Photos: Matias Cappizano

Hang on for your lives

France and Argentina dominating at mid-way point of 420 World Championships in Buenos Aires

Tuesday January 4th 2011, Author: Tony Mapplebeck, Location: Argentina

Maelenn Lemaitre & Aloise Retornaz of France lead the Ladies’ Championship and Pablo Völker & Agustín Cunill Martinez, the Open Fleet at the 2011 Worlds in Buenos Aires, Argentina at the half way point.

The challenging conditions, which have surprised the locals, have seen several teams take the lead during the six races so far in the 12 race series. Annabel Vose & Megan Brickwood (GBR) and Nadine Böhm & Monika Lindner have both had the lead and now have a point dividing them in second and third. But the first discard kicking in brought the French team onto the top of the leaderboard, with a series of five bullets! Argentina’s experienced 420 women’s sailors, Luz Bonello & Sofia Tedin and Italy’s Giulia Lantier & Martha Faraguna are in 4th and 5th respectively, but on equal points.

ISAF Youth World Champions, Jordi Xammar & Joan Herp (ESP) led for the first two days of racing. But on the third day, Pablo Völker & Agustín Cunill Martinez (ARG) had 1-3-1 results, givingthem a 15 point lead over Benjamin Grez & Diego Gonzalez (CHI) and Xammar & Herp, who are on equal points. Former European Champions and twice bronze medallists at the 420 Worlds, Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti & Leonardo Cucchiara are 4th, Tim Gratton & Ed Riley (GBR) 5th and Jens Marten & Mats Kampen (GER) 6th.

This is the first time that the International 420 Worlds has been held in South America. Decisions about awarding venues are made by the Class’ General Assembly of representatives of all Country Class Associations, and the sailors and coaches of Argentina, together with YC Argentino, have motivated for this for the last four years.

Pablo Vőlker commented, “it is really nice to see so many 420s in Argentina. We wanted to host this championship since some years ago and finally we are hosting it. We are all having fun on the water and also on land (we had a good opening ceremony and New Year party). The YC Argentino is making a really good job”.

Speaking before the start, Ricardo Navarro, Championship PRO (BRA) said, the “sailing conditions in Buenos Aires this time of the year are excellent for a World Championship. Sunny days, fresh afternoon breeze between 8 -15 knots, a challenging, but not so strong current and, in the evening, a nice sunset to enjoy a barbecue talking about the races with friends. A perfect atmosphere for a 420 Worlds. Of course Rio de la Plata has its secrets, sometimes you can face shifty wind conditions, or a strong current....At the end, everything was prepared, the club did a great job and now we are only waiting to 'start the game'”.

Juan de la Fuente, Olympic Bronze 470 sailor and leading Argentine coach, who recentlyled our South American joint coaching clinic with the 470 Class in Buenos Aires, said, “I am coaching multinational 420 Zaoli Sails teams. There is a good level of sailors and coaches in the fleet. Everything is prepared for a great World Championship: good forecast for the first racing days; Race management is top level: Juries; Race Committee and people from Race Office. It was pretty warm during the recent days, but once in the water it´s not that hot….I think everyone prefer this to skating, skiing and racing with ice yachts, like in Europe or North America!”

Well start the game they did! In the event, winds varying between 17 and 22 knots, over the first two days of racing and starting out at 15 knots on the third day, but building to 23 knots in Race 6, this has been challenging sailing for most of the competitors.

Senior Argentine sailor, Sofia Tedin, a veteran of World Championships in Europe and back in the 420 for this event, said, after two days of racing, “the high temperatures we saw during the previous days (measurement and registration, in particular) have cooled down a little, and it is not unbearably hot anymore….just plain hot!

“The wind has surprised us all! We did expect what we call the "Virazon", which is when the wind shifts to the southeast and increases in intensity; this happens often during the summer. This was what encouraged the Race Management to postpone the starts for the first days to 2 pm, which I feel was a really wise move. Luckily enough wind has shown up every single day, and the forecast says it will show up on the following days as well”.

The conditions evidently proved more challenging than anticipated. Sofia Tedin again: “The Rio de la Plata and its shallowness has played a hard trick on some, as it is common that the masts hit the mud in the bottom when the boats capsize. This, combined with strong waves that push them deeper into the bottom of the river, has had its costs, as we've seen some broken masts. Not particularly us ‘Argies’, as we are used to quickly jumping and avoiding complete capsizes.

Pablo Völker, ARG National Champion and a veteran of two World Championships, confirmed that “the conditions up to now have been tough (and it seems that for some more days it will be like thisalso). In Garda (2009) we also had a lot of wind, and in Israel (2010) also for the first days. The big difference here is that the waves are shorter and very close, so downwind is really funny, but also very difficult”.

The Team Bo’suns have been kept very busy, with lots of equipment replacements – masts, sails and foils – and repairs required. What has been particularly impressive has been the level of co-operation between the teams in the boat park (as well as on the dance floor!, while competition is fierce on the race course.

The entry for this Championship - 96 boats, 192 sailors from 5 continents – has been very encouraging, given that this is the Class’ first Championship in South America. There are many experienced sailors from previous Championships, including the current leaders in both Fleets.

The 2010 Junior World Champions, Navee Thamsoontorn & Atiwat Chomtongdee of Thailand and this year’s Junior European Silver Medallists, the young (and light!), Kavas brothers, Alexandros & Giorgos, of Greece. Other top-15 contestants at the 2010 Worlds in Haifa who are here are Guillaume Pirouelle & Valentin Sipan (FRA), Clara & Lucie Scheiwiller (FRA), Joanna Freeman (GBR), Gwenaelle Berhault (FRA), Hermione Stanley (GBR), Nikole Bames & Agustina Barbuto (ISV) and Linda Fahrni & Maja Siegenthaler (SUI).

From South America, in addition to the large entry from the well-established Argentine Class, there are competitors from several of the countries which have been encouraged in recent years through Class’ Development Strategy.

As Sofia Tedin says, “there is a large number of South American countries represented (Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Ecuador, and Argentina, of course), most of which have new fleets in development (most Chilean girls have just finished sailing Optis), and the opportunity that has been provided for sailing with top teams in a known venue (most South Americans came to sail in Buenos Aires in the past) and at a low cost is really inspiring and pushes the development of the Class in these emerging countries. It is really expensive for most of us to do a World Championship in Europe. Many of these kids never ever dreamt of it - you should see their faces of happiness as they never imagine they could be part of a top-level event like this…..We are really impressed at the number of boats we have seen and from so many continents! I don't remember a World Championship of any class in Argentina with such a huge number of participants coming from so many different places! We only hear locals talking about the huge response to the Championship here. We are really thankful to those who have travelled long distances for showing up :)”.

Ladies’ Fleet leading 15 after Race 6:


1 Maelenn Lemaitre & Aloise Retornaz (FRA) 5 pts
2 Annabel Vose & Megan Brickwood (GBR) 16 pts
3 Nadine Böhm & Monika Lindner (GER) 17 points
4 Luz Bonello & Sofia Tedin (ARG) 29 pts
5 Giulia Lantier & Martha Faraguna (ITA) 29 pts
6 Maria José Cucalón & Andrea Collin (ECU) 40 pts
7 Alessandra Moretto Wiel & Marcella Mamusa (ITA) 40 pts
8 Nadja Horwitz & Sofia Middleton (CHI) 43 pts
9 Cécile Gutierrez & Gwenaelle Berhault (FRA) 48 pts
10 Jeanne Courtois & Enora Roic (FRA) 52 pts
11 Greta & Anna Markfort (GER) 52 pts
12 Nikole Barnes & Agustina Barbuto (ISV) 56 pts
13 Ann-Christin Goliaß & Anke Lukosch (GER) 59 pts
14 Linda Fahrni & Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) 59 pts
15 Sarah Alton & Katie Tomsett (GBR) 61 pts

Open Fleet leading 15 after Race 6:
1 Pablo Völker & Agustín Cunill Martinez (ARG) 11 pts
2 Benjamin Grez & Diego Gonzalez (CHI) 26 pts
3 Jordi Xammar & Joan Herp (ESP) 26 points
4 Edoardo Mancinelli Scotti & Leonardo Cucchiara (ITA) 30 pts
5 Tim Gratton & Ed Riley (GBR) 34 pts
6 Jens Marten & Mats Kampen (GER) 37 pts
7 Mike Wood & Hermione Stanley (GBR) 43 pts
8 Juan Manuel Garcia Rodriguez & Facundo Olezza (ARG) 47 pts
9 Yvann Thelier & Guillaume Holin (FRA) 53 pts
10 Navee Thamsoontorn & Atiwat Chomtongdee (THA) 56 pts
11 Matt Foskett & Adam Walker (GBR) 56 pts
12 Joanna Freeman & Ben Gratton (GBR) 57 pts
13 Pedro Salzmann & Carlos Vergara (CHI) 60 pts
14 James Hayward & Tim Carter (GBR) 62 pts
15 Tim & Marc Fischer (GER) 73 pts

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