Consistency pays for Martinez and Pacheco

Photos: Antoine Beysens
Commanding lead for Spanish duo at the Nacra 17 Europeans
On the strength of an exceptional run of three second places today in a challenging, shifty Tramontane WNW’ly which peaked at a stamina sapping 26kts, Spain’s Iker Martinez and Tara Pacheco lead the Nacra17 European Championships into the final day. In terms of sheer consistency double Olympic 49er medallist Martinez and Pachecho were on a different level, strong enough in their boat handling to capitalise on their excellent tactical choices over the three races which were contested in La Grande Motte’s gusty, cross offshore breeze which varied in strength and brought regular shifts in direction. Their six points tally from the only three Finals races to have been completed was head and shoulders above any of their rivals. Until now it looked like France’s world champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou were on target to add the European title to their World Champions title but after winning the first race comfortably, their second was more ragged. They lead to the first windward mark but then ended up on the wrong side of the sequence of big shifts and dropped to fifth at the second windward mark, finishing eighth. But it was only 400 metres from the finish line of the very breezy third race of the day when Besson and Riou’s European title challenge faltered. Lying fourth they capsized within sight of the line and struggled to get across the line in 27th place. With only three Finals races sailed – and hence no Finals discard or chance of a discard - their error proves expensive. It was another windy day in La Grande Motte, one which was again punctuated by long periods waiting. For the gold fleet there was a hold ashore into the evening to see if the breeze would abate enough for another Finals race. It proved to be in vain