Difficult day at the 470 Worlds
At the 470 Worlds in Barcelona, the Race Committee held the fleets ashore waiting for the wind to stabilise, but the sailors were still faced with very unsettled conditions on the first day of the final series with racing starting at around 1600 local time. Described as “washing machine” conditions, the day definitely didn’t suit everybody.
Two races were completed for all fleets, except the 470 Men bronze fleet, who completed only race 7. The breeze was around 9 knots from 170° across the two races courses, but very shifty and with a confused sea.
The day after the night before had given time for the reality of Olympic qualification to hit home. Benjamin Grez, who secured Chile’s place on the Olympic startline said: “I don’t feel it yet, it is still so recent. We certainly don’t feel that we are going to the Olympics yet and can’t quite believe it. It is a great moment. We are really happy and didn’t expect we would have such a good day as yesterday, as we were far away from the cut and we made a great day. This is really important for us. Until now there was just a Laser from Chile going to the Olympics and it would have been the third time he goes alone.”
For Grez’s crew, Diego Gonzalez, their Olympic qualification has an even more special significance, as the last time Chile qualifed and competed in the 470 back in the 1984 Olympics, his father Alberto Gonzalez helmed the team to 18th overall. According to Grez, the senior Olympian’s advice for the 2012 470 Worlds was to “sail quiet and the easiest way they could.”
The same three women’s teams at the top of the leaderboard, but the result of today's sailing saw a shuffle round in positions.
Despite posting their worse results so far – a 12,6 - Ingrid Petitjean/Nadedge Douroux (FRA) move into first overall. Their day was just more consistent than others, including their team mates Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron, who were knocked down from first overall to third with New Zealand's Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie moving into second overall.
Seasoned Olympic campaigner Fernando Sesto of Argentina will compete at her fourth Olympics this summer, and her quality of performance so far in Barcelona reflects those years of experience, with up until today a scoreline of top ten finishes.
Defending World Champions Tara Pacheco/Berta Betanzos (ESP) were victims of the conditions today, only managing a 26, 12 and drop down the leaderboard from 9th to 12th. Now carrying their discard result of 26 from today’s race 7, they are really going to need to punch in some top placed results over the next four races of the final series, to guarantee their place in the top ten Medal Race.
The battle for Olympic qualification is shaping up and is a long, long way from being determined, as Austria, China, Croatia, Denmark, Poland and Russia fight for one of the final five nation places on offer at the 2012 470 World Championships.
China having three teams in the gold fleet is a story in itself. Whichever team qualifies China to the Olympics, will be the selected team. Today it has been all change in the overall order for these three, with Fen Huimin/Huang Lizhu now leading the charge in 18th overall.
For the other teams fighting for selection, there is a total shuffle in positions, with China now the next best placed unqualified nation behind Denmark, followed by Poland, Croatia, Austria and Russia.
Denmark’s Henriette Koch/Lene Sommer have consolidated their position even further as the highest unqualified nation on the leaderboard, moving up into 7th overall after a win in race 8. Sommer said: “It was so tricky today, so it is still just about keeping cool, keeping your head down and working hard. We have five races left. There were big waves today and not much wind, shifty and with pressure coming, so it was really difficult today. I am really happy that we found the rhythm and did well in the last race.”
Top 25 results:
|1||FRA 4||Ingrid Petitjean||Nadege Douroux||36||24|
|2||NZL 75||Jo Aleh||Polly Powrie||43||27|
|3||FRA 9||Camille Lecointre||Mathilde Geron||42||28|
|4||NED 11||Lisa Westerhof||Lobke Berkhout||50||32|
|5||GBR 118||Hannah Mills||Saskia Clark||63||35|
|6||JPN 1||Ai Kondo||Wakako Tabata||58||40|
|7||DEN 143||Henriette Koch||Lene Sommer||60||45|
|8||ITA 23||Giulia Conti||Giovanna Micol||67||48|
|9||GER 21||Kathrin Kadelbach||Friederike Belcher||68||49|
|10||ISR 311||Gil Cohen||Vered Bouskila||78||50|
|11||ARG 8||Maria Fernanda Sesto||Consuelo Monsegur||69||52|
|12||ESP 696||Tara Pacheco||Berta Betanzos||80||54|
|13||BRA 177||Fernanda de Oliveira||Ana Luiza Barbachan||80||55|
|14||USA 1736||Amanda Clark||Sarah Lihan||85||57|
|15||BRA 187||Martine Grael||Isabel Swan||80||60|
|16||SLO 64||Tina Mrak||Teja Cerne||87||67|
|17||SWE 348||Lisa Ericson||Astrid Gabrielsson||96||68|
|18||CHN 1261||Feng Hummin||Rumana Zupan||88||68|
|19||GBR 862||Sophie Weguelin||Sophie Ainsworth||98||72|
|20||POL 11||Agnieszka Skrzypulec||Jolanta Ogar||87||72|
|21||JPN 4321||Yuka Yoshisako||Noriko Okuma||97||74|
|22||CHN 1221||Wang Xiaoli||Huang Xufeng||104||76|
|23||CRO 111||Enia Nincevic||Romana Zupan||99||76|
|24||AUT 431||Lara Vadlau||Eva-Maria Schimak||107||85|
|25||CHN 616||Xu Xiaomei||Yu Chunyan||107||86|
Defending World Champions Mat Belcher/Malcolm Page's run of six race wins was broken today by Lucas Calabrese/Juan de la Fuente (ARG) who won race seven and Nicolas Charbonnier/Jeremie Mion (FRA) who took the gun in race 8.
Mat Belcher/ Malcolm Page (AUS) are not overly concerned by this, as their 2,5 scoreline from races 7 and 8 still gives them an impressive 48 point margin over second placed Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela of Israel. Rounding out the top three are Pierre Leboucher/Vincent Garos (FRA).
“Today was another good day for us, our streak is over but very happy with our performance today,” said Belcher. “The conditions were very challenging and we tried to make the most of the cards we were dealt. You can certainly feel the change of pace in the fleet today being the first day of gold fleet.Everyone was closer to the line, pushing the boat harder and taking more risks.”
Page added: “We raced in between eight and 12 knots today and it was very shifty. There were big differences on either side of the course and both sides paid at different times. If you look at the results it was a wonderful day, we didn’t go out to maintain the winning streak and it wasn’t our best day in the boat but it was as good as it could have been in these conditions and against a strong fleet. The intensity picked up on the water today. Maybe it was because of the weather and everybody was wishing to be on other parts of the course but a boat lengths mistake in qualifying cost you three or four in gold fleet. That’s the racing that we came here for and are looking forward to another two races tomorrow.”
Moving up to second overall today, from 6th yesterday, Kliger/Sela are pleased with their performance. Sela said: “We are pretty happy, except the black flag in the second race of qualification. We have sailed good in all the other races. Today was tough and it was a game of which team took the decision first, because if you tack too late you will just be after everyone. Everybody today just had to sail on what they felt."
The team are hoping that their fourth place finishes at each of last year’s pinnacle 470 Championships, the Worlds and Europeans, will be upgraded to a podium finish in Barcelona. Selan explained, “We were a bit unlucky last year, but even those Championships we felt we sailed good and were happy. After last year, we searched for what we could improve and everything is coming together now, which is good.”
With the final seven nation qualification places awarded yesterday (subject to ISAF ratification) to Canada, Chile, Ireland, Korea, Russia, Turkey and South Africa, most of the teams can now just focus on racing the World Championships.
But for Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis and Panagiotis Kampouridis/Efstathios Papadopoulos the battle is getting really close, just 5 points between them, as they strive to be the team selected to represent Greece. Whichever team finishes ahead at the Worlds will go to the Olympics. Kampouridis/Papadopoulos had the better performance today, with a 12,4 and reduce the points advantage held by Mantis/Kagialis.
Kagialis commented: “Well done to the other team as they had a good race and did really well. It was a little confused with the weather, but it is only day. There is a lot of pressure, but you know the best will go do the Olympics. We will continue, there are another five races.”
Both Greek teams have every likelihood of making it through to Saturday’s top 10 medal race, so this head to head has a long way to go yet before either of their 2012 Olympic aspirations are sealed.
Top 25 results:
|1||AUS 11||Mathew Belcher||Malcolm Page||13||8|
|2||ISR 7||Gideon Kliger||Eran Sela||61||28|
|3||FRA 44||Pierre Leboucher||Vincent Garos||42||29|
|4||CRO 83||Sime Fantela||Igor Marenic||42||31|
|5||FIN 7||Joonas Lindgren||Niklas Lindgren||66||33|
|6||ARG 7||Lucas Calabrese||Juan de la Fuente||48||34|
|7||GRE 1||Panagiotis Mantis||Pavlos Kagialis||60||37|
|8||POR 1||Alvaro Marinho||Miguel Nunes||57||39|
|9||ESP 9||Onán Barreiros||Aarón Sarmiento||50||40|
|10||JPN 4||Ryunosuke Harada||Yugo Yoshida||49||40|
|11||AUS 13||Sam Kivell||Will Ryan||62||41|
|12||GRE 165||Panagiotis Kampouridis||Efstathios Papadopoulos||59||42|
|13||FRA 7||Nicolas Charbonnier||Jeremie Mion||70||46|
|14||FRA 27||Sofian Bouvet||Guillarm Vincent||71||52|
|15||GER 10||Ferdinand Gerz||Patrick Follmann||86||61|
|16||JPN 12||Tetsuya Matsunaga||Kimihiko Imamura||77||62|
|17||KOR 111||Gunwoo Park||Sungmin Cho||95||62|
|18||USA 1713||Stuart McNay||Graham Biehl||93||68|
|19||AUT 3||Matthias Schmid||Florian Reichstädter||87||69|
|20||RUS 2||Mikhail Sheremetyev||Maxim Sheremetyev||93||71|
|21||NZL 212||Paul Snow-Hansen||Jason Saunders||109||76|
|22||IRL 22||Ger Owens||Scott Flanigan||100||76|
|23||NED 1||Sven Coster||Kalle Coster||105||77|
|24||CAN 618||Luke Ramsay||Michael Leigh||110||85|
|25||CHI 11||Benjamin Grez||Diego González||111||85|