Another challenging day
Clouds, rain, and strong winds promised another challenging day in the Delta Lloyd regatta. The fourth racing day started early for the Women Match racers who had to complete their qualification stage.
The Group B saw some very close matches. It came down to the last match to break the ties between several crews. In the end, it was the teams of Groeneveld (NED), Wang (CHN) and Lehtinen (FIN) who are joining the top three of Group A: Echegoyen (ESP), Tunnicliffe (USA) and Roca (ESP), in the Gold group.
The RS:X men were first on and out of the water after two races sailed in 25 knots of gusty breeze and rain. Taehoon Lee (KOR) has increased his lead after a win and a second place, while second place overall has been taken by Canada's Zachary Plavsic, who claimed his first victory in the last race.
The departure of Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) and JP Tobin (NZL) from the event is creating more opportunities to sailors to access the podium. “My Olympic selection programme does not include the Delta Lloyd Regatta” explained the Dutchman. “We decided with my coach that I would come for three days to have time to rest before going to Weymouth for Sail for Gold. It is not an easy decision but the best compromise.”
Three Olympic Gold medallists are at present on the podium in the Star. Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada (BRA) have maintained the lead they have held from the outset, ahead of Britain's own sons Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson. The two Polish teams enjoyed the day's windy conditions with a race win each. As a result Kusznierewicz/Zycki have overtaken the Germans to claim third position overall while Grabowski/Lesinki are now up to sixth.
“We had a nice start and good speed so could hold our position on the fleet.” explains Dominik Zycki on their first race. “We were fourth at the top mark but took the lead on the second beat and increased it to the finish. We could see today the potential of our new boat and we are satisfied.” About the conditions today, Zycki adds: “It wasn't an easy race though. We had lots of different pressure on the course with the big clouds.”
Thierry Schmitter (NED) remains undefeated in the 2.4 with five wins. Britain's Megan Pascoe missed on a second place in the last race, passed by Andre Rademaker (NED). With the heavy conditions some boats had to retire, and with three black flag disqualifications, less than half of the fleet finished the last race.
Local favourite Marit Bouwmeester has taken the lead in the Laser Radial with near perfect results in the windy races. The Dutch sailor, who can now discard a costly 39th place, sailed conservatively. “With two starts under Black flag I had to be careful and not take too many risks; I know I have good speed in the breeze.” Unfortunately the black flags were costly for early leader Annalise Murphy (IRL) who collected two penalties and falls to the 19th position, and Gintare Scheidt (LTU) who now down to 14th place.
Tina Mihelic (CRO) also sailed conservatively in today's windy races posting a 9th and a 4th to hang narrowly into second position, one point ahead of China's Xu Lijia in third.
Australian demon Tom Slingsby has maintained his lead in the Laser. “I am very happy," he commented. "In the first race I had a good start and a good lead. In the second race there was a big cloud but I didn't go far enough so I could have gained more. It is very windy and tricky, you had to go for the clouds. It is nice to be in the lead, but I have lots of guys right on my heel. Tomorrow, I have to keep my head on and have a good day.”
Brazil's Bruno Fontes holds on to second but a 49th today has dropped Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) to fourth. Bouwmeester brother Roelof now holds third place.
The Heiner father and son are competing in the Delta Lloyd regatta. While Finn Bronze medallist Roy is competing in the Star, his son Nicholas is ISAF ranked 113th in the Laser, but is clearly progressing now in 5th position overall. “My objective was to qualify for the Gold fleet and be the fifth Dutch competitor to get a ticket for the World's in Perth. I am very happy with the way I go here, this is my best results ever!”
In the Women’s 470 double World Champions Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) have taken the lead after double bullets today. The Dutch girls, on seven points, leapfrogged day two leaders Fernanda Oliveira and Luiza Barbachan (BRA) who struggled in today’s blustery conditions. Their 7-10 has seen them slip to third overall on 19 points. Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN) finished 2-2 today, and with 16 points they hold second.
Meanwhile in the Men’s 470 World Champions Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page, currently second in the Men’s 470 ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings, enjoyed a good day posting a 3-1. “We had a solid da," said Belcher. "It is good to race in the Gold fleet against all our opponents and see how we come up. We have a big day tomorrow with more races and the medal race in the evening so we will need to keep some energy. The conditions are supposed to be windier so it should be entertaining!”
The Aussies are now ahead of early 470 leaders Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO). Day four proved to be the Croats' worst day of the Delta Lloyd Regatta so far. They finished 7-4 to trail the Australians by four points. In third place on 16 points is Panagiotis Kampouridis and Papadopoulos Stathis (GRE).
Australia's Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen have closed the gap on 49er leaders Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes (GBR) to just eight points. The British duo top the leader board on 27 points with Outteridge and Jensen in second on 35 points. The Australians finished 1-3-1 today compared to the Brits' 3-2-3.
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) have moved into third place at the expense of Danes Peter Kruger Andersen and Nicolai Thorsell who have dropped to fourth at the close of day four.
After six races in the Women’s RS:X, Mayaan Davidovich (ISR) has a two point lead over China’s Li Ling. Davidovich, ranked #18 in the world, has 13 points after finishing 2-4 today. Ling faired better with a 1-3, but it was not enough to overhaul the Israeli. However she as stolen second place off Jessica Crisp (AUS) whose 3-7 this afternoon gives her 17 points overall and the third podium place.
The Finn were the last fleet off the water after six hours. Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) has taken the lead Finn after winning the first race and coming third in the second. “I sailed well, and I am pleased, the conditions were demanding with strong wind and unstable," he said. "The Race committee kept us waiting a long time. We are all feeling tired and freezing so it is making it harder!”
The World #1 is only three points in front of World Champion, Ed Wright. A second and a third elevates Australia's Brendan Casey to third overall. Despite collecting two black flags this week, Dan Slater (NZL) adds a victory to his score. “It was a very positive day, there was lots of different pressure but I managed to get in phased with the shifts. I took the lead on the reach and extended it on the run.”
The last two races (three for the 49er) will be sailed tomorrow in all classes. The medal races for the 470 men and women and Star will start from 1800 local time Saturday with the other classes and the Women Match racing finals on Sunday.
The medal races (with expert commentary) will be broadcasted LIVE with integrated 3D tracking on the event website.