South Africans move into pole
The 470 Men got underway first just before 1600, followed by the 470 Women. The original schedule of three races was scuppered by the earlier postponement ashore but ultimately two races were completed for the 470 Men and one for the 470 Women.
Five races down in the 470 Men, puts the fleet at the halfway stage of the Championship opening series of ten races.
Watching the race unfold is intriguing, as the sailors analyse each section of the race track, try to anticipate how a threat can be dealt with, how they can catch the boat in front and work through the fleet. Perfecting that today with a superb tactical move were South Africa’s Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson. They executed a text book gybe set to pass Germany’s Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanksi and win race 5, building on their 11th place in the day’s first race. With it, they jump to first overall on tiebreak with Spain’s Onan Barreiros/Juan Curbelo. Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) in third.
In the 470 Women, defending World Champions Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) pulled their first win of the Championship out of the bag in race 4 and move up to second overall. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA), who won the preceding South Americans, pushed the Austrians hard, but had to settle for second place, although still move up to first, carrying a narrow 2 point advantage. Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes van Veen (NED) are in third on tiebreak with the French.
The Race Committee has done a brilliant job, making the call to race to optimise weather conditions and a race track as clear as possible of the floating camelote plants which have washed down the Parana River. Add to the mix, the challenge of a racing area which is incredibly hard to read, as the silt turns it murky brown and incredibly difficult to pinpoint surface weather patterns.
A win at a World Championship is a pretty special achievement, and even more so for the recently crowned 470 African Champions, Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson (RSA), as it marks their first ever World’s race win. The pair boost their profile to first overall, from sixth going into the day.
“It is a great feeling to actually have a race win at a World Championships, really amazing,” said Jim.
“We seem to have a bit of pace but you know it was really tough to make any good moves in the fleet, because the wind was all over the show. It was interesting, as we bailed out of situations when we were deep.”
The current made the racing extremely difficult, as Hudson explained, “It is really complicated conditions, really tricky and it is very chaotic as well, so you have to keep looking for the next opportunity and stay alive. As Asenathi said, a couple of times we were in trouble and we managed to find our way back into the race in both cases. We are very happy and quite frankly we would have been happy with second in that race, because we are just trying to get good scores on the board. In this place, a good score is most probably anything inside the top 15. We managed to get a gybe set on Ferdi [GER10] which is a very special feeling to win a race at a World Championship. We are delighted.”
Hudson/Jim have come a long way in pursuit of flying the flag for sailing in South Africa.
Looking ahead to the top ten medal race, Hudson continued, “We have quite a bit to go before the weekend. We are just trying to keep going one race at a time and hope to be here on Saturday to contest the Medal Race. That would be a dream.”
Onan Barreiros/Juan Curbelo (ESP) delivered a solid 4, 20, and with their 20th place discarded are critically the only team in the 470 Men fleet counting an all top 10 scoreline. They will just be waiting for their moment to pounce.
Holding firm in third are Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE), with the defending World Champions Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) hunting down the top three places, just 4 points behind in fourth from their 6,3 scores today.
Panagotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagilais (GRE) took the win in the day’s opening race, following up with a 16th, to move up to 6th overall.
A day of two halves for Germany’s Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanksi who opened with a 33rd place finish and then engaged in a finely balanced battle with the South Africans, which they lost, finishing race 5 in second place. The pair qualified Germany to the Olympics at the 2015 470 Worlds in Israel, but their place on the Olympic starting line is not yet certain as they have to meet their National Olympic Committee criteria.
Japan’s Kazuto Doi/Kimihiko Imamura were leading for much of race 4, before the depth in performance behind, saw them overtaken and finishing third. Not such a strong showing in race 5, with a 31st place finish.
A notable 4th place result from Chile’s brother partnership of Andres Ducasse/Francisco Ducasse in race 5.
Results (top 10)
1. Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson (RSA 1) - 21 pts
2. Onán Barreiros Rodríguez/Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP 9) - 21 pts
3. Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergström (SWE 349) - 27 pts
4. Mathew Belcher/William Ryan (AUS 11) - 31 pts
5. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO 83) - 31 pts
6. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE 1) - 32 pts
7. Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox (NZL 2) - 33 pts
8. Gabrio Zandona/Andrea Trani (ITA 2) - 35 pts
9. Sofian Bouvet/Jérémie Mion (FRA 27) - 39 pts
10. Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymaski (GER 10) - 43 pts
Back to back World Champions in 2014 and 2015, Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) pride themselves on their consistency, but recognized yesterday they hadn’t quite found their mojo here. Today that changed as they seized their first win of the Championship and move on up to second overall.
Growing familiarity with the conditions contributed to their win, as Vadlau explained, “Our start to the Championship was pretty tough,with really light wind and hot conditions, but we are getting more and more use to this area and are trying to figure out how it works. Today we got it right!”
“It is difficult,” added Ogar. “But this is really good training before Rio, as Rio is also quite a difficult venue, with a lot of things going on, like here. You have to be the smartest one and we are getting better every day, its nice.”
Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA), who won the preceding South Americans, pushed the Austrian hard, but had to settle for second place, but still leap up to first, holding a 2 point advantage over the Austrians. Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes van Veen (NED) are in third on tiebreak with the French.
There is no let-up in the neck and next battle for national selection to Rio between the USA’s Annie Haegar/Briana Provancha and Sydney Bolger/Carly Shevitz, as the pair trade positions. Haegar/Provancha now hold the advantage in fourth overall, with their adversaries 4 points behind in fifth.
The 2012 Olympic Gold medallists Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie are the proud owners of four World Championship medals, one gold, two silver and one bronze, so well used to being at the front of the fleet. Their start to the Championship has been slower than usual over the past two days, but today they found their groove around the track, finishing in third and move up into the top ten, in ninth.
The battle for national selection to the Rio 2016 Olympics is unrelenting, and for the six Spanish teams competing here, the decision will be made based on the best combination of results from the 2016 470 Worlds in Argentina and 2016 470 Europeans in Mallorca, Spain.
From a ranking perspective, the world #11 pair Marina Gallego/Fatima Reyes should be sitting pretty out front, but so far it is the world #23 pair of Barbara Cornudella/Sara Lopez who are showing the best form in tenth overall.
Gallego/Reyes have finished mainly mid-fleet so far, and there is no doubt the racing conditions here are tough to master.
“The physicality of racing here and ability to pump takes its toll," explained Reyes. “I like the hardness of pumping conditions. I feel more the motivation to make the boat go faster than the fatigue. Here, in Argentina the recovery between races is not easy. We are having very warm days and it´s easy to end dehydrated.”
The Race Committee called off any more racing, as the increasing current made starting difficult and it would be impossible to finish a race in the time limit, leaving the fleet to head ashore with just one result added to their scoresheet.
Results (top 10)
1. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA 9) - 8 pts
2. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT 431) - 10 pts
3. Afrodite Zegers-Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED 216) - 10 pts
4. Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA 1712) - 12 pts
5. Sydney Bolger/Carly Shevitz (USA 88) - 16 pts
6. Xiaoli Wang/Lizhu Huang (CHN 1221) - 18 pts
7. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA 177) - 18 pts
8. Linda Fahrni/Maja Siegenthaler (SUI 5) - 21 pts
9. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL 75) - 22 pts
10. Bàrbara Cornudella Ravetllat/Sara López Ravetllat (ESP 14) - 24 pts
Tomorrow, Thursday, the breeze is set to take a different turn, with around 13 knots at 1000 hours. Racing is scheduled to start at 1000 hours, with three races for each fleet. 470 Women will race first followed by 470 Men.