Lucy Macgregor through to the finals
Great Britain is guaranteed to leave the Perth World Championships with at least a silver medal from the women’s match racing event, after a superb semi-final comeback from Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Kate Macgregor today saw them through to Friday’s final.
The Skandia Team GBR trio were left holding on to their World Championship title by a thread when they went 0-2 down in the first-to-three semi-final against France’s Claire Leroy, Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou. But the Poole-based crew held their nerve to win the remaining three consecutive matches in emphatic style against the double World Champion Leroy to earn their chance of gold in Fremantle tomorrow.
“We were down two-nil, but we were feeling confident and strong as a team, which really helped us to pick it up,” Macgregor said on her comeback to win the last three matches.
The semi-finals were moved out of the Fremantle Inner Harbour to the Centre Course because of continuing south-easterly winds which make for tight and difficult racing in the working port. The open water racing still gave spectators a close-up view from the Bathers Bay grandstand.
The first semi final on Thursday saw Leroy match up against Macgregor, with the second semi between Skudina and Tunnicliffe. Each team needed three wins to advance through to the Gold Medal Race on Friday, ensuring racing was very close all day.
After the first two flights, Tunnicliffe and Leroy were sitting on two wins apiece, making flight 103 the ‘must win’ matches for Macgregor and Skudina. In what was dubbed the ‘cold war race’ by the commentators, Skudina managed to get the lead on Tunnicliffe and cross the line in front. Macgregor also got over the line in her match against Leroy, much to the delight of the British fans watching in the grandstand.
With a penalty on Skudina, flight 104 was the deciding win for Tunnicliffe to go into the gold match. Macgregor evened the score in the same flight, forcing a final and decisive match with Leroy. It proved to be a tough one, with Macgregor forcing a penalty on Leroy in the pre-start. They were neck-and-neck for most of the race but in the last downwind leg, Macgregor managed to extend out to a three boat lead and win the race, securing her spot against Tunnicliffe for the gold medal on Friday.
Tomorrow Macgregor’s team will face stiff competition from the American Beijing Laser Radial gold medallist’s team of Debbie Capozzi and Molly Vandemoer tomorrow. “We are so psyched, we have a real shot at the world title now,” Anna Tunnicliffe said. “We really have to be on top of our game tomorrow, Lucy is a great competitor.”
If successful, Annie Lush, who sails with the Macgregor and who won world titles crewing with USA’s Sally Barkow in 2004 and 2005 and with the Macgregor sisters and Mary Rook in 2010, would equal Dane Dorte Jensen’s record of four Women’s World Match Racing Championship titles.
“We’re confident, we’re feeling good, “ said helm Lucy Macgregor. “It’s going to be hard, there’s no doubt about it, but if we sail how we did today then we’ve got a really good shot.”
“It was such a great semi-final – all three of us are really, really pleased right now especially having come back from 2-0 down,” Macgregor reflected of their semi-final victory.
“We had a disappointing first race in that we were on top, we were the stronger team and then we let it slip at the end of the race, and then we weren’t really in the game in the second race towards the end, so to come back from 2-0 feels good.
After missing out on an automatic spot from the group stages direct into the quarter-finals, the Skandia Team GBR crew have faced a long journey to reach this point having to sail through a tough repechage round. But Macgregor believes they’ve grown stronger as the event has progressed: “We feel like we’re sailing better and better, we’ve learnt a huge amount and still have lots more to learn, but we’re really confident out there and even when we lost those first two races we feel like we were the stronger team in some ways.
“Then getting the next two wins we were like ‘right, we’re on to this’ and we felt good. It was quite easy really, being able to pick ourselves up and really go for it.
“I think all three of us are a tad tired [after a long event], I’m not going to lie, but we’re really up for it. It’s been a really long week and we want to finish it with a gold medal now.”
Sailing for the bronze medal will be Russia’s Ekaterina Skudina and France’s Claire Leroy.
Skandia Team GBR’s John Pink and Rick Peacock have retained their overall lead after today’s only race with the competition now split into Gold, Silver, and Bronze fleets. Danes Emil Toft Nielsen and Simon Toft Nielsen continue to hold second place, six points adrift of the leaders and one point ahead of Australian favourites Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen, who share their position on points with Kiwis Peter Burling and Blair Tuke.
The Toft Nielsen brothers won today’s race by only seven seconds. Emil Toft Nielsen said: “We won a bit on the British at the start, and at the top mark we were almost even. Then we decided to focus on the wind instead of the other boats. When we got closer to the end, we found it possible to just cover the Brits and make it to the finish.”
However Pink and Peacock finished in second place, but managed to make up some ground to challenge the race winners, the Toft Nielsen brothers, on the final leg.
“We got a good start, the wind shifted right just afterwards and from then on we just hung in there, so we’re really pleased. Hopefully we’ll be able to hold on over the next couple of days to remain in with a shout,” Pink said. "We were just trying to stick to our strategy and from the start they got a little bit ahead. We caught back up at the last top mark but they kept it together and obviously did the right things. We did exactly the same almost down the last run but they just stayed ahead, but it was close."
A tenth today for Dave Evans and Ed Powys sees them remain in the top ten medal race positions, currently placed sixth overall.
In third place overall after today's racing Aussie ace Nathan Outteridge said: “It was nice to do a Gold fleet race today. We were back to our normal 25 boats, the course was the right size for the number of boats, the start line was right and it was just good to know that every race you do now actually does count for more than qualifying.
“A lot of people had some high scores throughout qualifying and we’re just got to try and keep them inside the top 10 now for the rest of the week and hopefully some others will make mistakes,” he said. “We ended up within a boat length of the Kiwis at the finish line, they got third and we were fourth so it was a good day.
“The only downside was that the guys with the yellow dot were in second so they’ve put two points on us but many people got high scores today and that was the main goal, to avoid that high score on the first day of Gold fleet."
Top 20 results:
|1||PINK John||PEACOCK Rick||GBR||3||1||-16||4||12||4||1||6||2||49||33|
|2||TOFT NIELSEN Emil||TOFT NIELSEN Simon||DEN||(35)OCS||2||3||2||2||19||6||4||1||74||39|
|3||OUTTERIDGE Nathan||JENSEN Iain||AUS||10||10||1||1||1||-13||8||5||4||53||40|
|4||BURLING Peter||TUKE Blair||NZL||5||3||2||-16||6||6||3||12||3||56||40|
|5||WARRER Jonas||HANSEN Soeren||DEN||1||4||5||3||8||10||-13||9||5||58||45|
|6||EVANS David||POWYS Edward||GBR||1||7||-11||9||2||8||9||1||10||58||47|
|7||SCHADEWALDT Tobias||BAUMANN Hannes||GER||4||7||1||7||12||4||-14||2||13||64||50|
|8||CHRISTIDIS Stephane||DYEN Emmanuel||FRA||13||1||8||3||19||1||5||4||-20||74||54|
|9||NOERREGAARD CHRISTENSEN Allan||LANG Peter||DEN||12||11||4||8||1||6||6||7||-24||79||55|
|10||SEATON Ryan||McGOVERN Matt||IRL||2||4||10||7||11||12||5||5||-19||75||56|
|11||HEIL Erik||PLOESSEL Thomas Maximilian||GER||11||2||6||13||-16||7||1||9||8||73||57|
|12||LEHTINEN Lauri||BASK Kalle||FIN||6||9||7||10||4||7||17||2||-23||85||62|
|13||STORCK Erik||MOORE Trevor||USA||8||6||14||1||3||3||15||-20||14||84||64|
|14||PHILLIPS Will||PHILLIPS Sam||AUS||4||(35)DSQ||12||9||7||2||20||1||11||101||66|
|15||ALONSO Federico||ALONSO Arturo||ESP||7||12||11||11||4||11||2||10||-21||89||68|
|16||KRUGER ANDERSEN Peter||THORSELL Nicolai||DEN||2||6||4||20||5||1||-23||16||16||93||70|
|17||ENLUND EKBERG Charlie||TORLEN Kalle||SWE||3||18||3||19||13||3||2||-25||9||95||70|
|18||FLETCHER Dylan||SIGN Alain||GBR||5||3||15||-20||3||9||16||3||17||91||71|
|19||ROCHERIEUX Yann||FREI Mathieu||FRA||(35)OCS||8||7||6||7||13||8||3||25||112||77|
|20||DELPECH Noe||D ORTOLI Julien||FRA||14||22||2||(35)BFD||17||8||4||8||6||116||81|
Australian favourite Tom Slingsby continues to hog the limelight with his fifth victory and a fifth place today leaving him 11 points clear of his nearest rival, Great Britain’s Paul Goodison and Nick Thompson.
Slingsby, who had a seven-point lead at the start of the day, had a vice-like grip on race 7, going 26 seconds ahead at the second mark, only to see it slip to five at the third. He finished 1 minute 16 seconds clear. In the eighth race, Slingsby had to bide his time and produce excellent downwind efforts to pick up valuable positions, finally crossing in fifth.
“It was another good day for me. The first was a nice race and I managed to hold it. In the second I was doing well on the first beat and there was a big right-hand shift and I rounded the mark 20th. I managed to come back and I was happy to come fifth.
On what he needs to do on Saturday in races nine and 10, he said: “It will be one more day of tricky Gold fleet sailing close to shore (Bathers Bay). I just need one good one on Saturday. I just have to keep myself clear and sail my own race. Up front would be preferable."
Fellow Australian Ashley Brunning made his charge coming in from the left side on the second upwind leg and maintained second position until Paul Goodison overtook him on the final downwind leg to finish behind Slingsby.
Paul Goodison said: “it was pretty wild and crazy out there. The conditions were so crazy with big gaps and everyone came together so it was hard to be consistent.”
But it was world number two, Nick Thompson, who fended off all challengers for most of race 8, especially in the final upwind leg where up to 15 sailors were within 100m at one stage in the fluky winds.
Thompson said: “It was pretty tough at the start and I went right and got the first shift. On the last beat there were two winds, either side and you had to choose which one to go with to cover both sides. That’s been the nature of the winds the past few days, choosing between two breezes.”
While the front-runners are jockeying for the medal dais, a large group of sailors is shuffling the deck to get a berth in Saturday’s medal race. On the cusp are Tonci Stipanovic (9th), Frenchman Jean Baptiste Bernaz (10th), Cypriot Pavlos Kontides (11th) and Australian Tom Burton (12th).
Top 20 results:
|9||BERNAZ Jean Baptiste||FRA||2||7||2||10||10||2||-28||12||73||45|
|13||SCHAARDENBURG, van Rutger||NED||4||8||1||16||12||9||11||(50)DSQ||111||61|
|19||FONTES FERREIRA da SILVA Bruno||BRA||8||2||18||3||7||18||-24||24||104||80|
Dutch favourite Dorian van Rijsselberge has broken away from Israel’s Nimrod Mashich in the Men’s RS:X Gold fleet after Day 13 of competition at the ISAF Worlds, placing himself firmly in a winning position.
Van Rijsselberge said there was a lot happening on the water today: “It was all really close. Every time – right up until the finish, it was up for grabs. It was exciting racing and was good for me not to make any shockers.”
Van Rijsselberge was never far from the front of the pack in race 6, finishing with a 23 second lead over Portugal’s Joao Rodrigues with New Zealander Paul Tobin finishing third.
After a general recall, race 7 was abandoned due to wind shift. When it finally did start, the fleet split evenly, with van Rijsselberge again taking the lead, but was unable to hold this position as Poland’s Przemyslaw Miarczynski powered through to take first, closely followed by world number one Piotr Myszka, with third place going to Greece’s Byron Kokkalaniis.
Race 8 was a catch-up because of an early end to racing on Wednesday, but Kokkalaniis took a sizeable lead over his nearest competitors.
“I had a really good start (for Race 8), had really good winds, and was the first to cross mark one. And bam that was it,” Kokkalaniis said. Second place recipient Tobin followed him over the line 20 seconds later and third went to fleet overall number one, van Rijsselberge.
Poland's World number one Myszka, who finished 12th in race 8 and is second overall, said with two more races, anything is possible: “I will try to beat Dorian. I can find a solution for that. I will fight for sure, I think everything will be okay.”
Britain’s Nick Dempsey made progress up the leaderboard posting 12,7,10 for his three races today elevating him from 20th to 15th overall, while Elliot Carney is 11th overall with 27,11,15 for his day.
Top 20 results:
|1||van RIJSSELBERGHE Dorian||NED||1||3||-16||1||1||1||4||3||30||14|
|7||TOBIN Jon Paul||NZL||6||4||6||10||6||3||-24||2||61||37|
|12||WINICKI SANTOS Ricardo||BRA||-15||5||9||8||7||5||14||7||70||55|
|20||HUG Louis Benoit||FRA||15||15||17||7||13||9||13||-27||116||89|
Racing resumes tomorrow for the Stars and 470 Women