All to play for
The weather on the Bay of Palma divided the day in two – in the morning there was a solid 15 knots northwesterly, but at around 1400, the wind dropped and all classes were postponed an eight knot westerly filled in.
Israeli team of Gideon Kilger and Eran Sela celebrated Kilger’s 30th birthday, yesterday, to take the lead in 470 men today. However it has not been going all their way. “We had a bad start in the second race” said Eran, resulting in their crossing the finishing line in 34th, which has become their discard.
They are followed by France’s Pierre LeBoucher and Vincent Garos, with Beijing Gold medallist Malcolm Page and his new helm Matt Belcher in third. It was a rotten day for Croats Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic, who scuppered their chances today posting two high results, dropping them from second overall to 13th. Top Brits are Nick Rogers and Pom Green, who are up to seventh, 15 points off the podium.
Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol from Italy have regained the lead in the 470 Women, but only hold a five point lead over French sailors, Ingrid Petitjean and Nadège Douroux. Petitjean said it was a good day of racing with “interesting weather conditions: three races, three winds.” However these two teams now hold a margin of 22 points over third placed American duo Amanda Clark and Sarah Chin. Skandia Team GBR’s top performers are Sophies Weguelin and Ainsworth in 24th.
Italy is also leading in the Stars where Diego Negri and Ferdinando Colaninno have overhauled Swiss sailors Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria to lead by a point. Sweden’s Freddie Loof and German Alexander Schlonski are tied with equal points in third and fourth position.
In the Laser, it was the first day of Gold fleet racing and it was Spain’s Javier Hernández who has climbed up to the top of the class standings overtaking Croat Tonci Stipanovic on what proved to be a high scoring day for all. Team GBR’s Nick Thompson remains in third, eight points off the lead.
The closest class at present is the Laser Radial where Czech sailor Veronica Fenklova and Spain’s Susana Romero are tied in the top spot with Croatia’s Tina Mihelic 5 points behind in third. Switzerland’s promising Nathalie Brugger and Alicia Cebrian were black flagged in day’s second race knocking them back to fourth and seventh respectively. Top Brit is Alison Young in 18th.
Spanish Finn sailing legend Rafa Trujillo has maintained his Finn lead after the three races sailed today. The top end of the Finn fleet is low scoring on this occasion with Trujillo discarding the 13th he posted in today’s last race, which was won by Ed Wright. However Wright is fifth overall eight points off the leader, with team mate Andrew Mills, the bronze medallist here last year holding third. Skandia Team GBR have four boats inside the top ten. (See Robert Deaves' report below)
In the 49er, French duo Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis had the most consistent day and now lead the field with a seven point advantage over second placed Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes with Chris Draper and Pete Greenhalgh now down to third.
The two-time World Champion Draper, who teamed up with Greenhalgh a year ago after time out of the class, was in confident mood in spite of a challenging day.“It was a day of quite a lot of bad luck, but we kind of escaped it with some reasonable [results],” he explained. “We had a bit of a bad one in the first race – we were doing quite well and then sadly my trapeze hook snapped, which ended up in quite catastrophic circumstances after that! We rescued a reasonable result and then we had a third, a 12th in a race where we made one little mistake and then a second in the last race.”
Pete Greenhalgh added: “Chris and I were a bit disappointed with our result at the Worlds, so for us this is just about checking back in, sailing well, enjoying it and having a good regatta. We certainly feel, post-Bahama Worlds, that we’re really made a step forward and it’s definitely showing. But obviously with a day like today when you have gear failure and then another race where we were leading after three laps and they abandon it, it doesn’t quite show! But time will tell – we’ve still got plenty more regattas to go and definitely it’s all there. We’ve just got to put it together.”
Draper continued: “While both of us have sailed the boat for a long time, we really are a new team and that takes a while to gel. We always knew that was going to be the case and I think the things we’re having to improve on and work on are not necessarily the same things as everyone else, they’re more about us working together as a pair and getting good at that. It’s a really nice thing to be able to work on, good fun and we’re really improving. So whatever happens with the rest of this regatta we’ll take a lot of really positive stuff away from it.”
In RS:X Men, Greek sailor Byron Kokkalanis has taken the lead after second and third place finishes in today’s races. Shahar Zubari from Israel is now down to second place a point ahead of Kiwi Tom Ashley.
A tight competition is also going on in the RS:X Women between Great Britain, France and Spain with Italy’s Alessandra Sensini still leading Bryony Shaw, but only by a point.
In the Elliot 6 Women’s Match Racing, France’s Claire Leroy, the world no.1 is on a roll coming out on top of the gold group round robin. Going into tomorrow’s semi finals she will sail Nicky Souter’s team from Australia. Skandia Team GBR’s Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ally Martin won both of their remaining gold group matches and go on to face the Australian team, skippered by Katie Spithill, in tomorrow’s quarter-finals.
Full results here
Robert Deaves reports on the Finns:
Rafa Trujillo (ESP) remains at the top of the Finn fleet after three intense races were completed on Wednesday at the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapfre. Race wins went to Jonathan Lobert (FRA), Giorgio Poggi (ITA) and Ed Wright (GBR), with many sailors having a mixed day to keep the points very close at the top.
After a second day lost on Tuesday due to strong winds, both the Finn sailors and the race committee were keen to start catching up to schedule.
The first race, with great sailing conditions up to 15 knots was won by Jonathan Lobert (FRA). Paoletti Michele (ITA) sailed well to place second, with another good finish for regatta leader Rafa Trujillo (ESP) in third.
Race four was sailed in similar conditions, with the wind tailing off towards the end. This time it was Giorgio Poggi (ITA) taking the race win from Zach Railey (USA) and the ever improving Andrew Mills (GBR).
Railey, the 2008 Olympic Silver medalist has been struggling so far in this regatta, not helped by a black flag in race one. However his second place in race four still now gives him a fighting chance of making the medal race. He said, "The second race went OK today. I think I made some good decisions in the race and constantly improved my position from around ninth at the first mark to finish second. The big key was really just getting to the top mark in the first group most of the races so far I have been rounding pretty far back in the fleet. I just have not made the correct decisions all the time on the first upwind and have had to play catch up in all the races but the second race today."
Railey concluded, "The plan for tomorrow is to just go out and work on trying to put up two good solid races. Hopefully they will be enough to get me into the medal race. All I can control is posting some good scores and we will see where the points fall."
The wind then all but disappeared but a third race was finally attempted with Skandia GBR Team mates Ed Wright (GBR) and Mills in first and second, and Daniel Birgmark (SWE) in third.
Mills, who broke his mast in Tuesday's extreme conditions said, "I snapped a mast yesterday on the way in and today was using a spare one courtesy of Giles Scott. I seemed to be going relatively quick so it was not a problem."
"But it was nice to race today especially in some relatively normal conditions with only one very tricky last lap in race two. The key factors were getting a clean start and then getting the main shifts right - with a little bit of luck. It was very gusty and patchy in first two races due to wind direction."
Mills was the only sailor to manage two top 3 finishes today. "In the last race I came from the left and Ed [Wright] came from the right and we had a good margin over the fleet, with Ed in first. Ed led relatively easily throughout the race with a decent lead. I was third at the first leeward mark then second at the next top mark and then held this position to the end. It was unlimited pumping on the last run, which meant that Ed and I
could pull away to relatively comfortable 1, 2."
While Trujillo maintains his overall lead, albeit by a smaller margin, Lobert had an excellent day with a 1-4-4 to move from 11th up to second, while an 8-3-2 moves Mills from 16th to third.
Trujillo summed up the day."The conditions this year in Palma have been very challenging. To do well you need to be very patient and pick the right moment to cross the race course. I am very happy with my first race today but in my last one I made a huge mistake that cost me dearly. Today was very tough and though I am still leading, if I do not improve my starts I will have a tough time in tomorrow's races."
All the top players now have a significant discard each, so Thursday's final qualification races will be crucial to determine the final line up for the medal race on Friday.