20 point lead for Willis and Asher
In Medemblik conditions took a turn for the better on the third day of the Delta Lloyd Regatta, fifth event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup. The northwesterly breeze reaching 20 knots, allowed all the classes to sail the full schedule.
Skandia Team GBR’s two-time World Champions Nick Asher and Elliott Willis continue their confident push for the podium, determined to make up for their disappointment of finishing fourth at last year’s race here. With three races sailed they scored a 31st in race one today but with this as their discard the duo are now 20 points ahead of Israelis Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela. Another day like this and the medal race may be immaterial.
“We’ve got a new boat and we’ve changed a couple of things with our set up and rig,” Asher said of their current form at this event. “For the last year we haven’t really been that fast, we’ve sort of been struggling a little bit with our set up. We were down in Weymouth last week training with the squad and seem to have found a good combination, with our centreboard and sail set-up we’ve got our speed back. We’re sailing well, we’ve got our speed again and it’s all coming together nicely.
“I think tomorrow we’ll go for two conservative races, two top tens would be great,” said Asher of their approach to the final day.
“I don’t want to end up in fourth again – we had a really bad medal race here last year so hopefully we can change that this year and have a good one and win!”
The fleet have two more races starting Saturday morning before a medal race scheduled for Saturday at 1800 local time.
The windy conditions also suited the Australian team of Matthew Belcher and Beijing gold medallist Malcolm Page, who scored the best results in the 470 men's division. Placed 14th after Thursday light air races, the Sailing World Cup leaders gain 10 places pulling them up to fourth overall.
“This is the first day with good wind for the whole season - it is good to stretch the back!" quipped Page.
The 470 Women have a new leader with Italians Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol tied on points with Denmark’s Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer, with the Dutch World Championship Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout into third place after they posted two bullets and a sixth today.
Skandia Team GBR’s Hannah Mills and Claire Cumming remain in the running in spite of dropping to fourth with 8,17,6 from today’s three races. They are now 13 points from the leaders.
Four races were sailed in the 49ers, racing in Gold fleet and this also saw a change in leadership with the 2009 European Champions, Italy’s Pietro and Gianfranco Sibello moving into pole, three points ahead of Austria’s Nico Delle Karth and Nikolau Resch.
“We are sailing well again,” explains Pietro Sibello. “This year we have started every regatta with a disqualification at the start. Yesterday we were good enough to stay calm, concentrate on the shifts and stay close to the other boats. This series of OCSes has made us doubt, and take unnecessary risks."
The 49ers are racing in Medemblik on two different racing areas. While it does make it difficult for the coaches to follow racing, most sailors appreciate it. 'Today we raced four races back to back.", continues Pietro Sibello. 'We can do it because we have two racing areas. We don't need to wait on shore while the other group races and we can also compete with the same weather condition, which is fairer. I like to sail in Medemblik, it is the best regatta of the circuit for the 49ers: there are lots of boats, a great organisation and no waiting!"
It remains tight at the top of the Finn class where World no1, Croatia’s Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic still leads but is tied on points with early leader, Rafa Trujillo from Spain. A 1-5 has pulled Britain’s Giles Scott up to third while a disappointing 6-10 today has dropped Ed Wright to fifth, 10 points off the lead. Read Robert Deaves’ full report on the Finns below.
Two points separate the leaders in the Laser, where Australia Tom Slingsby is now ahead of Skandia Team GBR’s Nick Thompson. Previous leaders Chile’s Matias del Solar didn’t seem to enjoy today’s stronger conditions posting a 16-15-38 dropping him to fourth. Paul Goodison, lies in an uncharacteristic eighth.
The Netherland’s Marit Bouwmeester holds a solid lead in the Laser Radial. Discarding a 21st, her highest score is a fifth and she is now 11 points ahead of the Czech Republic’s Veronika Fenclova, with Belgium’s Evi van Acker a further 3 points behind.
The third race saw a close battle in the front between the Dutch and Belgium sailors. “I made a stupid mistake on the beat, I tried to cover Evi I went right but it didn't work out, Evi sailed away", explained Bouwmeester.
In the RS:X Men six points separate the top four with Poland’s Przemek Miarczynski leading, a point ahead of Israel’s Nimrod Mashiah. British World Champion Nick Dempsey is sixth, 14 points off the lead, suffering in the shifty 15 knot conditions. Spain’s Blanca Manchon and Poland’s Zofia Klepacka have pulled away in the women’s division, despite Klepacka scoring a DNF in today’s final race. Bryony Shaw is now seventh, 28 points off the lead.
The Women's Match racing started at 9.30am. At the end of the day 13 flights have been completed, with five for the repechage. The teams of Tamara Echegoyen (ESP) and Nicky Souter (AUS) won four races out of five and head for the Gold fleet tomorrow.
Russia’s Ekaterina Skudina started her match racing campaign last year in Medemblik during the Delta Lloyd regatta. “We have come a long way,” she said. “I can't believe we have started one year ago. We got our boats in February and trained with one of the top Russian Match-Racer. This made us progressed." Skudina has qualified for the Gold round robin with 100% victories.
Skandia Team GBR’s Lucy Macgregor, Nicky Muller and Ally Martin won all three of their matches against Anna Kjellberg (SWE), Ekaterina Skudina (RUS), and Sofia Bekatorou (GRE) to maintain their 100% record in the gold round robin.
Norway’s Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen continue their domination of the Star fleet with a 10 point lead over America’s Cup sailor Andy Horton and James Lyne. The Stars will sail their Medal race on Saturday at 18.40 local time after two fleet races in the morning.
It is close racing in the 2.4 mR with the top four boats within six points. The Netherland’s Thierry Schmitter has maintained the top spot since day 1. France’s Damien Seguin won today’s last race, is in second overall at only two points from first with Skandia Team GBR’s Helena Lucas and Megan Pascoe in third and fourth.
'It was very close racing with Thierry and Megan," recounted Seguin. “It is good to have closed the gap with Thierry. Tomorrow will be a big fight with three races. The racing here is very challenging and it promises to be an interesting World here next July!"
Full results here
Robert Deaves focuses on the Finns
-Following the frustration of Thursday, Friday brought perfect conditions with solid winds up to 20 knots and two tough races for the Finn fleet. With five races now on the board, the morning leader Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) shares the points leads with Rafa Trujillo (ESP). Race wins went to Giles Scott (GBR) and Kljakovic Gaspic.
The points are tight in the top 10, though only Kljakovic Gaspic has maintained a string of single digit scores. He made it hard for himself on Friday though, having to mount a come back in race four before going on to win race five.
He said, "We finally had some sailing without too much delays and waiting. Today it was petty breezy around 20 knots. In first race the starting line was very short and we had difficulty starting, so there were around 10 BFD boats. For me I had bad start and came up really bad on top mark but came back in front and finished eighth." The race was won by Giles Scott (GBR) from Gasper Vincec (SLO) and Mark Andrews (GBR).
Kljakovic Gaspic continued, "The second race was better for me and with a clear start I sailed nice upwind and made great job on the reach and first downwind to get in front of the fleet. In the rest of the race I had control over the group and won this race."
"It is great fun sailing this event for me as I am relaxed and guys are also sailing well. The top ten is tight with points and it will be interesting to see the next two days."
He was followed over the line in race by Andrew Mills (GBR) and Trujillo. With a fifth in the first race of the day, Trujillo dropped his 20th from Thursday to sit in second overnight, on equal points with Kljakovic Gaspic. Scott placed fifth in race five to climb to third overall.
Now in sixth place overall, Zach Railey (USA) said, "We had good pressure all day long with anywhere from 12 - 20 knots. The wind was pretty shifty and you had to make the most of what you got on your part of the race course. It was hard to know which way to go. I made the wrong choice on both of the first upwinds in each race, but was able to make it back and have some OK results to keep myself close to the top guys."