France with a day to spare

A report from the 470 Junior World Championship

Tuesday July 28th 2009, Author: Peter Saxton, Location: United Kingdom
The 470 Junior World Championships were held recently at Thessaloniki, Greece. The competition, open to sailors aged under 22 years, had 79 entries from 25 countries, with 54 entries in the Mens/Mixed fleet and 25 in the Womens fleet.

13 races were completed in the Mens/Mixed fleet. Victory went to Sofian Bouvet & Jeremie Mon (FRA) on 34 points, winning with a day to spare and improving from their fourth place at the 2008 event in Poland. They were followed by newcomers Ferdi Gerz & Tobi Bolduan (GER) in second (75 points) and (repeating their result from 2008) cousins Luca & Roberto Dubbini (ITA) in third (81 points).

The only GBR representatives were Ben Saxton & David Kohler who finished fifth overall, with 93 points, including a win in the medal race. Event preparation for the British pair received a set-back when their hull was seriously damaged en route to the event – it fell off the RIB and double 470 trailer whilst being towed along a motorway in Macedonia! Fortunately they were able to borrow a nine-year old hull from the host club, Nautical Club of Thessaloniki, which had been used by former 470 World Champion and five times 470 Greek Olympian Andreas Kosmatopoulos at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Although three days of boatwork were necessary to get the boat into shape, the generous action of the Greeks meant that Ben & David could race without the considerable extra cost of chartering a hull.

Most of the races were sailed in hot (38 degrees +) conditions with a light sea breeze of 6-8 knots, with a couple of races sailed in up to 15 knots. The tricky conditions made consistency difficult, with some of the pre-event favourites having a tough time. The 2008 runner up, Lavie Lior (ISR) finished 22nd in 2009, and Bergstrom & Dackhammer (SWE) dropped from 5th in 2008 to 12th in 2009.

In the Womens fleet, Tara Pacheco & Berta Betanzos (ESP) finished first, ahead of Gil Cohn & Dana Mamreiv (ISR) and Annika Bochmann & Anika Lorenz (GER).

The next major event for the 470 sailors is the World Championships taking place at Rungsted near Copenhagen, Denmark from 20-29 August. There are already 128 entries from 25 countries, including 12 boats from GBR.

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