Gold for Fletcher and Sign
On the fourth and penultimate day at the Delta Lloyd Regatta the schedules took a battering with very light wind and passing rain clouds causing all starts to be postponed from around 11.00 onwards. Only the 49ers, Skud and Sonar classes got in a single race in the morning before all fleets were sent ashore to wait until the wind returned. Postponement followed postponement, with eventually the 49ers called off for the day so they could prepare for their medal race at 18.00. The Nacras were sent out early afternoon, and then the Lasers for a second time, but to no avail and these classes were later abandoned for the day, as well as the two 470 classes, the Kites and the Moths.
As the evening approached, finally the skies cleared and a stable wind was recorded on the course areas and the Finn, the RS:X and the Paralympic classes were sent out for starts at 18.00. Against all the odd the wind increased to 9-10 knots by start time and was near perfect for racing, albeit late in the day.
Apart from the 49er, all the other Olympic classes had no racing and the results from Thursday stood to decide who went into the medal race.
Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) made sure of the 49er gold medal, while Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) won the Finn race to take the lead for the first time this week. Megan Pascoe (GBR) won her third race in a row in the 2.4 mR to build a sizeable lead, Alexandra Rickham and Niki Burrell (GBR) continue the lead in the Skud, as do Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) in the Sonar.
The RS:X fleets managed two races, with Pawel Tarnowski (POL) tied at the top of the men's with Louis Giard (FRA), and Zofia Klepacka (POL) extending her lead in the women's fleet.
The Delta Lloyd Regatta closes on Saturday with the rest of the medal races for the Olympic classes, the final races for the Paralympic classes, the Kites and the Moths.
With only one race possible before the wind died, it proved a crucial race with Mads Stephenson Lübeck and Christian Stephenson Lübeck (DEN) leading round for the race win to take a last minute place in the medal race. A second for Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) moved them into the overall lead. After being send ashore when the wind died, further racing was cancelled for the day.
The 49er medal races took the form of three short theatre style races just off the harbour mouth. A second for Fletcher and Sign in the first race extended their lead to 11 points, while John Pink and Stuart Bithell (GBR) moved up to second. A win for Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang (DEN) moved them into fourth.
Pink and Bithell led the second race with Fletcher and Sign at the back round the first mark. Warrer and Lang rounded second. Pink and Bithell extended away for a big win, with Warrer and Lang crossing in second and Fredericio Alsono and Arturo Alonso (ESP) in third.
With third placed Pavle Kostov and Peter Cupac (CRO) back in ninth it meant the gold was heading to Great Britain. Warrer and Lang could still steal bronze with another good race. The Croatian team finally had a good first beat in the third race to round ahead of the other front runners. Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) ran away with the race win, with Deigo Botin and Pablo Turrado (ESP) in second, while Kostov and Cupac crossed in third to save the bronze.
Both the British sailors were near the back, but had done enough. Fletcher and Sign took gold while Pink and Bithell took the silver. Fletcher said, “We're pretty chuffed. We came here with a lot of goals that we're doing in the background but to come away with the win is really good. It was an intense day today. It's our first ever win here.”
On managing the short races. “I think the hardest thing is that it was really patchy. We were never able to pick which side of the beat was going to pay on the tactical side pre-start. It was more about getting off the line and getting in the first cross on the pack. But we actually never managed that. We were always fighting in the middle of the pack.”
“Generally the theatre style is one of our strengths. But the Polish crashed into us on the first start, and in the last race, and did turns, but we lost places in the process. But that is the nature of the racing. Everyone's really hyped up.”
Pink said of his day, “We weren't expecting such a nice breeze. We attacked the races and we've been working on the medal races a bit. We got some good starts, which was all important in that stuff. We were away and gone in both the first two races, but in the first we had a tack in at the windward mark that we didn't quite make. We had to do spins. But we are happy to medal here. It's the first medal for us as a team. It's been a good week.”
The Nacra fleet was sent out only to wait in the water with no races completed. Saturday's medal race looks like turning into a three way battle between Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) and Darren Bundocck and Nina Curtis (AUS). The two French teams are all but guaranteed a medal, while Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond have an outside chance of claiming bronze but are 15 points adrift of the Australians and need a lot of other things to fall into place to make that possible.
Riou said, “We are in first position for the medal race but the other French boat is three points behind us and the Australians are 10 points behind us, so tomorrow maybe there will be a little bit of a match race to control them and we will do the best we can and we hope it will be good.”
Cammas said, “Today there was no wind. We started one race but it was cancelled. It's a pity, but I think these conditions were a bit tough so it was impossible to do a race. Tomorrow I think there will be a match race with three boats for the podium. I think it will be a good fight, which is nice.”
With no racing possible for the women's 470 fleet, Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens (NED) will go into the medal race with an eight point lead from Afrodite Kyranakou and Anneloes van Veen (NED), who are just three points ahead of Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI). The points are so close in this fleet that anyone in the top 10 can win a medal with the tenth place boat only 15 points adrift of bronze.
The picture is similar in the men's 470 fleet with only six points separating the top six boats and any boat up to ninth theoretically capable of winning a medal. Onan Barreiros Rodriguez and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) have a five pint lead over Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) who are on equal points with Giulio Desiderato and Andrea Trani (ITA). There is everything still to play for in the medal race.
Pawel Tarnowski (POL) had the best day to take the overall lead back. “I got a first and a second so really happy with that. It will be really close in the top five now, so I think these races will be important when it comes to the medal race. I have good hope for tomorrow. I will get some sleep and do my best.”
“In the middle of the day everybody got really tired. We thought there would be nothing more. In the morning we only had one abandoned race. Luckily we had some breeze late in the evening, the wind was the best we had all day, up to 10 knots and the races were very hard for us, real endurance sailing. I am quite heavy at 80 kg, which is heavy for the fleet so when I want to win in those conditions I really have to work hard.”
Louis Giard (FRA), is on equal points with the Pole. “It was really close. It was a long day waiting since 9.00 this morning but finally we had some conditions to race. We did two races and I got a third and a fifth, so I think there will be some fight in the medal race tomorrow.”
Prrzemyslaw Miarcynski (POL) is back into third, but the next three boards are within seven points, so the medal race should be quite exciting for them.
Zofia Klepacka (POL) picked up a 2, 1 to extend her lead to 10 points. Malgorzata Bialecka (POL) moves up to second, while Kamila Smektala (POL), who won the first race is in third, but on equal points with Lilian de Geus (NED). The points are not quiet as close as the men's fleet but there are two more sailors within reach of the lower medals.
The Finns got just one race in with Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) taking the lead for the first time this week after winning his third race. He overtakes Phillipe Kasueske (GER) who crossed in second, while Jake Lilley (AUS) placed third and sits six points behind the German going into the medal race.
The Laser fleet were sent out twice and both times, came in with no racing held. Nicholas Heiner (NED) holds a seven point lead over Sam Meech (NZL), while Andy Malony (NZL) remains in third, though on equal points with Matthew Wearn (AUS) and Thomas Saunders (NZL). Ironically, Heiner is being coached by a Kiwi, Dan Slater (NZL).
Slater said of Heiner's approach to the medal race, “There are eight points in it, and then there's a big gap after that, so all the stars have to align for the other guys to beat Nick. So he really just has to stay in front of Sam and make sure he doesn't sail himself out of the race. He still has to get a good clean start and be the right side of the course and if he gets a chance to beat Sam that's great, but he's still eight points behind, so that's four places he has to beat him by. He just has to stay with Sam, that's all.”
Meech said, “Today was pretty ridiculously long. We were down here at 9.00 and it looked quite promising when we first went out. But it died off pretty quickly, so we waited around on shore for a couple of hours and went out and tried again, but the wind shut down as soon as we got out there. And then we sheltered under the sails when the rain came. It was all right, just a long day.”
On tomorrow, “I'll have to have a look at the points. I don't really look at the points during the regatta, it normally changes a lot on the last day. I think there's a bit of a gap to Nick and quite close behind me so we see how it goes.”
The Laser Radials had a similar day, but again no racing. However the points are much closer going into Saturday's medal race. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) leads Alicia Cebrian Martinez de Lagos (ESP) by four points and Evi van Acker (BEL) by just seven. Another five boats can win a medal.
Last year's bronze medalists here, John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) took their first race win of the week to move into third overall, while Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) still lead from Colin Harrison, Jon Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS).
When they returned to the water at 18.00, Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) took the race win to lead by seven points, while John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) ended their best day this week with a second to move up to second overall. Colin Harrison, Jon Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) drop to third.
The Skuds got in one race before the the wind disappeared. Alexandra Rickham and Niki Burrell (GBR) took control of the race with a fourth win while Thursday's top crew of Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA) could only finish third. Second place went to Sergi Roig Alzamora and Violeta del Reino (ESP). The second race of the day at 18.00 was won by Vera Voorbach and Jan Rein van Essenveld (NED), though the overall lead remained unchanged.
Megan Pascoe (GBR) won her fifth race out of seven and is starting to run away with the lead. Matt Bugg (AUS) placed second to move up to second while a tenth for Helena Luca (GBR) dropped her to third.
There was no racing was held for either the Kites of the Moths as they were cancelled earlier in the day
Racing at the Delta Lloyd Regatta concludes Saturday with the final fleet races and the medal races for the top 10 in each class. The first fleet races start from 9.30, while the medal races start with the RS:X men at 11.00.