand side on the first beat, but the right paid and it was the Russian pair, Team Nika and Synergy, who led at the windward mark. Aqua rounded sixth with Artemis Racing eighth and Katusha tenth. RUS 7 had been one of the lead boats before their mast came crashing down, snapping 1.5metres above the gooseneck. Downwind there were casualties also, Peninsula Petroleum broached, AFX Capital struggled to control their kite drop at the bottom gate.

 

 

 

But Team Aqua were relishing the conditions, on the first run they took four places to round second. On the final run Aqua kept the pressure on Team Nika and Chris Bake’s men surfed across the finish line to take the race win. Katusha and Artemis Racing moved up the rankings to finish fifth and sixth respectively, but Team Aqua had sealed the event with a race to spare.

After racing Team Aqua’s tactician, Cameron Appleton, disclosed the team had snuck in three extra days of practice ahead of the event in Sweden; it had blown 30 knots everyday. Their extra time on the water showed through their excellent boat handling and after his customary dunking in Marstrand Harbour Team Aqua’s owner Chris Bake (GBR) summed up the day. “It was awesome today, unbelievable. The boat was going like a bat out of hell. It was really hard. The upwind felt like three rounds with a sumo wrestler – trying to hold on to the wheel getting knocked around all over the place – it was hard work but a lot of fun.”

The race was now for second. Artemis Racing was tied for points with Katusha, whoever beat the other in the final race would take second, so long as they were no more than six places behind Hugues Lepic at the helm of Aleph Sailing Team.

Team Aqua asserted their dominance by leading the race from start to finish. Behind them places were changing. Half way up the first beat and Katusha tacked right on Artemis Racing, forcing the Swedish team to tack away. By the top mark Aleph was second, Katusha fourth and Artemis Racing back in ninth. After another dramatic run that saw Peninsula Petroleum’s kite explode, Aleph had dropped to third, Artemis Racing gaining one place to eighth. By the final gun, Steve Howe at the helm of Katusha with Andy Horton calling the shots had done enough to take second overall, just one-point ahead of Artemis Racing, who were in turn one-point ahead of Aleph. The French team just missing out on the podium.

 

 

Although disappointed not to have won on home waters, Artemis Racing’s owner Torbjorn Tornqvist still enjoyed another great day of racing in Marstrand. “It was fantastic out there; huge waves, big winds and we had some great moments of speed, clocking 23 knots at one point with the water flushing over us. It was fantastic.”

As for the overall RC44 Championship Tour each of the teams can now discard their worst event of the season. Team Aqua lose their fourth and count two firsts and a second. Artemis Racing are the only boat that can stop Chris Bake’s team being crowned RC44 Tour Champions for the second year in a row. The Swedish team need to win the Adris RC44 World Championship in two months’ time, with Aqua counting a fourth or worse to stand a chance of taking the Championship.

The final event of the season, which doubles as the classes World Championship, will take place in beautiful fishing town of Rovinj, Croatia from 3rd-7th October. Can Torbjorn Tornqvist and his Artemis Racing team take Team Aqua’s crown?

 

Overall Results: (13 races)

1 Team Aqua, 6 4 1 2 4 8 1 1 1 3 1 1 – 36pts
2 Katusha, 3 5 4 1 10 3 4 8 2 1 1 5 7 – 54pts
3 Artemis Racing, 1 2 3 5 3 1 2 11 7 4 2 6 8 – 55pts
4 Aleph Sailing Team, 8 8 2 3 1 7 5 2 3 2 5 7 3 – 56pts
5 Peninsula Petroleum Sailing Team, 5 7 9 6 5 2 3 5 5 5 4 9 10 – 75pts
6 Synergy Russian Sailing Team, 4 6 7 7 8 6 7 4 10 6 10 3 4 – 82pts
7 Team Nika, 7 3 10 11 9 5 6 6 4 11 8 2 5 – 87pts
8 AEZ RC44 Team, 2 10 6 8 7 4 9 9 6 8 9 8 2 – 88pts
9 No Way Back, 9 9 5 10 6 9 11 3 8 10 6 4 6 – 96pts
10 RUS7 Sail Racing Team, 11 1 8 4 2 11 10 7 DNF 9 7 DNF DNS – 106pts
11 AFX Capital Racing, 10 11 11 9 11 10 8 10 9 7 11 10 9 – 126pts

 

For more details visit: www.rc44.com  All photos supplied by Martinez Studio

 

 

Enjoying every moment

 

Interview with Finn Class Olympic contender: Ivan Kjlakovic Gaspic 

 By Robert Deaves International Finn Class Association

 

 

 

Since he finished eighth at the 2008 Olympics, Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic has been doing some serious winning. In the last four years he has won two European titles, four ISAF Sailing World Cup events and countless races at these and other regattas. He has briefly risen to No.1 in the world rankings, and is currently the No. 3. He remains one of the best Finn sailors in the world and a favourite to medal at every regatta he enters.

Ivan, better known as Bambi, first emerged in the Finn in 2005. He took the Junior World title the same year and gradually climbed to the top of international fleet. Since then he has been a regular medal winner, but surprisingly has only ever medalled once at the Finn Gold Cup. He took the bronze in Vallensbaek, Denmark in 2009.

The main reason he cites for this was the number of big breeze venues, as he has generally been sailing at a lower than average weight. In spite of this he still made the medal race in 2010 and 2011, though he was never really in the title race. Perhaps importantly in terms of the Olympics he won the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in 2010 against some serious opposition.

In 2012, he has worked on his strong wind speed, resulting in a fourth place at the Finn Gold Cup in Falmouth, UK, after a very windy week. He now feels as complete a sailor as he has ever been. Though awed by the prospect of sailing in Weymouth, he is trying to keep a cool head and focus on the job in hand. “It is for sure the biggest regatta of my life and it is hard to be cool with it. Anyway I think it will be great event and I will enjoy sailing this one like the best ever. This time around the major difference for me it has been much easier. I am older and more experienced and better prepared. I have had great training and my equipment is really good. And in terms of others, let’s see what happens on the racing days.”

Like many competitors heading to the Olympics he has been struggling to get to grips with the Weymouth conditions, despite winning there in 2010. He says this is perhaps one of the reasons that sailors have favoured training there rather than doing regattas. “We all see Weymouth as a pretty special venue so we are trying to sail there as much as possible. But my preparations are already done so now I will just relax and wait for the gun.”

He claims not to have done much in the way of gear development, sticking to the gear he knows best. “I just use ordinary kit and use it as best as I can. I think too drastic equipment changes can give you a headache. I had some softer masts but now found a stiffer one to suit me better, especially in the stronger breeze.” He also thinks the advent of free pumping at 10 knots has had an effect on the rig design. “A bit stiffer mast gives you better power. So yes, there was a bit of focus on that.”

What of the future? “For sure sailing Finn is a great game for me but I will take short break after August. I’d like to do some big boats in the future and then come back in the Finn for Rio.” “I would like to see sailing becoming a more popular sport and bring it closer to public. I think we need to make it more interesting, lively and faster. Perhaps a more risky game.”

Some quick questions:

Q: What makes you want to compete at the Olympics so much?

A: The honour.

Q: Do you have any rituals or superstitions that you do before a regatta or before a racing day?

A: Yes, many, small ones…

Q: What special qualities does it take to be an Olympic campaigner?

A: I think it is determination and motivation.

Q: What has been the hardest part about the campaign this time around?

A: Money.

Q: Do you think Ben Ainslie going to win again?

A: He is great sailor but let’s see results on the last day… that is sport.

Q: What gear will you be using and why?

A: Simple. North Sails and Wilke because I like the feeling when I am using them.

Q: Excluding yourself, pick three of your favourites for a medal?

A: Vasilij Zbogar, Jonas Høgh-Christensen and Ben Ainslie.

Q: What is the biggest sacrifice you have made to be able to compete at the Olympics?

A: I gave up all my free time and I have to be away from my family for long periods of time.

Q: Top tips for racing at Weymouth?

A: Keep it simple and sail fast and smart.

Q: What are you looking forward to the most over the next few weeks?

A: Enjoying every moment of being an Olympian.

 

Crowns dished out at Copa del Rey

 

Final day of the 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre in Palma del Mallorca 

 

 

RAN seals second Copa del Rey win – c Jesus Renedo

 

The eight winners of the 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre regatta were determined after six days of very tight racing in the Bay of Palma. RÁN in IRC 0, Audi All4One in IRC1, Alegre in Soto 40, Swanderful in RI 1, Power Plate in RI 2, Marguerite – Jsteam in X-35 and Mapfre in J-80 were the teams to clinch victory. Two of the winning skippers repeat victory, Niklas Zennstrom and Gustavo Martínez Doreste, whereas the other five win for the first time.

The Bay of Palma provided a perfect finale on day 6, which started with northeasterly winds of 18 knots at the beginning of races, dropping to 12 knots during the day. Wind shifts of around ten degrees and almost flat seas made for the perfect challenge for aspirants to the crown.

Not even hitting the pin mark at the start of race one and sweeping it away could prevent RÁN from repeating victory after winning the 2010 edition. The IRC 0 division has delivered a magnificent show on the water thanks to the six mini-maxis, the full international fleet of the class, which have been on the water over the six days of races. The Swedish boat was third and second, and final day’s wins went to Jethou and Stig. Runner up of this 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre in the IRC 0 division is USA flagged Shockwave, followed by Italian Stig.

 

IRC 0 battle for overall honours between Shockwave and RAN – c Martinez Studio

 

In IRC 1 leaders Audi All4One and Audi Azzurra went into the final day tied on points to deliver high-adrenalin, heart-stopping action. Jochen Schumann and Guillermo Parada turned the day’s two races into a match race in which the Italo-Argentinean boat finished third, whereas the Franco-German skippered by Schuemann was fifth. This helped Parada’s crew scratch two points, but the following race was to change things again. At the start of race 2 All4One went looking the left hand side crossing the bow of the fleet. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team remained at the right hand side and hit a pothole, and by the time they caught air again, Schuemann skippering All4One was gone. The team finished three places ahead of former regatta leaders Audi Azzurra, which was enough to claim the trophy. Paprec finished second and Provezza finished third. With the overall regatta win on the line skipper Jochen Schuemann and tactician Jordi Calafat used the best of their Olympic and America’s Cup winning knowledge to hold the lead to the finish, and win their first Copa del Rey together as well as on their own. Audi Azzurra Sailing Team was second overall and Tony Langley’s Gladiator third. RR. HH. Felipe de Borbón skippered Aifos was fifth, after a tenth and an eighth place on day 6.

 

 

Jochen Schumenn’s Audi All4One wins first Copa del Rey in IRC 1 – c Xaume Olleros

 

The last day confirmed Swanderfull as the winner in the RI 1 division. José Caldeira’s Swan 45 becomes the first Portuguese boat and crew to ever win the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre. The boat with Chuny Bermúdez calling tactics only clinched one individual race victory in this 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre, but her consistency throughout the race finally paid. This is the fourth Majorcan crown for Bermúdez, round the world sailor, who was followed in the podium by German Earlybird and Spanish Rats on Fire, all of them Swan 45 footers. Itaca IX of Manuel Gallego was fifth placed and winner of the Corinthian trophy. Power Plate found few rivals within the RI 2 fleet in this 2012 edition of the Copa del Rey. Back-to-back wins added to the three first places the Spanish boat had scored so far, claiming a well deserved victory with a 20 points advantage upon second classified Italian boat Volmer. Movistar of Pedro Campos was third, and Tanit IV, which finished fourth overall, was the winner of the Corinthian Trophy.

 

 

Alegre comes out on top in the 8 boat Soto 40 division – c Martinez Studio

 

In the very hotly contested Soto 40 division, Alegre and Iberdrola were battling for final victory, which finally fell on the side of the Monaco flagged boat owned by Andrés Soriano. In their wake Noticia and Bigamist were fighting for the third spot on the podium. After a general recall, race 1 started and saw Jose María Torcida cut down distances by three points with Alegre, whereas Iñaki Castañer finished just one point behind Afonso Domingo’s Bigamist. It was the boat owner Pedro Mendonça’s birthday, and his crew wanted to offer him a place on the podium, which they clinched in race two. Iberdrola rounded the first top mark last, and managed to move up to third by the end of the race, but Alegre’s fourth place gave them the victory.

 

 Mapfre overall winners in the J80’s – c Jesus Renedo

In J-80 Ignacio Camino’s Nextel lost all options when his boat dismasted right before the start of race 1, forcing him to abandon. This benefited Mapfre who sailed conservatively in the two last races of the event to win his first Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre crown. Nextel was third.

No big surprises either in X-35, where “Margherita – Jsteam”, “Hotelplan – Spirit of Nerina” and “Red Eléctrica”, the three top boats this morning, stepped on the podium in this same order.

 

 

Tight racing to the end in the X35 one designs – c Jesus Renedo

 

For full results visit: www.prensarcnp.es/copa10/principal/index_uk.php

 

 

Star Class Olympic Medal Predictions

 

Star Class at the 2012 Olympic Games – 16 boats

 

 

The relatively small 16 boat Star fleet is full of highly experienced and accomplished sailors. Smart money expects a dog fight between 2 multi Olympic medal winning teams. Iain Percy moved to the Star having won Gold in the Finn class in Sydney 2000. It took time but after a disappointing 2004 Games he got together with long time pal Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson, for the 2008 Games. In a tense medal race the British buddies clinched Gold and then went on to win the 2010 Worlds. Despite a successful 2011 season they have suffered a string of defeats by arch rivals Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada of Brazil. The Brits were in much demand on other race circuits whilst the Brazilains concentrated almost solely on their Star campaign.

The Brits had to come from behind at the Olympic test event to win the Silver and endured a number of breakages at major regattas since. At the 2011 Perth Worlds Iain Percy was forced out due to injury. They started 2012 solidly with a win in Hyeres but losing out to the Brazilians again to settle for Silver at the 2012 Worlds. At SFG in Weymouth & Portland they had to finish strongly and in a controversial medal race, ended up taking Silver again. At home waters and in a good breeze they will be strong to beat.

 

 

Bruno Scheidt already holds 2 Gold and 2 Silver Olympic medals in the Laser and Star classes. After narrowly losing out to the Brits in Beijing 2008 they carried on campaigning the Star and appear on the podium at every major regatta they race. They come to Weymouth as the team to beat, winning the last 2 World Championships in Perth and Hyeres and claiming 2nd at the recent SFG regatta at the Olympic venue.

There are a number of seasoned Star campaigners that could trouble these top two teams. Another former Finn sailor, Freddie Loof won bronze in Sydney in 2000 before joining the keelboat fleet. He made am impact winning the World Championships twice but it was not until 2008 that he took another Olympic medal, this time a bronze. Campaigning this time with Max Salminen he will be one to watch.

 

 

Amongst a number of very experienced teams such as Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk (NZL) and Flavio Marrazi and Enrico de Maria (SUI) and Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih of the USA, all of whom should feature in the medal race, there is an Irish pair, Peter O’ Leary and David Burrows, who have been turning heads with some sound results. They seemed to stack up the fourths with this result at the Olympic test event, 2011 Euroepeans and 2012 Worlds in Hyeres. They then really showed some form winning Gold at SFG in June of Olympic year.

Outside chances of a podium place also come from Frances Pierre Ponsot and Zavier Rohart and Elvind Melleby and Petter Pedersen of Norway.

 

Jonny’s predictions:

Gold: Robert Scheidt & Bruno Prada BRA

Silver: Iain Percy & Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson GBR

Bronze: Freddie Loof & Max Salminen SWE

 

 

 

Ideal conditions set up individual duels

 

Day 5 of the 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre in Palma del Mallorca


Ideal sailing conditions for the Mini Maxis on the penultimate day or racing – c Martinez Studio

 

Day 5 of the 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre delivered moderate wind conditions and lumpy seas which tested the smaller classes of the fleet on the water. RÁN stretched their lead whilst Audi All4One and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team continue their particular duel.

In IRC 0 Nikklas Zennstrom, skippering RÁN, took two second places in as many races, to hold on to first overall with 13 points. The Swedish 72 footer benefited from Shockwave’s below par performance, the mini-maxi skippered by George Sakellaris could only manage a fourth and a fifth, and now lies 9 points behind RÁN. The day’s victories fell to the 65 footer Stig and 72 footer Jethou, which proved faster in the stronger wind conditions delivering a fantastic show on the water. Third overall is Stig with 26 points.

In the hotly contested IRC1 class Audi Azzurra Sailing Team got sweet revenge for the previous day’s Schuemann’s double wins by getting back to back victories. Audi All4One was hot on her heels on race one crossing the line right after the Italo-Argentinean boat, but IRC52 Provezza 7 got in her way in race two. All4One and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team are first and second classified respectively and lie even with 18 points, Azzurra having more victories, after both discarded their result in race 6. Third in the leader board is the British boat Gladiator of Tony Langley. The last day of races will surely deliver an epic battle on the water in the IRC 1 class.

 

 

 

RAN and the Stig battle for supremacy in IRC 0 – c Jesus Renedo

 

In the J-80’s Mapfre stands out as clear favourite with just two races left. Conditions proved tricky for the mono-type class, with 14 knots of wind gusting up to 18 knots and lumpy seas in the first race. Carlos Martínez discarded his result on the day’s first race, which was won by Jose María van der Ploeg skippering Nilfisk, and was third in the second. Nilfisk and Nextel where eighth and sixth respectively, and Mapfre holds to the hot spot with six points advantage over second classified Nextel.

 

 

Lumpy seas for the X35 – c Jesus Renedo

 

The stronger winds tested sailors in the X-35 class division too, and the committee was forced to launch a black flagged start in race 2, after a general recall in the first attempt. Audi Ultra’s wesker performance, 7-9, loses her the leadership in the overall classification  to Margherita – Jsteam of Roberto Mazzucato, 7-2, followed by Hotelplan – Spirit of Nerina” of Alberto Fusco, 3-3. Mazzucato amasses an advantage of 9 points over Fusco, but the winner will surely come down to the last race in the X-35 division.

 

 Nearly a face plant in fast n furious J80 downwind sailing – c Jesus Renedo

 

For full results visit: www.prensarcnp.es/copa10/principal/index_uk.php

Light wind and high temperatures

 

Day 4 – 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre in Palma de Mallorca

Audi Azzurra fight back on day 4 – c Martinez Studio

 

Two wins in a row and the lead in IRC 1 for Audi All4One but not without high drama resulting in a late night in the jury room but no big changes in the IRC 0 division. Discards come into effect in the IRC and RI divisions.

Light wind conditions prevailed in day 4 of the 31st Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre, in spite of which the fleet delivered some of the tightest and most tactical racing bringing several visits to the race committee. Jochen Schuemann’s All4One clinched back-to-back wins in two races, climbing to the top spot in the IRC1 overall classification after 7 races. RÁN holds on to the lead although Shockwave and Stig were the day’s two winners in as many races, and Alegre also remains leader of the Soto 40 class, with an increased advantage of 7 points over Iberdrola.

 

 

 

 

 

Bust up between Audi All4One and Audi Azzurra at the gate – c Xaime Olleros

The wind pattern of around 15 knots from the southwest-west which prevailed for the last three days switched to a southerly-southwesterly light breeze of around 6 knots at the beginning of racing, gradually picking up and reaching 12 knots in the early afternoon. Demanding conditions and very tactical racing on a very decisive day in which discards came into effect for the X-35 and J-80 divisions.

Wind was best on the left hand side of the course as the first IRC 0 start was launched. RÀN didn’t perform at her best in the day’s first race and finished third, and could only improve by one point in race two where she was second, but the Swedish boat holds on to a six point lead over second classified Shockwave of George Sakellaris, which was first in the first race, and third in the second. The Italian Stig finished on a higher note with a second and first finishes, but the JV 72 footer owned by Alessandro Rombelli’s two DNF’s yesterday is too heavy a load and she is still fourth classified in the overall scoring board. “Highland Fling” was forced to abandon the first race after her spinnaker tore, and didn’t start the second.

 

Racing in IRC 1 was marked by a tete a tete between All4One and Audi Azzurra Sailing Team which finally fell on the French-German side. The TP52 skippered by Jochen Schumann clinched back-to-back wins dominating both races from beginning to end, which made them real and corrected time winners. The light breeze didn’t benefit Azzurra Sailing Team, and things got worse for the Italo-Argentinean team as they had to take a penalty turn after a port-starboard situation. All4One climbs to top spot, Guillermo Parada’s Audi Azzurra lies second, and Tony Langley’s Gladiator gets closer just two points behind the Italo-Argentineans.

It was a gun-to-gun win for Alegre in the first race of the Soto 40 division, thanks to her good speed, but she also benefited from some unlucky episodes for the rest of the fleet, which had to deal with very tactical conditions. The boat owned by Andrés Soriano finished sixth in the second race, which could have favoured second classified Iberdrola, but Agustin Zulueta’s 40 footer’s two blunders, 5-5, leave them seven points behind Alegre. Bigamist was one of the best teams on the water  on the day, snatching a second place and a victory, which lifts them to the fourth position in the overall score board.

 

 Iberdrola on the chase in the Soto 40 fleet – c Jesus Renedo

 

No changes in the RI 1 classification, where Swanderfull of José Caldeira and Chuny Bermúdez remains leader, with a seven point advantage over Hendrik Brandis Earlybird. The battle between the two favoured Rats on Fire of Rafael Carbonell, which cut down the distance by 1,5 points, and will be able to discard their blunder in the second race tomorrow. The two times Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre champion is third, and fifteen points behind lies Grupo Clínico Luis Senís. In RI2 consistent Power Plate of Olympic sailor Gustavo Martínez Doreste is first, followed by Movistar of Pedro Campos.

 

 

 

Discards come into play in the one designs – c Jesus Renedo

 

Discards came into effect in the J-80 and X-35 division after their eighth race.The J-80 division sees Carlos Martinez’s Mapfre increases her lead thanks to her rival’s Nextel’s OCS in the first race and a fourth place in the second, whereas Martinez was second and first. The victory in the first race went to Nilfisk of José María van der Ploeg, but the boat skippered by the Olympic sailor could only finish seventh in the second. Nextel lies second in the overall classification, followed by Nilfisk, which is twenty points clear of the fourth classified boat.

In X-35 yesterday’s leader Hotelplan – Spirit of Nerina could only manage an eleventh and an eighth place in the day’s two races. First is now Margherita – Jsteam de Roberto Mazzucato thanks to a first and a second, whereas Finnish Samuli Liesti’s Audi Ultra lie in second.

Two more windward-leeward races will be sailed on Friday, and discards will come into effect for divisions racing in compensated time.

 

 

 

Mapfre lead the J80 Class – c Jesus Renedo

 

For full results visit: www.prensarcnp.es/copa10/principal/index_uk.php