New Zealand ahead in the cats
McHardie and Wilkinson have opened up a 14 point advantage over their rivals having won five of nine races with four remaining over the final two days of competition.
Racing followed the schedule on the third day in Cyprus with warm winds and waves treating the 350 sailors from 61 nations to a wonderful race day.
The breeze kicked in nice and early, working its way up to 16 knots with gusts of 20 knots, making for some exciting SL16 racing and it was the Kiwis McHardie and Wilkinson who controlled the first two races of the day. With strong starts the New Zealanders, who stepped into the multihulls after missing out on a 29er spot in Cyprus at their national trials, took the fleet by storm.
They led Races 7 and 8 from the start and were never truly threatened but the final race of the day saw them finish seventh, which they lose through the discard.
“We’re pretty happy with how everything’s going, it’s been awesome,” said the pair immediately after racing. “We were looking for top three finishes and we’re stoked with our results at the moment. We’re normally 29er sailors but after a couple of months in the cat we’re pretty happy with how things are going.”
Ahead of the Sail First ISAF Youth Worlds the pair took in the SL16 Worlds to fine tune their preparations and finished sixth, “We’ve been sailing cats since February,” said Wilkinson, “We learned heaps in France which was awesome and brought that into here and we are getting some good results.”
Australia’s Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland took the final race win of the day to sit second overall whilst four points separate the Brazilian, Spanish, British and Singaporean teams from third to sixth.
Puerto Rico’s Juan Perdomo sailed exquisitely on the third day picking up a bullet and a second to take the lead in the Laser Radial Boys fleet. Overnight leader Joel Rodriguez (ESP) slipped to second after a third and a seventh with Switzerland’s Sebastien Schneiter further back on 33 points in third.
Perdomo is revelling in the conditions but despite he and Rodriguez holding strong advantages, the Puerto Rican remains calm and sincere in his approach, “What’s really particular about the Laser Radial fleet is that it’s so deep and there are so many people who are very good,” said Perdomo.
“Ten or 15 people could medal here and even if you won last year it doesn’t mean you’re going to win for sure. Every regatta is different in the Radials, there’s not one guy who’s better than the rest and everyone beats each other.”
Just five points separate Perdomo and Rodriguez with four races to go. Perdomo added, “He [Rodriguez] and I are good friends and it’s too early to focus on somebody else so I’m going to concentrate on sailing my own race and see how it goes. For now it’s the same plan as the other days.”
Line Flem Host (NOR) has a firm grip on the Laser Radial Girls lead after another great day on the water. Sitting atop on 17 points she is followed by Monika Mikkola on 34 points and Agata Barwinska on 46 points.
Australia’s Carrie Smith and Ella Clark certainly hit the right note in the 420 Girls on the third day with three race wins to overtake Italy’s Ilaria Paternoster and Benedetta di Salle and open up a seven point lead.
“The conditions today were like being back at home and we took on the opportunity to have some great racing,” said Clark, “We came out with three wins which is really good for us.”
Nadja Horwitz and Carmina Walsh (CHI) remain in third place, four points off the Italians.
Tiago Brito and Andrei Knepp (BRA) moved ahead of 420 Boys overnight leaders Diogo Pereira and Pedro Cruz (POR) with some steady third day racing. A third and a fifth means the Brazilians lead on 20 points with the Portuguese second on 29 points. Italy’s Matteo Pilati and Michele Cecchin are third on 32 points.
Great Britain’s Kieran Martin was consistent once again in the RS:X Boys fleet as he posted a 3-2-4 scoreline. Martin leads Oleksandr Tugaryev (UKR) who was strong in the bigger breeze winning the first two races of the day and finishing second in the last.
After racing, Martin, who has a 13 point lead said, “I’m usually better in light wind - strong winds I usually don’t do so well so to finish with five top five positions I’m really pleased.
“The closest to me results wise is the Ukraine windsurfer, Oleksandr Tugaryev. He’s really good in strong winds, and not so strong in light winds, which is the opposite to me but all the fleet is good.
“It’s great to race against such good competition.”
No one has been able to take a stranglehold in the RS:X Girls fleet and for the third consecutive day there is a new leader in the form of China’s Lu Yunxiu.
Yunxiu has only finished out of the top five once and a 3-2-2 brought her to the top of the pack on 24 points. Overnight leader Marta Maggetti (ITA) is now two points behind with Race 7 winner Sara Wennekes (NED) upgrading to third place overall.
The day’s race wins went to Wennekes, Saskia Sills (GBR) who is sixth and Marion Lepert (USA) who is fourth. The top six have all shared the race wins over nine races making for an exciting finish.
France’s Lucas Rual and Emile Amoros put their OCS from the previous day behind them and picked up three top four finishes. Their lead over Argentina’s Klaus Lange and Ignacio Varisco now stands at 17 points whilst Markus Somerville and Jack Simpson (NZL) are two points behind the Argentineans.
The Nations Trophy counts seven races and the pursuit is on to take the coveted title. The Italian team are on top with 195 points, the Spaniards are second on 192 points and whilst the Kiwi team are third on 190 points.
Racing resumes across the eight classes on 18 July at 12:00 local time.