Delta Lloyd Regatta sets sail
Competitors at the 2014 Delta Lloyd Regatta are very happy that summer has arrived in Medemblik in time for the regatta, in contrast to last year's cold and wintry conditions. Today the 350 sailors from 49 nations enjoyed some close, tactical racing in light to moderate winds and very warm temperatures.
Racing started on time at 11.00 in 9-11 knots from the southwest and slightly overcast skies, and later rose to around 15 knots, though there were some significant wind shifts through the day, that mixed up some fleets and delayed others.
In general, the favourites found there way to the front, though there were a few surprise performances through the day. In the Finn Philip Kasueske (GER) posted a perfect day with two bullets, as did Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens (NED) in the 470 women.
The Polish sailors dominated the RS:X events with Pawel Tarnowski (POL) winning two races in the RS:X Men with Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) winning the third, and Maja Dziarnowska (POL) leading a Polish top three in the women's fleet.
In other fleets there was some very tight racing with the honours split between the sailors. But the message from the returning sailors was always the same: this year is a lot nicer than last year.
The last fleets came ashore just after 16.00, completing the full programme on the first day of the regatta.
As expected, French sailors dominate the top of the fleet, however without winning a race. The race wins went to Renne Groenveld and Steven Krol (NED), Lucy Macgregor and Andrew Walsh (GBR) and Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS).
The top ranked sailors here, Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond (GBR) had an up and down day to end up 16th overall. Saxton said, “Today didn't quite go to plan, I don't think we've completely thrown it away, but almost. We've left ourselves a bit of work to do, so we need to head out there for the rest of the week and try and make up some points. We had an all-right first race and made it a counter and then the second two just slipped away from us. Today we were quite quick, it was all about decision making.”
After the first two races Ingrid Petitjean Backes and Olivier Backes (FRA) were leading overall. Relative newcomers to the class, Olivier Backes said “It was good racing. It's the first regatta of the season when we have had a bit lighter wind. And we like this. We haven't trained too much in the strong wind. It was a nice shifty wind today so was good tactically. We did two good first races, and the last one we thought we were over the line at the start so came back round. We only started in January this year and are making good progress. It is just the beginning and we are really enjoying it.”
After three races, Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) are on equal points with Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) with Macgregor and Walsh in third.
In the Finn class, Philip Kasueske (GER) was the surprise winner of both races. He described his day. “We had pretty shifty conditions and the wind was quite unstable. In the first race I was pretty lucky. Jake Lilley (AUS) was leading and got a flag on the first downwind which put me into first. Just before the gate, Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) attacked but he couldn't get past. On the second upwind I just stayed on the right shifts and kept the lead and then just defended on the final downwind.”
“In the second race I got a really lucky wind shift on the first upwind of about 10 degrees. It went to the left and I was furthest left, and also had some more wind. I then had such a big lead, I only had to defend for the rest of the race. We are just 14 sailors, but there are some good ones out there so it feels very nice to win both races.”
After two races Kasueske leads from event favourite Postma and Hein van Egmond (NED). Postma said, “I need to work on my speed in less windy conditions. I would like to win here in Medemblik. I never did before, but a fifth and a second is a good start. I was leading in both races but lost speed. I have to tune some things again. This week there won’t be much wind, so it will be a good week of practice.’’
The men's 470 fleet had some very tight racing with Giulio Desiderato and Andrea Trani (ITA) leading overall after winning the first race and following that with fourth in the second race. Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) won the second race to end the day in second while Balder Tobiasen and Magnus Jung Johansen (DEN) are third overall.
Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens (NED) also surprised themselves with a double win in the 470 women, while Afrodite Kyranakou and Anneloes van Veen (NED) placed second in both races.
Broekhuizen and Jongens have been sailing together for just a year. Broekhuizen, a former Nacra sailor, couldn’t sail for almost a half year in 2013. She had to recover from a hernia. “Of course it’s great to win two races at the Delta Lloyd Regatta, but we are still in a learning process. Our main goal is to show the Dutch Federation that we are potential medal winners at the Olympics in Rio 2016. We didn’t start in Medemblik with the idea we wanted to win. After the first day we’re very happy with the results, but it’s only a start.’’
Just like Broekhuizen and Jongens the other Dutch pair Kyranakou and Van Veen want to compete at the Olympics in two years time. “The competition is good,” Broekhuizen says. “We are training a lot together, helping each other. Both teams still have a long way to go.’’
After the first day, Broekhuizen and Jongens lead from Kyranakou and Van Veen, with Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) in third.
Delta Lloyd Regatta 2014 for Olympic Classes
The 49er fleet produced a very mixed bag of results with some big shifts on the course area. After three races Erik Heil and Thomas Plossell (GER) have a eight point advantage over Frederico Alonso and Arturo Alonso (ESP), while World No. 1, Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang (DEN) are in third. Race wins went to fourth placed Dylan Fletcher and Stuart Bithell (GBR), Heil and Plossell, and Warrer and Lang.
Nicholas Heiner (NED) finished the day on top of the 43 boat Laser fleet after a second and a first. He is followed by no less than three Kiwis. Sam Meech (NZL) won the first race of the day and then placed seventh to finish the day in second, with Mike Bullot (NZL) in third.
Heiner said, “With a first and second places you can’t almost do better. So this is very good start. My preparation was different this time. In the last months I tested a lot of material, sails, mast, that sort of thing. This morning I found out I took the wrong sail with me, an old one from last year. A stupid mistake, but luckily one without consequences.”
Meech commented on the difference from last year. “I was here last year. It was terrible. Freezing cold. This year is a lot better so far but I think there is rain on the way.”
On the racing, he said, “I had a fantastic first race. I got away at the start, managed to stay in front at the top mark and had a good first downwind. It was simple after that covering the fleet. The second race was a little more difficult. I got stuck on the left but managed to get back into it. But it was really good racing. It was a little bit shifty but nothing crazy.”
Alicia Cebrian Martinez de Lagos (ESP) leads the 26 boat Laser Radial fleet after posting a 3, 2 today. She ends the day just ahead of the race winners. In second place overall, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) won the second race, while Evi van Acker (BEL) won the opening race to end the day in third.
Pawel Tarnowski (POL) took two bullets to lead Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) and Louis Giard (FRA). Miarczynski won the third and final race of the day.
The Polish sailors fill the top three places in the RS:X Women's fleet with Maja Dziarnowska (POL) winning two races to lead Zofia Klepacka (POL) and Malgorzata Bialecka (POL). Farrah Hall (USA) managed to break the Polish dominance in the third race ton win and sit in fourth overall.
Colin Harrison, Jon Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) lead the Sonar fleet with a 3, 2 with Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) in second on equal points. Jens Kroker, Robert Prems and Siggy Marinka (GER) are in third after winning the second
Delta Lloyd Regatta 2014 for Olympic Classes race, while World No. 1 team Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR) won the opening race and are in fourth.
Though the Skud 18 is the smallest fleet in Medemblik with just six entries, it still contains quality sailors with Paralympic bronze medalists Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) winning the opening race and holding the overall lead from Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA). Vera Voorback and Jan Rein van Essenveld (NED) won the second race to sit in third overnight.
The British sailors are dominating the 2.4 mR class with a race win each to Helena Lucas (GBR) and Megan Pascoe (GBR). Kevin Cantin (FRA) sits in third with a 4, 2.
Racing continues Wednesday at the slightly earlier time of 10.00.