Photos: Matiaz Capizzano

Kiwis ahead

Light conditions continue at the 470 Worlds in Argentina

Tuesday February 23rd 2016, Author: James Boyd, Location: Argentina

Another light start to the day, with 2 knots the only breeze sniffing around the race track at the scheduled start time of 1400 hours saw postponements ashore and teams relaxing around the venue, generally chilling in this very beautiful Argentine location at Club Nautico San Isidro.

Patience from the Race Committee and teams, as everyone waited for an opening in the weather, eventually paid at around 1745 hours, when racing got underway in an 8-9 knot easterly breeze, increasing to 10-11 knots, with pumping allowed.

Again the weather and race track made sure there was no margin for errors, with the tables turned in the 470 Men as the winners of both races yesterday, Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Wilcox (NZL), took a scoring penalty for being OCS. Defending World Champions and world #1 pair, Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS), found themselves in the same position yesterday, but no mishap today as they picked up their game to claim the lead in the day’s only race.

Control at the front of the 470 Women race changed mark by mark, until the Dutch pair of Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes van Veen found a speed advantage, and made a clear call to claim and hold the lead from the downwind gate to the finish. They now lead a three-way tiebreak.

470 Men

Despite a UFD penalty score, Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Wilcox hold firm and will be wearing the yellow leader’s bibs on race day 3, as they discard their race 3 result.

“We ended up starting at the committee end of the line, and unfortunately were over,” said Wilcox. “We felt like we sailed a good race, which was a positive, so hopefully we can just take forward the positives into tomorrow. Round the race course we were sailing really well, so are happy with what we did on the water.”

After a long day, Mat Belcher/Will Ryan have redeemed yesterday’s performance by making it a clean win today, and leaping up the leaderboard from 33rd to 11th.

“We managed to get off the line well and sail our own race,” sail Belcher. “We were really happy with our performance and are now slowly trying to crawl our way back up to the top. It is really tight racing so it will be a long week for all,”

An upgrade from fifth going into the day to second at the end for Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) after a second place result. Dahlberg is about to compete at his third Olympics, although it will be a first time appearance for crew Bergstrom, the 2011 470 Junior World Champion.

“It was a long day with a lot of waiting, so you knew in the end there was going to be a race, so you had to be on it, and ready to go. We feel confident with our speed and feel confident with our sailing, and we enjoy it here,” said Dahlberg. “It’s challenging, but it’s a bit like sailing on a big lake with current.”

Crossing race 3 in third pushes Germany’s Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanski up to 12th overall.

Early days, but South Africa’s Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson mark their best ever opener to a 470 Championship, having steamed up to the top three from a solid 3,16, 6 scoreline. However, with just three races down, the recently crowned 470 African Champions are understandably cautious.

“It feels nice to be up there with the top guys and playing their game,” smiled Jim. “The three races have been fantastic and we just need to keep the momentum going and keep building on what we have. We seem to have great speed and are making good calls,” he added referring to their tactics around the track.

“Its early days, so we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” chipped in Hudson. “This is the first time in six years we have ever had a brand new boat and we spent ten days preparing it before the Worlds. We definitely have an extra shade of speed that we haven’t had before, which is extremely helpful at a venue like this.”

Climbs for some, drops for others, including Croatia’s world #2 team of Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic, who fall four places after a 20th place today. Fantela/Marenic were the last to win a 470 Worlds before Mat Belcher started his dominance in 2010, which has seen the Australian win every 470 Worlds since. The Croatians almost overhauled the Aussies at the 2015 470 Worlds, but couldn’t catch them in the medal race. Here though, the challenges of the race course are likely to leave the doors to the podium wide open to many teams right to the end.

“We had quite a good start, but we couldn’t get to the right side where we wanted, so we ended up on the left. We managed to catch quite a few boats, and it was quite a horse race on the reach, so it was hard but we gained a few points and are happy with that,” Marenic said about their day.

“It would be good to have a change at the top,” reflected Marenic in respect of Belcher/Ryan’s dominance, “but it is not just up to us. This regatta will be high scoring and we have only had three races. It is going to be really, really open, and despite their [the Australians’] bad day yesterday, they have every chance to do well.”

Results (top 10)

1. Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox (NZL 2) - 2 pts
2. Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergström (SWE 349) - 6 pts
3. Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson (RSA 1) - 9 pts
4. Onán Barreiros Rodríguez/Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP 9) - 9 pts
5. Gabrio Zandona/Andrea Trani (ITA 2) - 10 pts
6. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO 83) - 11 pts
7. Sofian Bouvet/Jérémie Mion (FRA 27) - 12 pts
8. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE 1) - 15 pts
9. Geison Mendes/Gustavo Canal Thiesen (BRA 1) - 17 pts
10. Pierre Leboucher/Vincent Garos (FRA 44) - 21 pts

470 Women

Three teams on an equal 5 point scorecard sit at the top of the 470 Women leaderboard, with Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes van Veen aheda of Sydney Bolger/Carly Shevitz (USA) and Annie Haegar/Briana Provancha (USA).

When the time came, the Dutch pair of Kyranakou/van Veen put their foot on the pedal with some impressive downwind speed, to take the lead at the first downwind gate to the finish.

“It was a difficult day for everyone and a lot of current,” commented Kyranakou on the conditions. “It was not something extreme today, just for the first time we took a good start and then we just did what the coach taught us to do. You know it was just normal, it was not something spectacular. It was a big step for us to have a good start, as yesterday we were battling a lot to keep up in the race. There’s a long way to go and we will just keep going.”

“It was challenging,” commented Shevitz on their 4th place result. “We were happy, we had pretty good speed around the course and the Oscar flag saved us as we were able to be extra kinetic when we weren’t happy with our position and really getting up and away from a lot of boats. Getting to the corner was key for us at the top of the course.”

Defending World Champions Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar have clambered up to 6th overall, from their second place.

“It was a really nice to sail this race today,” commented the ever determined Vadlau. “It was kind of  normal wind, really light, but not really, really light. The crews could stay a little on the trapeze and for us it is much better. When it is really, really light we have some problems, but now we are happy.

“It is tough here and hot and we have to stay focused all the time,” she continued referring to the light wind conditions that tests the minds of all teams. “I didn’t think we would race today, so we were pretty happy when the wind came through. The Race Committee did a really good job and congratulations to them – it was good.”

Defending her World title is not going to be easy, as Vadlau acknowledged, “It is really, really easy to muck it up here. You know me, I always want to win. There are lots of good teams and it is really hard to stay consistent. For us it is normally our strength to stay consistent, but even for us it is hard. We will see.”

Catapulting up the leaderboard go Spain's Sofia Toro/Nora Brugman, who finished 3rd and climb from 30th to 11th.

Results (top 10)

1. Afrodite Zegers-Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED 216) - 5 pts
2. Sydney Bolger/Carly Shevitz (USA 88) - 5 pts
3. Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha  (USA 1712) - 5 pts
4. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA 9) - 6 pts
5. Xiaoli Wang/Lizhu Huang (CHN 1221) - 6 pts
6. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT 431) - 9 pts
7. Bàrbara Cornudella Ravetllat/Sara López Ravetllat (ESP 14) - 11 pts
8. Linda Fahrni/Maja Siegenthaler (SUI 5) - 12 pts
9. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA 177) - 14 pts
10. Annika Bochmann/Marlene Steinherr (GER 72) - 17 pts


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