Tied at the top

Dutch plummet as Japan and Croatia jockey for the lead at the 470 Worlds

Thursday August 27th 2009, Author: Sailing Intelligence, Location: United Kingdom
Solid wind and blazing sunshine remain the welcome constant factors of this 470 World Championship, run out of Rungsted, Denmark, by the Royal Danish Yacht Club. But today the weather threw up yet more fresh challenge. While the current flowing north out of the Baltic Sea was not a problem, nor yesterday’s awkward offshore breeze, the wind having returned to the south-southeast and gusting up to around 15 knots. But today the wind was oscillating and it was a case of picking the shifts wisely.

For the Men’s Gold fleet, this is turning into a high scoring regatta. Having their second disappointing day were this morning’s Dutch leaders, Sven and Kalle Coster. After using up their discard with a 22nd yesterday, today’s 16th and 11th places are counters and have dropped them back to third overall. They are now on 51 points, two behind the consistent Croats Šime Fantela and Igor Marenic, who are tied on points in first place with the Japanese winners of this year’s European championship, Ryunosuke Harada and Yugo Yoshida.

However none of these were on the podium of either of today’s two races. In the first, honours went to Spain’s Onan Barreiros and Aaron Sarmiento, last year’s fifth place finishers in Beijing, while the second race went to Austrian duo Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstaedter.

“We had a bad start, but we found a good lane out,” said Schmid of their win. “Most of the fleet wanted to go right and we were a little bit lucky that on the upwind it was better left, and we also had really, really good boat speed. So we are very happy.”

As to the conditions Schmid commented: “I think it was a really nice sailing day - absolutely perfect. The wind was oscillating, so it was not that extreme one side or the other, and for us we always found the good side. Yesterday we were always wrong and today we were always right. You have good days and bad days and today we were not unlucky.” As a result they have elevated themselves from ninth place to fourth overall.

Another team whose fortunes turned around dramatically were Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis and Kagialis Paulos, who posted a welcome third and a second, in utter contrast to their black flag and 22nd yesterday.

“We were lucky in the second race because we didn’t have a good start, but we ended up on the left side,” said Mantis. “We like this breeze and we had good speed and we had a lucky shift to the left and we passed in the front.”

“Today the wind was more stable, with less current and more windy. So it was good for us. Tomorrow is another day and probably another wind, another current!” continued Mantis, who has been sailing the 470 since 2000 and who with Paulos are currently the second placed Greek Men’s 470 team in the ISAF rankings, just behind Andreas Kosmatopoulos and Andreas Papadopoulos.

In the Women’s Gold fleet, it is also a high scoring regatta with the exception of one team – the newly co-joined but as individuals hugely experienced Dutch duo of Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout. Today was the worst day they have had, posting a 3-8, the latter now their discard. Overall they are on 27 points, 14 ahead of this year’s European champions Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol from Italy.

Today’s race winners were Spain’s Marina Gallego and Julia Rita Roman and Argentina’s Maria Fernando Sesto and Consuelo Monsegur, the latter two of the most seasoned women’s 470 campaigners, having been to the last three Olympic Games.

Gallego and Roman had the best day in the Women’s Gold fleet posting a 1-3, raising them from 10th to seventh overall. “Our start was good in both,” said Roman. “We were fast and on every shift we tacked, so we were going good and downwind we just followed the waves. So no secrets. The conditions were much better. Today if the wind changed you had to go with the wind.”

From Minorca, although they are both now based in Majorca, Roman only moved into the 470 last September having previously been a Europe sailor. “So the trapeze for me is new, but it is fun,” she says. Marina Gallego has been in the class for the last four years and the duo are currently the third placed Spanis crew on the ISAF rankings. Yet at this World Championship they are the only women’s team to have scored three bullets.

Coming from the Mediterranean, Roman says that she is finding Denmark a bit chilly for the height of summer and she has picked up a cold. “But I like it. The current is hard, because we aren’t that used to it.”

Like the Austrian and Greek men, French veterans Ingrid Petitjean and Nadège Douroux turned their fortunes around today with a 4-2 finish, pulling them up to fourth overall, level on points with Spains’ Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos, three points off silver.

Again Petitjean, another of the longest serving members of the 470 Women’s class, put her success today down to the basics. “We went the right way, had two good starts and had good speed. That was it,” she summed up succinctly. “I think we sailed well, and in the medium conditions we can be quite fast. All the fleet did the same thing, so the most important thing was to be at the right place and tack at a good moment and I think we did that well.”

Petitjean is one of the few sailors here to have competed at Rungsted previously when she came here in 1998 for the Youth European Europe Championship. “We haven’t had too much rain and it was not too cold. I have had a very good time here. The race organisation is very good. Ashore it is amazing, people are very nice and everything is so well organised and the racing is perfect.” Conditions, the latest forecast is indicating, could hold until the end of the regatta on Saturday.

Apology: Please note that contrary to information we were given yesterday, Dutch 470 silver medallist Marcelien de Koning is not now campaigning in the RS:X Women’s class.

Results: 470Men2.pdf 470Women2.pdf

More photos on the following pages...

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