British Laser Radial and 470 women still on fire
Alison Young continued her dominant form in the Laser Radial at the Trofeo Princess Sofia Mapfre – ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma maintaining her perfect scoreline after four races in conditions that were again challenging with the wind building through the day to 17 knots.
The 25-year-old comfortably won both of her races today. On the new scoring system being trialled at this event, Young now holds a zero points score line. The Bewdley sailor is buoyed by her performance so far, but with the experimental system placing more emphasis on the latter half of the week’s racing, Young knows there’s plenty of work still to do.
“It’s been a great start to the regatta so far,” she said. “Another two bullets today so I can’t really ask for much more from the start, but the real racing begins on Thursday. It is quite nice having ‘nul points’ though – I might try and keep that going a little bit longer!
“We’ve got a bit of a mixed fleet,” said Young of this week’s line-up in the Laser Radial class. “A lot of the girls from our fleet have jumped into the new classes which have come in, so it’ll be quite an interesting season seeing who’s staying, who the new faces are and what the fleet’s like.
Just five points behind is Danish London 2012 Olympian Anne-Marie Rindom who is looking forward to what is to come over the next few days when she meets Young, “I’m doing what I can; I’m just trying to take every race as it comes,” said Rindom. “It’s going to be very exciting because it’s a new format and I have never sailed it before and it goes down to the last race. It’s a new challenge for everybody.”
However the new British pairing of Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh Mcintyre are dominating the 470 Women's class to an even greater degree. Posting two seconds today, they hold first place on 2 points, now nine clear of Croatia's Enia Nincevic and Romana Zupan, with World #1 crew Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) holding third.
The Laser Men's division is still be dominated by two sailors - World #1 Tom Burton (AUS) and World #2 Philipp Buhl (GER). After four races they hold three bullets apiece and one discard and so hold a zero points net scoreline (under the new system).
“Today we started off leaving the beach in light conditions but it had built to around 15 knots by the first race,” said Burton. “I had a nice start in the middle and was leading at the top mark and led all the way to the finish.
“In the second race I didn’t have a bad start, but it definitely wasn’t great and I rounded the top mark in around 10th. I didn’t feel very comfortable on the downwinds and wasn’t able to pull back as many places as I was hoping and finished up eighth. It was a solid day with nothing too bad. We’ve only got one more day of qualifying until the slate virtually gets wiped clean and we’ll start again then.”
There is also a two way fight going on at the front of the Finn fleet where London 2012 bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert (FRA) is now one point ahead of Giles Scott (GBR), with the Frenchman scoring his second bullet today. (See Robert Deaves' full Finn report below).
The Nacra 17 and 49erFX sailors took to the water after a breezy opening day that forced their races to be postponed.
In the Nacra 17 catamaran Mandy Mulder and Thijs Visser (NED) are the early pacesetters on three points that includes a race win and a third, but were forced to discard a DNC in Race 3. Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) and Renee Groeneveld and Karel Begemann (NED) complete the top three at this early stage.
470 European Champion Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond ended the first day as the top British crew in fourth overall on 3,9,3.
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Pippa Wilson, the Beijing Yngling gold medallist now sailing in the Nacra fleet, today saw her first day of competitive racing since 2009, and was grinning from ear to ear as she came off the water with new teammate former Star sailor, John Gimson.
“It was really good fun. And exactly what it’s all about – properly challenging in every way. It was very fast, with some quick decisions learning to race at that speed. There are some big mountains to climb but a great first day. I really, really enjoyed it.”
“It’s going to take a while to learn this fleet and how the distances open up and make a bit of a plan,” said the 27-year-old Wilson of racing in this brand new class. “Everyone at the moment is just kind of ‘aaarrrgh’ – just go for it and see what happens, and no one really knows what to do. So it’ll be good to get a few races under our belt and start to understand the game a little bit more. It’s been great to come here and line up with the foreigners and get a bit of a feel for how our speed is. We felt our speed was pretty good actually, once we could get out our heads out of the boat and race a bit better. So that’s great, and just to see what everyone else is up to so we can move forward from there.”
Former 29er sailors Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) used their five years of skiff experience to full effect to take the lead in the 49erFX. The Danes revelled in the conditions and took three race wins to lead Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) by nine points. The Danish team’s skiff sailing strength is prevalent in the fleet with JenaMai Hansenand Katja Salskov-Iversen third overall.
Conditions continued to prove testing for the fledgling 49erFX sailor, with the majority of the fleet capsizing at some stage during the course of the four-race day. Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth were the most consistent of the British crews holding seventh overall.
In the Men's 49er fleet, Julien D’Ortoli and Noe Delpech (FRA) and Carlos and Anton Paz Blanco (ESP) are both tied on points for the lead after four races. But only a point behind two British teams with Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes ended their day on a high with a race win in the fourth of their races, atoning for a capsize in the first, but tied with Dave Evans/Ed Powys.
Austrian leaders, Matthias Schmid and Florian Reichstaedter, have edged ahead of London 2012 gold medallist Mat Belcher and Will Ryan in the 470 Men. The usual suspects are populating the top eight spots, including new British pairing of Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield in sixth place, tied on points with Kiwis Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox.
“Will and I are really happy with how we’re sailing together,” said Belcher. “We’re just trying to enjoy our time here and develop together as a team. For the first race today we had a 45° wind shift just after the start and we rounded the top mark in the mid-20s. From then on the rest of the race was just following each other so to come back through to ninth was a good result which we’re pleased with.
“In the last race we enjoyed a battle with the Greek and French teams which was good. I’m really happy with how we are going and we’ll see what tomorrow brings. The way the regatta format is here we don’t start finals racing until Thursday so most of the top teams are focused on practicing until then.”
Toni Wilhelm (GER) sits on 0 net points in the RS:X Men ahead of Spain's Ivan Pastor Lafuetne and French veteran Julien Bontemps. In the Women Israel's Maayan Davidovich also leads on 0 points, after posting two bullets today, ahead of Italy's Flavia Tartaglini on 6 and Britain's Bryony Shaw on 9.
Racing resumes on Wednesday at 11:00 local time.
Full results here
Robert Deaves' Finn focus:
A win apiece for Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Mark Andrews (GBR) on a shifty second day at the Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía MAPFRE in Palma de Mallorca leaves Lobert leading the fleet by one point from Giles Scott (GBR), and by two from Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), who picked up two second places today. Andrew Mills (GBR) is in fourth, another point back, after two third places.
There was slightly less wind than on Monday, building to 17-18 knots during the day, However, it was quite shifty with big right phases in the breeze. The big waves left over from Monday at an angle to the wind also made the downwind quite tricky.
In race three Lobert took his second race win of the week from Zbogar and Mills. Scott explained the race, “The leaders came out of the right. Up the second windward leg wind oscillated until the final quarter of the leg where a sizeable righty came in with Vasilij making the best of it to catch the leaders.” Scott maintained second overall with a fifth place finish.
For the second race the wind picked up to about 17 knots. Scott, “At the start in the final minute to go there was a 15 degree shift to the left making the pin very biased which wasn't ideal for those of us at the committee boat. Up the first windward leg the wind went further left, and all the leaders came from reasonably hard left. I found myself having to battle back from about 30th at the top. But Vasilij Zbogar and Andrew Mills did the best with the conditions today.”
“I had one of those days where I made things difficult resulting in some fraught on the back foot racing.” He eventually recovered to score another fifth place to stay in second overall.
Race four winner Mark Andrews said, “My starts so far this week have been worse than rubbish but eventually I got a good start at the pin end. Just before the start there was a big shift to the left and I was able to tack and cross most of the fleet. The Croatian got tangled at the pin but recovered well and took a big shift and pressure from the left and rounded the top mark in first ahead of me.”
“Down the run I had a good battle between the Croatian [Milan Vujasinovic (CRO)] and Josh Junior. These Laser sailors have taken to the pumping downwind quite well and have got some pace. I think we were all blowing pretty hard by the bottom mark.”
“On the second beat I was first into the left hand shift and was able to stretch out a lead from Josh from there. Vasilij had a amazing second run and to take second, his second of the day. His training over in Valencia has obviously gone well.”
“Obviously it was great to get a 0 point race under my belt, as my Finn sailing is a bit rusty from sailing a Figaro all winter with the Artemis offshore academy.”
“So far two days of champagne Finn sailing in Palma.”
Andrews' win moves him up to seventh, while Zbogar and Mills picked up another second and third place to end the day third and fourth overall
Max Salminen (SWE) is sailing his first major Finn regatta since winning the Star gold medal at last year's Olympics. “My main focus this year is performing well at the Worlds. But there's a long time until then so I think Palma will tell me more in what areas I need to focus until the Worlds. The hardest part so far has been funding. In the boat it took some time to get the free pumping technique, but I think the downwind technique takes time and that I have reached an acceptable level.”
“Palma is an interesting event not only for me but because of 70+ entries and that there are some old stars that have taken the winter completely of, and some other young guns that have been training harder than ever.”
Has he found it hard to go from being Olympic champion in one class to a relative beginner in another? “Ha, well there's not much new really. We became gold medalists and best in the world because we always tried to learn new stuff. I don't really see it that way, what has happened has happened and for sure you try to take as much experience from it as possible, but I need to look ahead.”
Salminen lies in 22nd place after four races. Racing in Palma continues to Saturday when the medal races will be held.