First medal for Skandia Team GBR
Competitors were faced again another bout of challenge conditions on the Bay of Palma with a 8 to 12 knot northwesterly and many wind shifts on the penultimate day of Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofía Mapfre.
Today the first medal races were held in the 2.4MR class which saw a win for Dutch sailor Thierry Schmitter ahead of Britain’s Helena Lucas with Dutch competitors also claimed third and fourth but with Lucas’s team mate Megan Pascoe in fifth.
In the process of claiming Skandia Team GBR’s first medal of the event, Lucas fought back from a fifth in shifty wind conditions in the first race of the day – a race which teammate Megan Pascoe won – to take the gun in the second race to claim the silver on countback over Dutchman Andre Rademaker.
“It was a tough day on the water, that’s for sure,” Lucas explained. “We had northerly winds and we were tucked right underneath the mountains so our racecourse is pretty crazy with massive, 40 degree shifts and then just big lulls in the wind and then big gusts!
“But it was a good day in the end. After a tricky couple of races it turned round into a strong sea breeze which is my condition – I’ve got really good speed in that – and won the last race which got me the silver medal, so I’m pretty chuffed with that one.”
“It all came together and I think what was my strong point here was the fact that I seemed to have good pace which suddenly made the tactical decisions a bit easier!” she concluded.
With just the remaining medal races left to sail tomorrow, the scores remain close at the top of most classes, none more so than in the 470 Women where France’s Ingrid Petitjean and Nadège Douroux are tied on points with Italy’s Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol. Micol said she hopes that after ‘a long day’ like today, there will be more wind tomorrow to ensure good racing. These two teams are now 25 points ahead of third place.
French sailors have also taken the lead in the 470 Men, where Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos hold a slender two point advantage over yesterday’s leaders, the Israeli team of Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela, while Australian Matt Belcher and Malcolm Page are third, 14 points off the lead. Nick Rogers and Pom Green only squeezed into the top ten going into tomorrow’s medal race, after a terrible final race that they have had to count as their discard.
A better day for Skandia Team GBR in the Finn where after two bullets Ed Wright also posted his highest score of the regatta in today’s final race (but then the top four in the class all suffered the same fate). He is now just three points adrift of the new class leader, Croatian hotshot Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic, with France’s Jonathan Lobert two points astern of him in third. It was a particularly disappointing day for Spain’s Finn veteran Rafa Trujillo who has dropped to fourth.
“Today was a really tough day, but tomorrow will be even more so with four of us fighting it out for the medals,” said Wright. “I haven’t had to wear a bib all week, but it will be nice to go into the medal race tomorrow wearing one.”
Skandia Team GBR Finn coach Matt Howard, who will also have two more of his charges – Giles Scott and Andrew Mills – in the ten-boat medal race, added: “Ed’s pretty happy to be in the top three. He’s not had the best week this week, but I think that’s the sign of a top performer that even when he’s not quite hit the groove he’s still up there.
“I think we can expect him to be pretty aggressive tomorrow and come out with something to show for it.” (See Robert Deaves in-depth report on the Finns below)
The clearest lead across the classes is that of France’s Emmanuel Dyen and Stéphane Christidis in the 49er, who are 15 points ahead of Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes. In fact France and Britain are dominating the top spots in the Olympic skiff with Chris Draper and Pete Greenhalgh five points adrift of their team mates in third, having been black flagged in today’s first race, while Morgan Lagraviere and Yann Rocherieux are some distance back in fourth. Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign are the third British team to make it through to tomorrow’s medal race.
In the Laser Spain’s Javier Hernández holding a useful nine point advantage over second placed Croat Tonci Stipanovic and while Mike Bullot and Nick Thompson are tied on points for third place, 12 points off the leader. Unfortunately the two bottom spots on the podium are wide open with three additional boats all within striking distance.
The fight is much closer in the Laser Radial, which is lining up for a two way competition between leader Tina Mihelic from Croatia who has taken over the lead from the Czech Republic’s Veronika Fenclova. Spanish hope Susana Romero, holds a comfortable third, 10 points off second but 19 in front of Marit Bouwmeester.
The competition is also tight in the Star where Italy’s past European champions Diego Negri and Fernandino Colaninno lead but just three points from Switzerland’s Flavio Marazzi and Enrico de Maria who in turn as just a point in front of Sweden’s past World Champions, Freddie Loof and Johan Tillander.
In the Elliott 6s, the Women Match Racing passed through its quarter and semi-final stage with Renee Groeneveld’s Dutch team lining up against Nicky Souter’s team from Australia in tomorrow’s final. Souter came good today beating Britain’s Lucy Macgregor in the semis, having only made it through to the quarters from the repechage round. Groeneveld won her semi-final match over Sally Barkow’s US team. The final is a best of five, while Macgregor will fight it out with Barkow for bronze.
No races were sailed today in RS:X classes.
Full results here
Robert Deaves reports on the Finns
Changeable and shifting winds plagued the fleets on the final qualification day at the Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia MAPFRE with the Finns only managing two more races, with wins going to Ed Wright (GBR) and Alexey Selivanov (RUS).
Race six was started in around 12 knots, though this soon died away to nearer six knots. Ed Wright (GBR) scored his second successive race win to dramatically improve his podium chances. He was followed over the line by Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) and Giles Scott (GBR).
Regatta leader Rafa Trujillo (ESP) struggled across the finish line in 12th place to lose his overall lead for the first time. And things only got worse for him in race seven. He finished the day in fourth place overall. He said, "Today was a very tough day, I did not make good decisions on the second beats and this cost me a lot. The 24th in race seven hurts especially as my rivals were behind me and I could not take advantage of it."
Race seven followed soon after though the wind was starting to fade away. After a very shifty race, with two major shifts upsetting the fleet, Alexey Selivanov (RUS) lead Jan Kurfeld (GER) and Eduard Skornyakov (RUS) across the finish line. However Kurfeld was black flagged, leaving a Russian 1, 2 and a surprised Paoletti Michele (ITA) in third place.
After that the wind died away and started to shift in all sorts of directions so the fleet was sent in at 15.00.
Despite finishing 18th and 38th respectively, Kljakovic Gaspic and Wright still maintained the top two slots going into the medal race. A 4-21 for second placed Jonathan Lobert (FRA) dropped him to third overall. He said, "In the first race I started close to the pin but the wind was shifting to the right so I was around 20th at the first top mark. Then I had a wonderful downwind to come back to the third place at the downwind mark. For the rest of the race the wind dropped to 6 knots and I just manage to keep my
position and finished fourth."
"In the second race the wind was very light and looked like it would shift left because of the sea breeze, so I had a good start on the pin but the wind was shifting to much and increasing from the right. I rounded the mark very far behind, so on the second beat I choose to go hard right with Giles Scott and we made a nice comeback." Lobert finished 21st to Scott's 17th, though both discarded these results.
He concluded, "I am very happy about my sailing this week. It's my best result ever in the Finn class so far. So for tomorrow I have only one plan - have fun and sail fast!"
Further down the fleet, Zach Railey (USA) just managed to make the medal race after struggling all week. He said, "I snuck in by a few points, so am pretty pleased considering how I started the regatta. The conditions today were much the same. Very difficult and hard to know what the wind was going to do. You just had to fight all the time to get as many boats as possible.
"In the second race there were two very big shifts to the right on both upwind legs. I actually rounded the first weather mark in around 40th then was able to pick the correct side on the second beat and catch boats. There were huge gains and losses. I think the biggest mover in the race must have passed or lost 35 boats. It was very hard to know what the wind was going to do."
Four boats have a chance at winning the regatta in Friday's medal race, so knowing - or guessing right - what the wind is going to do is going to be more important than ever.
Wright summed up, "Today was a really tough day, but tomorrow will be even more so with four of us fighting it out for the medals."
So the line-up for the medal race is:
Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) - 2009 European Champion. Started the regatta
sick and moved into the overall lead only after the final qualification
races. Has to be the one of the absolute favourites to take the event based
on past performance.
Edward Wright (GBR) - 2006 European Champion, overall winner of the 2008-9
ISAF Sailing World Cup, and the runner-up here last year. Only sailor to win
two races here this week and has a knack for winning medal races.
Jonathan Lobert (FRA) - Young and rapidly improving, Lobert won races in
Miami and here in Palma, and is only 5 points off the lead, so he is also in
with a very good chance.
Rafa Trujillo (ESP) - 2004 Olympic Silver medalist and 2007 World Champion.
Lead this regatta until Thursday until he picked up a couple of high scores.
Only seven points off the lead so again in a good position to strike for a
Thomas Le Breton (FRA) - Lobert's training partner and made his claim for a
medal today with a 6-16 (which was the fourth best combined score of the
day). Hasn't made a name for himself yet but is clearly improving and has a
chance of a medal of any colour.
Giles Scott (GBR) - 2008 Junior World Champion and winner here last year.
Has had an up and down week and can mathematically win the silver or bronze
here. Last year he had problems with consistency which he seemed to have
cracked at the Rolex Miami OCR, but has had four results outside the top 10
Daniel Birgmark (SWE) - Fourth in the 2008 Olympics and a steady consistent
sailor. Can only make the bronze medal here. Only three top 10 positions
this week highlights the high scoring nature of this year's regatta.
Andrew Mills (GBR) - Third in Palma last year. After a cracking day on
Wednesday when he jumped to third, had a high scoring Thursday to drop to
eighth and has now lost his chances of a medal.
Gasper Vincec (SLO) - Coming back to the Finn after some time off. Recently
placed third in Miami but then more time off for the birth of his daughter.
Started well this year with a race win, and then dropped out of the top 10
mid regatta before recovering well to post a 9-5 (the best score of the day)
to just make the medal race.
Zach Railey (USA) - 2008 Olympic Silver medalist and 2009 World Championship
runner up. Has made hard work of this week and has been climbing from 37th
place on day one. Finally made the cut for the medal race on the final race
today, but no chance of a medal now.
He's not in the medal race but spare a thought for Mark Andrews (GBR). After
sailing an excellent regatta he has missed the medal race by one place yet
again - a habit that he needs to break. If we had a pound for every 11th
place he fills, we'd all be rich.
The medal race for the Finns is scheduled for 11.00 local time. It should be