Runners and riders

Darren Dunkley-Smith previews the upcoming 470 World Championship in San Francisco

Monday August 15th 2005, Author: Darren Dunkley-Smith, Location: United Kingdom
The 2005 International 470 Class World Championship in San Francisco will mark the start of the race to success in Beijing 2008. For a non-European venue Worlds, a fleet of almost 200 Athletes from 27 Nations entered is outstanding. The fleet includes all the contenders and there are many; Medalists from Athens, past and present World Champions, the veterans and hungry young “Super Juniors”, the teams that have started the 2005 season in great form and those that have been waiting for a windy venue like San Francisco Bay to show their prowess.

Early form this year would indicate a long deserved Title win for teams from Israel or the Netherlands is on the cards. Israel’s Gideon Kliger and Udi Gal in the men have had a great year with top five placing’s in all the major events including a win in the French Hyeres Regatta and a close second in the European Championship. Gideon and Udi were the Worlds Number one until relinquishing it to Portugal at the end of June. While Israel’s women’s team of Nike Kornecki and Vered Buskila have also pushed top results all year and also sit just second on the World Ranking list. Nike and Vered were an unlucky third in the 2004 Worlds and generally sail well in the heavier conditions so San Francisco Bay will be to their liking.

Sailing under the guidance of their Olympic Soling Representative Father, the Coster Brothers of the Netherlands will be hoping to carry on the Dutch tradition of Brotherly World Championship Titles. The Netherlands have won four 470 Men’s World Titles in the past and all have been won by teams of brothers; the van Essens, the Vollenbregts and the famous Kouwenhoven Brothers Ben and Jan who won two World Titles. Hailing from Holland, Sven and Kalle Coster love the big winds and are sure to shape the results if not top them. Dutch women Marcelien De Koning and Lobke Berkhout also are great in the breeze and have shown glimpses of blistering speed during the European season. With the disappointment of missing Olympic selection in 2004 these girls have determined looks on their faces.

American hopes lay with Michael Anderson-Mitterling and David Hughes in the men. Anderson-Mitterling has an impressive eclectic sailing background and with Hughes came from nowhere to win the famous Kiel Week regatta this year and become the second only USA boat to do so. They joined Athens Gold Medalists Paul Foerster and Kevin Burnham engraved on the Kiel trophy, who have since retired.

The USA’s Amanda Clark and Sarah Mergenthaler are the most experienced of the US Women and filed a seventh in the Women’s Kiel regatta of 2005, if they can handle the aggressive starts of the Europeans then they should do well.

Austrian women’s pair Sylvia Vogl and Carolina Flatscher shot out of the gates at the start of the season and Sylvia has the experience to guide this team to greatness, worth watching.

Athens Silver medalists Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield only returned to 470 sailing for the 2005 European Championships in June after a stint in Big Boats and immediately started out where they had left off, taking bullets in successive heats and just missing out on the open European title at the regatta’s last breath. They will be the favorites for 2005 glory but there’s still 12 -15 Men’s teams that can spoil their plans. Nick and Joe will also be up against past World Champion in the Frenchman Gildas Philippe and of course the Australian Reigning World Champions Nathan Wilmot and Malcolm Page who have put off the diets to be ready from some heavy breeze in San Francisco.

Britain’s Christina Bassadone and Saskia Clark have the credentials but the English juniors of Pippa Wilson and Sheena Craig in the Women’s and Nic Asher and Elliot Willis are no doubt on the rise.

Women’s World Number one and current European Champions Ingrid Petitjean and Nadège Douroux from France probably enter the regatta as women’s favorites but the Swedish current World Champs who took Bronze in Athens, Therese Torgersson and Vendela Zachrisson are good in the breeze if they can eliminate a small habit of capsizing at the most inopportune moment.

Canada’s Olympic Representative Jen Provan and new crew Carol Luttmer have been spending excellent training time in San Francisco and should have a good local knowledge ahead of the International fleet.

All the women’s teams will have to contend with the Multiple Spanish Champions Natalia Via Dufresne and Laia Tutzo who are fresh from winning the Mediterranean Games Gold and Natalia is the reigning Olympic Silver Medalist.

The ten boat Japanese team includes Athens Bronze Medalist Seki Kazuto and is coached by experienced mentor Aiko Saito, Japan is putting their right foot forward to increase their Olympic haul of 470 class Silver and Bronze medals in Olympic Regattas.

Javier Conte and Juan De la Fuente of Argentina leads the six boat South American push with a good chance after securing the Open European Championship in Poland and Portugal’s Alvaro Marinho and Miguel Nunes are not the World’s Number one by luck, They have been in top competition since being World Junior Champions in 1997.

Knowledge of the tides and currents in the Bay will be critical and there is a chance of the fleet all charging for the shore side out of the current, but this will provide some great viewing for the “Frisco Locals” eager for their Bay to show it’s secrets.

It will all be decided on San Francisco Bay between Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge in seven tough days of competition 22-29 August 2005.

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