Robert Scheidt, Marit Bouwmeester, Giles Scott, Pieter-jan Postma and Vasilij Zbogar talk about the new ISAF racing format that was implemented at 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup events:
Posted on 06 May 2013 by Valencia Sailing
Robert Scheidt, Marit Bouwmeester, Giles Scott, Pieter-jan Postma and Vasilij Zbogar talk about the new ISAF racing format that was implemented at 2013 ISAF Sailing World Cup events:
Posted on 25 April 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères] Competition at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères heated up on the fourth day as the Final Series came to the midway point.
The big winds that were forecast never truly came true as a shifty 14-15 knot breeze prevailed across the six race courses that host ten Olympic and two Paralympic events.
Giles Scott (GBR) swooped into the Finn lead after an excellent day on the water that included a bullet and a second. After 12 sailors were black flagged in Race 5, including early front runners Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Vasilij Zbogar (SLO), Scott benefited largely to open up a five point advantage over compatriot Andrew Mills (GBR).
“A first and a second – I couldn’t really ask for much more than that,” said Scott. “There were a few of the guys who’d been up there all week got a black flag in that second race as well, which is helping us out a little bit but I’d imagine it’s still pretty tight up at the top.”
Scott very rarely lets an advantage slip shown by taking gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma and he remains on course to make it a World Cup double, “The approach is much the same really,” he added, “just trying to be consistently up at the top. There’s still the double Medal Races to go, as well as two more gold fleet races before that, so we’ll see. I’ll just try and take it steady like I did today.”
Postma had led overnight but slipped down to fourth overall after being black flagged and is ten points behind Scott at the top, “Giles is sailing steady and fast,” said Postma. “Downwind he has a got an edge. There were three OCS in the top five so that has influence. It’s still all close but [Andrew] Mills and Giles have an edge now with a five point lead or so and it’s all to play for tomorrow.”
The Dutchman finished behind Scott in Palma and knows where he has to improve to beat the Brit, “I’ve struggled with my technique and my speed is a little bit off. I’m happy with my strategy and starts but I feel it’s not come together yet. Later on in the season if it comes together with the starts and the strategy then I’ll be really happy.”
Andrew Mills (GBR) won the days other race to climb to second overall whilst New Zealand’s Josh Junior (NZL) rounds off the top three.
Across the Nacra 17 fleet there is a blend of female and male helms with sailors finding out what works best for them. A formula that is working well is Switzerland’s male helm, Matias Buhler and female crew Nathalie Brugger who picked up two seconds and a third to move into the lead. On what works best Brugger said, “The Dutch would say its girls crewing and maybe I understand why they thought that because it’s quite physical but a boy being a skipper is really good for the start because they are quite aggressive.
“It’s hard to say which balance is right but I am happy with the boy skippering as he’s doing an awesome job on the starts.”
Buhler and Brugger bring very little multihull experience into their Nacra 17 campaign as Buhler previously campaigned in the Men’s 470 and Brugger sailed Laser Radial at Beijing 2008 and London 2012. Nonetheless they are working well and find themselves at the top, “For us it’s a bit surprising as it’s only our second regatta in this boat and we’ve both sailed Olympic boats before but not really catamaran experience and we’re happy to be here.
“We just want to learn as much as we can in this boat and we still have to try things. If we get a podium we are happy but it was not the goal of this regatta.”
Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) are second in the Nacra 17 whilst overnight leaders Tim Shuwalow and Hanna Klinga (SWE) drop to third.
An eighth and a fourth by some team’s standards would be a job well done on the water, but not for Women’s 470 World #1 pair Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) who by their own admission struggled on the water, “Today was so difficult for us,” said Oliveira. “We made some mistakes at the beginning of the first race and it took a long time to get better during the race so we finished eighth and fourth in the second.
“The wind was changing a lot, shifting and different from yesterday. Even if it was the same direction it was changing to the other side so it was a little bit hard to understand how everything was going.”
Oliveira and Barbachan maintained their eight point lead as France’s Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron moved up to second overall and the Brazilians remain focused on the task ahead, “Tomorrow we need two good races and let’s see what happens,” added Oliveira. “We need to think about the two races tomorrow and then we’ll think about the Medal Races.”
In the Men’s 470 Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) made it three wins from four races in the Final Series to open up a nine point lead over Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre (FRA).
Despite only stepping back into the Laser Radial for ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères Marit Bouwmeester (NED) has taken the overall lead after a second and a bullet and is simply enjoying her time back on the water, “I had a really fun battle with Alison [Young] and it was just a lot of fun being out there,” said Bouwmeester. “I’m still a bit wild with everything so I’m just focusing on myself and seeing if I can get back to the level I left at the Games.”
Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) continues to hold off the Brazilian charge in the form of Bruno Fontes and Robert Scheidt in the Laser whilst a bullet for World #1 Laser sailor Tom Burton (AUS) has brought him into contention for the medals.
Louis Giard (FRA) and Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) shared the spoils in the Men’s RS:X with a bullet and a second each. Giard has a two point lead over the Polish London 2012 bronze medallist whilst Spain’s Ivan Pastor is within touching distance in third.
Making it a top day of French RS:X racing was Charline Picon who fended off Bryony Shaw (GBR). Blanca Manchon (ESP) moves into third.
Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook (GBR) backed their double bullets on the third day up with consistent sailing to maintain their lead. However in Race 7 a victory from World #2 pair Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) pulled them to within one point of the Brits.
Very much like the third day Carlos and Anton Paz had two good races at the front of the 49er fleet and one towards the rear. Discarding an 18th and taking a bullet and a third they move to the top of leader board, one point ahead of Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) and four ahead of ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma winners Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER).
Friday 26 April is the penultimate day of racing at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères as sailors fight for the top spots ahead of Saturday’s Medal and Stadium Races.
Posted on 24 April 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères] The mistral at ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères kicked in on the third day of racing in the South of France as the final series got underway, pitting the top sailors against one another.
After two days of tricky breeze a fresh 17-20 knot easterly breeze was welcomed by the sailors as racing ramped up.
Making the most of the conditions in the Nacra 17 was Sweden’s Tim Shuwalow and Hanna Klinga who moved into pole position whilst France’s Audrey Ogereau and Matthieu Vandame were in fine form taking two bullets to progress up the leader board.
Carrying forward a non discardable fifth place from the qualification series the Swedes notched up a third, second and an eighth, discarding the latter, to open up a three point advantage over Switzerland’s Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI).
Shuwalow and Klinga teamed up three months ago and at ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma they finished sixth and Shuwalow is under no illusions that they are the finished product at such an early stage, “We’re still developing and learning a lot each day and have a long way to go yet but it’s proving good so far,” said Shuwalow. “We try and keep it fun because obviously there are stressful moments and that’s the way it always will be but she’s new to the catamarans and enjoying it and I just really love the Nacra 17.”
Two days of final series racing and two Medal Races follow and the Swedes believe a podium could be in sight, “If we continue sailing consistently and up there then we’re in with a chance but there are many good teams and some of them are probably yet to find form this week and it will get tougher as we get towards the end no doubt.”
Whilst the Swedish partnership proved consistent, stealing the day was France’s Ogereau and Vandame as the pair picked up double race wins and an eighth. Carrying a 21st forward they have progressed nicely to eighth overall and just 11 points off the leaders.
“On the two races we won we had good starts and good speed upwind,” said Ogereau. “It was busy on the start line and good starts don’t always get you at the front but in these races we knew that the left was better so we got first.
“In our first win we were 20 metres ahead and a bigger distance of 150 metres in the second so we were happy with our speed in these races.”
Swiss pair of Buhler and Brugger won the first race of the day and posted an impressive third and ninth to sit second whilst rounding off the top three is Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA).
Despite an OCS in the second race of the day Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) have taken the lead in the 49er. Carrying a third place forward they recorded a sixth and a fourth but will have to tread carefully for the remainder of the final series following an OCS.
Making the biggest climb up the leader board is Spain’s Carlos and Anton Paz. The Spanish brothers flew out the traps taking a bullet and a second in the gold fleet before a 13th in the last race of the day. The result moves them from 14th to fifth. “For us our first two races were really good with a first and a second,” said Carlos. “The last one was completely opposite after a change in the wind but overall we’re happy with our day. Our 13th isn’t a bad result for a discard so we will try to push and be in the final eight.”
ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma gold medallists Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) are just one point behind Fletcher and Sign whilst France’s Julien D’ortoli and Noe Delpech sit third.
In the 49erFX Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook (GBR) are coming together nicely after racing with different team-mates at ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma. Dobson finished fifth with Sophie Ainsworth whilst Rook came 22nd with Kate Macgregor. Two race wins in Hyères has moved them into top spot ahead of World #2 Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL), who took the days other race win, and World #1 Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA).
“We’re not really too focussed on the results,” said Dobson, “although you’re a competitive person so they are pretty much always on your mind – even though you say to your coach they’re not.”
With limited skiff racing experience the British team are mixing the 49erFX racers up at the early stages of the quadrennial to find the right formula and Dobson is seeing the progression first hand, “The learning curve is literally vertical, every day is a learning day and that’s what’s making it really rewarding at the moment. You can really see the steps you’re making forward every single day.”
Ivan Pastor (ESP) held onto his lead in the Men’s RS:X but French youngster Louis Giard was the stand out performer on the race track winning the first of the day and coming second in the other. Carrying forward a fourth Giard, who finished third at the 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds, moves up to second overall and was a cheerful sailor after racing, “I was behind the Polish sailor but he was OCS so that was the win for me. This is my first win here and I’m really happy.”
In the Women’s RS:X Charline Picon (FRA) and Bryony Shaw (GBR) hold a joint lead following solid days on the water. Shaw took the first race win whilst ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma victor Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) took the second to move to third overall.
Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) leads Brazil’s Bruno Fontes and Robert Scheidt in the Laser after a race win and a discarded BFD. Australia’s Matt Wearn took the days other bullet but carrying forward a 44th he only moves up to 25th overall.
Holding her Laser Radial advantage on the first day of the final series is Tuula Tenkanen (FIN). A third and a sixth enabled her to maintain her two point advantage over the chasing pack. Taking the day’s race wins was Canada’s Isabella Bertold, who lays fifth overall, and Great Britain’s Alison Young, sitting pretty in fourth.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) were back on top form in the Men’s 470 taking double bullets to jump up two places to second. Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield (GBR) hold the lead by two points but discard a 24th.
Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) remain firmly at the top of the Women’s 470 leader board and have an eight point advantage over Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA).
Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) has taken first overall in the Finn class and is one point ahead of Giles Scott (GBR) and Vasilij Zbogar (SLO).
In the 2.4mR Heiko Kroger (GER) opened up a seven point lead over Megan Pascoe (GBR) and in the Sonar Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg and Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR) and Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) share the lead.
Racing resumes on Thursday 25 April at 11:00 local time
Posted on 23 April 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: Finn Class] Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) was the best Finn sailor on the second day at the ISAF Sailing World Cup in Hyeres and moves into a 10 point lead at the top of the fleet from Giles Scott (GBR) and Pieter-Jan Postma (NED). Race wins went to Oliver Tweddell, Zbogar and Andrew Mills (GBR).
Light winds dogged the regatta for the second day running. Though the bulk of the fleets were subject to an early postponement to wait for the wind the Finns started on time at 13.00 in about 6 knots that built slightly during the day, with a light chop and a few knots of current making things tight and tactical. Three races were scheduled to complete the opening qualification series.
The first race of the day again went to yesterday’s race 1 winner, Oliver Tweddell. He said, “I got a great start at the pin end, and headed out to the left hand side where there was more pressure and a nice left shift. I managed to take this all the way to the top and extend on the downwind, but lost a lot to Andrew Mills on the last upwind. It was a nail biting run to the finish, and I just managed to beat him to the line.”
Tweddell crossed the finish line first ahead of Mills, Aleksey Selivanov (RUS), Giles Scott (GBR) and Filippo Baldassari (ITA).
First over the line in race four was the best performer on Monday, Josh Junior (NZL), however he was black flagged at the start, giving the race win to Vasilij Zbogar, with Caleb Paine (USA) in second and Vujasinovic Milan (CRO) in third. Paine followed this up with a fourth in the final race of the day to rise to ninth overall, a great recovery after starting his regatta yesterday with a black flag and a 23rd.
Junior said, “I had a good day today picking up a 9th and 11th plus a black flag. I actually won that race so that was really cool. The wind was light again today, but not so shifty. I have been trying really hard to get good starts. Obviously I fired the trigger a little early today, but these things happen.”
In fact much of the fleet is picking up high scores. Yesterday’s leader Ed Wright (GBR) placed 35th and 24th before finally getting something right to place seventh in the third and last race of the day to just stay inside the top 10. Another of the favourites is London 2012 bronze medalist Jonathan Lobert (FRA), but he is down in 13th after a tough series so far. “It is not easy and very patchy on the water. But some guys managed to be on top many times. Tomorrow the final series starts I will start with a 13th in my pocket, and now I have six races to get back in the game. Everything is still open so we will see at the end of the week.”
Race 5 was won by Andrew Mills (GBR), who had the second best day of any of the sailors. Zbogar completed an excellent day with a second while Berecz Zsombor (HUN) rounded out the top three.
Mills said, “It was a big left hand track all day, which made the race win relatively easy once leading. The hard part was coming off the line in good pressure, which was sometimes more good luck then judgement. It should be interesting tomorrow with good breeze forecast for the next few days.”
On the modified scoring system Tweddell commented, “I think so far up to this point in the regatta the scoring system works out okay, I think a few people will be upset about their points advantages getting cut for the Gold/Silver split, but I guess it depends on what side of it you are. It definitely takes away from the consistent sailor.”
The fleet is now split into gold and silver starts for the three-day, six race final series before the top 10 go into Saturday’s two medal races.
Results after five races
1 SLO 573 Vasilij ZBOGAR 15.00
2 GBR 41 Giles SCOTT 25.00
3 NED 842 Pieter Jan POSTMA 28.00
4 NZL 24 Josh JUNIOR 29.00
5 NZL 16 Andrew MURDOCH 32.00
6 FIN 218 Tapio NIRKKO 37.00
7 GBR 85 Andrew MILLS 38.00
8 AUS 261 Tweddell OLIVER 47.00
9 USA 6 Caleb PAINE 48.00
10 GBR 11 Edward WRIGHT 48.00
Posted on 23 April 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyères] Xu and Bouwmeester last competed at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition where the Chinese sailor sealed gold in the Medal Race by taking the race win ahead of Bouwmeester who settled for silver. Following an extended break the pair are back in action in Hyères and from the off proved they still know their way around a Radial.
As racing got underway early in the afternoon following a morning delay due to light winds the conditions across the six race courses were tricky for the 800 sailors competing.
Xu and Bouwmeester read the scenario differently and held back from their familiar aggressive racing styles and opted for different sides of the course. At the first mark the pair were in the lead as Bouwmeester described, “She banged the right corner and I banged the left corner and we were first and second at the top which was quite funny.”
Croatia’s Tina Mihelic chased down the Chinese and Dutch sailors throughout the race to take the opening bullet. As the winds dropped in the second race Bouwmeester produced a 13th and Xu came down in 30th as Marie Bolou (FRA) took the win to hold a joint lead with the Mihelic. Nonetheless Xu was pleased to be back on the water, “My movement is a bit rusty but I enjoyed the light to medium winds because it wasn’t that physical and allowed my brain to work out the mystery on the water. I tried to have really good starts, call the shifts and make the right tack.”
In the Laser, Robert Scheidt (BRA) joined the fleet for his first 200-point regatta following a victory at the Laser Europa Cup on Lake Garda, Italy in March. The Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004 Olympic Laser medallist started positively and ended the day tied in second overall, “It was a very tough day because the breeze was very flukey and we had big wind shifts all day,” exclaimed Scheidt. “I got a six, one and ten so I’m happy with my day because it’s the first big regatta back in the Laser. It wasn’t a great day, but not a bad one either so I’m pretty happy with that.”
With Scheidt proving he still has what it takes to mix things up he will have his work cut out to catch light wind specialist Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) who took two race wins and the opening day Laser lead, “I knew I had to sail good because I am light and we have stronger winds in the next few days so I did what I could do best,” said Stipanovic. “The first race I didn’t catch the shifts so good but everything was almost perfect after that so for today I’m really happy.”
The Croatian has a perfect scoreline having discarded his eighth in the opening race whilst Bruno Fontes (BRA), Giovanni Coccoluto (ITA), James Espey (IRL) and Scheidt all follow on six points tied for second.
World #1 in the Women’s 470 Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) and World #2 Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) have taken in World Cup regattas in Miami and Palma with consistent results in both events. The Brazilians have won both and the Austrians have missed out on the podium twice, finishing fourth in the USA and Spain.
After the opening day in France Oliveira and Barbachan lead the Austrians by two points and Ogar is happy with the way things have been going despite missed opportunities, “It’s not nice to finish fourth all the time but we leave the medal positions for the Worlds and Europeans,” she said with a smile. “We always say we’ll get the bad luck now and the medals in the future.”
With light winds on the plate today and more of the same predicted on day two Ogar is happy with the way it’s going, “Today was a pretty tricky day with light and shifty winds but we like these conditions and the first two races were really good with a first and second but in the third place we were black flagged but still really good and we’re still improving.”
Tied in third overall in the Women’s 470 on six points are Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) and Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA).
In the Men’s 470 New Zealand’s Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Wilcox recorded two race wins and a fifth to take an early advantage in 63-boat fleet. In split fleets of 32 and 31 the Kiwis enjoyed a successful light wind day in their fleet that included World #1 pair Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) who ended the day down in eight.
Home nation Men’s RS:X favourite Julien Bontemps (FRA) enjoyed the tricky breeze on the opening day to take an early advantage in the 51-boat fleet. A second behind Race 1 winner Piotr Myszka (POL) set him up nicely to for victory in the day’s second race. Myszka was unable to replicate his performance in Race 2 and finished down in 17th but with the discard kicking in he holds the joint lead with Bontemps.
Bryony Shaw (GBR), runner up at ISAF Sailing World Cup Palma, started Hyères off positively with a race win in the sole Women’s RS:X race of the day after a dying afternoon breeze brought racing to a close. French sailors Eugenie Ricard and Charline Picon trail the Brit.
First off the water on the opening day in Hyères was the 68 strong Finn fleet. Australia’s Oliver Tweddell and Great Britain’s Ed Wright hold the joint lead after a race win apiece but less than impressive results in their other races could see them dislodged from the top with Josh Junior posting the most consistent results of 2-7.
Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) picked up two bullets and a second from three 49er races to take an early advantage. They lead compatriots David Evans and Ed Powys (GBR) and Spain’s Federico Alonso and Arturo Alonso who are tied on two points.
Germany’s Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz lead the 49erFX fleet following a consistent display of light wind racing. A race win, second and a third gives them a three point gap over Great Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Mary Rook in second and five point advantage over Frances Peters and Nicola Groves (GBR).
Two races in the Nacra 17 were completed on the opening day as Maxim Semenov and Alena Pankratova (RUS) and Renee Groeneveld and Karel Begemann (NED) took the race wins to share the lead.
In the 2.4mR Megan Pascoe (GBR) and Lasse Klötzing (GER) share the lead and London 2012 Paralympic Games Sonar gold medallists Udo Hessels, Mischa Rossen and Marcel Van de Veen (NED) lead the fleet.
Racing resumes on Tuesday 23 March at 11:00 as the Qualification Series comes to a close ahead of the Final Series on 24 April.
Posted on 23 April 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: Cammas - Groupama] As announced during the conference on 7 December 2012, Franck Cammas is tackling his first international competition, giving shape to the announcement of his bid for Olympic gold.
In the history of Olympic sailing, it’s rather unusual to witness the arrival of a forty-year old rookie. In fact it must be pretty exceptional. However, it’ll take more than this to ruffle Franck Cammas.
Tempted by the Olympic adventure following Groupama 4′s victory in the Volvo Ocean Race, the French skipper quickly set to work to give himself a chance to represent France at the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016.
Having teamed up with the World No.2 in Laser, Sophie de Turckheim, Franck began training at the Ecole Nationale de Voile (National Sailing School) in Quiberon before his one-design Nacra 17 catamaran had even been delivered. Following that up with some sailing around the bay of Quiberon in Brittany then La Grande Motte in southern France, under the leadership of Franck Citeau from the Centre d’Entrainement Méditerranéen (Mediterranean Training Centre), the mixed crew has learnt how to handle a small catamaran, which flies along with its curved daggerboards, that play the role of foils the minute the wind picks up a bit.
Like their French teammates, Franck and Sophie alternate between high-speed tacks and vertiginous bow burying: “As soon as there are quite big seas or chop, it’s hard to keep the boat balanced. That’s how Sophie hurt her back as the boat’s bows ploughed quite violently into a wave a couple of weeks ago”, admitted the Groupama skipper.
Based in Hyères for nearly three weeks, the native of nearby Aix en Provence has been champing at the bit a little as he waits for his crewmate to get back on her feet. “I hope there won’t be too much wind, as she’s still got back trouble. She’s incredibly motivated though and she’s not the kind to complain”, continues Franck.
It has to be said though that this incident, to which sessions with a Physio have added to what is already a busy schedule, will have somewhat slowed the learning curve of this new crew.
No matter though: “We’re here to learn to sail together and discover the Nacra 17. We’re also here to discover our rivals. I’m familiar with some, like Iker Martinez, who recently participated in the Princess Sophia Trophy in Spain. When I look at his result (18th), and take into account the fact that he’s very familiar with the Olympic circuit after securing a gold medal in the 49er, that gives you an idea of the general standard.”
This standard shouldn’t embarrass the French crews though, who managed to show what they were made of with third place for Vaireaux – Audinet and fourth for Besson – Riou, behind two Dutch crews.
It now remains to be seen how this new Groupama crew will fare when racing against the top international crews.
Sophie de Turckheim, 31 years of age
Track record: World number 2 in Laser 2005, 2006 and 2009
Franck Cammas, 40 years of age
Track record: Winner of the Volvo Ocean Race 2012, the Route du Rhum 2010 and the Jules Verne Trophy 2010. World number two in Formula 18 in 2008.
Posted on 09 April 2013 by Valencia Sailing
Update 1: Here’s a very interesting quote from someone that, in his own words, benefited from the new scoring system. Germany’s Toni Wilhelm, fourth in the 2012 Olympics, claimed second place Palma last week and this is what he stated: “I benefited from the new system and managed to claim second in Spain. But I still do not think that it is right to devalue the performance of a whole week. It is not the right system for our sport.”
The Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE has just come to an end and although racing was undeniably exciting and spectacular, the new scoring system that was introduced last January and tested last week makes one wonder what on earth ISAF was thinking about. Criticism was widespread and ranged from the tame to Darren Bundock’s “crap scoring system”.
According to the new system all events have a Qualifying Series, a Final Series and a Medal Stage. At the conclusion of the Qualifying Series boats are ranked, and their place is reflected as their “Carry Forward Race” score. The Carry Forward (C/F) Race is scored as the first race of the Final Series but can be discarded! Regardless of what a sailor might have done in the “qualifying” races, he or she can start from scratch in the “final” series.
Does this make any sense, either from a spectator’s or an athlete’s point of view? Will this increased emphasis on the final stages of an event bring more spectators, TV viewers, advertizers and sponsorship money into sailing? Will it on the other hand alienate sailors?
What will make sailing more popular?
At the end of the day, what really counts is what will make sailing more popular and more successful, what will attract, short-term, more viewers and spectators and, longer-term, more sailors. Similarly to what the America’s Cup organizers tried at the very beginning of the America’s Cup World Series there seems to be a new way of thinking at the highest levels of the sport that a winner-takes-it-all race or day will spark the interest of the masses and draw them to sailing. If that is so, why doesn’t any other sport have anything similar?
Even in sports where one race or game is sufficient to judge in a fair way the best team, soccer for example, the champion had to advance through a number of stages, with the risk of being eliminated at each one. No team ever pops up in the final, wins it and is declared world champion. Sailing has a dependence on weather conditions that makes it impossible to make a fair assessment of a sailor’s skills in one race or even one single day. If the Olympics are about picking the best athletes in the world who should the best sailor be? The one that is consistent through a week of racing or the one that gets lucky in the last two days?
Sailors obviously don’t want the latter and why should they? What is the purpose of the first days other than put a stress on the sailors and their equipment? Thanks to the social networks it was evident that sailors voted with their feet.
Discus Throw – Javelin Throw – Hammer Throw – Shot Put
In these four track & field events there were, respectively, 41, 42, 38 and 37 athletes that took part in the men’s qualification round at the 2012 Olympics in London. Figures for women were quite similar. Each athlete had three attempts and the best twelve advanced to the finals. The results from the qualification rounds didn’t carry over into the final but still, the qualifying stage eliminated between two thirds and three quarters of the participants. As in all throwing events, the 12 finalists had three attempts apiece, then the top eight competitors received three more attempts. The longest single throw during the final won. The exact same system was used for long jump and triple jump.
So, even such niche sports use a conventional and, more importantly, logical and natural scoring system. There is a reason why they call it a qualifier after all. While on the one hand there is a constant effort to make sailing a “normal” sport by, partly, eliminating the jargon and simplifying elaborate rules, on the other, ISAF is trying to make it even harder to understand for someone that doesn’t have have the slightest clue about sailing.
Try explaining to someone that hasn’t watched a sailing race that the first three days of the event don’t really count! Even the language doesn’t make any sense! The “qualifying” series doesn’t really qualify while the “final” series isn’t really final since it is followed by the medal races. Why make things simple when one can make them complicated?
Experimenting at the highest level of the sport
Even if we assume there was an urgent and undeniable need to make such changes in the scoring system, it is difficult to grasp the logic of making them at the highest Olympic level. The results in the World Cup events will determine the Olympic future of most of the sailors and ISAF thinks it’s appropriate to start experimenting in what they tout as prestigious, world-class sailing events! Aren’t there other lower-level events where results aren’t so crucial in order to experiment?
Posted on 06 April 2013 by Valencia Sailing
[Source: Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE] It was interesting to test here a new scoring system and format, and despite mixed opinions, the regatta has deserving winners in all classes and most of the regatta leaders conserved their yellow jersey after their medal races.
Denmark’s Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard had an incredible finish and took three wins out of four Medal Races in the 49erFX.
“We tried to be very relaxed and focussed going into the Medal Races,” said the excitable duo. “Our main decision was to decide whether to go right or left after the start to find a position where we could be alone and able to make our moves freely. It was great fun with this stadium format to have so many tacks and gybes! It was tiring too because we needed to concentrate and anticipate our next move.”
The Danes have dominated for most of the week and have shown they are the top sailors in the developing 49erFX fleet. Their skiff experience over the years together is proving to be the right recipe for success.
After a fantastic week to add the cherry on top of the cake, the pair will be awarded the Absolute Winner trophy which recognises the sailors with the best average score over the regatta. This trophy was won last year by 2.4mR sailor Thierry Schmitter (NED).
Alexandra Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL), never too far behind the Danes, took the last race win to place second. Jena Mai Hansen and Katja Salskov-Iversen (DEN) complete the podium.
Germany’s Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel secured their first major regatta victory in the 49er having picked up their game throughout the week. “We had an average qualification stage and got into the finals in eighth position,” they said. “Our first final day was great with three wins. Today we had another win and top three results only in the four Medal Races. We have great speed and enjoy the breeze, so this was a week for us.”
The pair will be following the World Cup circuit in a bid to move up the rankings, “Our objective this year is to be in the World top five. We will be doing a maximum of 200 points regattas like Hyères and the Worlds but also some of the Eurosaf circuit.”
Andy Maloney (NZL) nailed the Laser Medal Races and took two race wins to overturn a huge deficit over Australia’s Tom Burton (AUS) who despite a steady first race had a disaster in the second, “I was set up pretty well for the last one so I could only get beaten by one guy,”said Burton. “I ended up getting an OCS and he beat me. So a few tough lessons and probably something I won’t do again but these things happen.”
Maloney was able to capitalise on Burton’s mistake and was delighted with the way it went,“It was a really good day. With the new system there were a lot of points up for grabs and it went pretty well to get two wins and I couldn’t ask for much more. It feels pretty good to come from equal third to win the event. It was a bit unfortunate for Tom Burton in the last race but that happens to all of us.”
New Zealand’s Sam Meech rounded off the Laser podium.
In the Laser Radial Alison Young (GBR) secured a deserved gold medal having dominated the fleet all week long.
“I am really pleased to have won. I have learnt lots of lessons from this regatta and I am looking forward to the rest of the season. Going into the final medal race, only the Danish could beat me so I had to make sure of the result.”
A second in the first Medal Race gave her a handsome advantage and she kept Sarah Gunni (DEN) at bay on the last race with the Dane settling for silver. Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) won the Medal Race to pick up bronze.
Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) stepped it up in the Women’s RS:X on the final day and was first past the post in both Medal Races. The World #1 was all smiles on shore after racing, “I’m super happy,” she said. “I just had a perfect day. I was coming into the day in fourth so a pretty good position. I was not that close to the first but with two Medal Races everything is possible so I tried to do two good races to finish the competition and it paid off.”
Her two race wins knocked overnight leader Bryony Shaw (GBR) down into second and Germany’s Moana Delle into third.
ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami Men’s RS:X champion Ivan Pastor (ESP) made it two World Cup gold’s in a row after two fourths in the Medal Races. The Spaniard led coming into the final day and held on to top spot. Toni Wilhelm (GER) and Kiran Badloe (NED) took the race wins and subsequently moved up to the podium places.
Giles Scott (GBR) took gold in the Finn. Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) threatened the Brits dominance when he closed the gap to one point after the first Medal Race. However, Scott made sure from the start he would leave the Dutch in his trail. “PJ and I match-raced at the start of the second race,” explained Scott. “I finally succeeded in forcing him in an uncomfortable position and took a safe advance over him.” On the new format Scott added,“It did work out all right for me but I don’t really like it as I prefer consistency over the week and the varied conditions to be recognised in the results.”
Postma (NED) ended up second with Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) in third. London Bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert (FRA) missed out on the podium in fourth.
Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) came fifth in the days first Medal Race in the Women’s 470 and finished with a bang in the last, taking the race win and the gold medal.“We are very happy,” exclaimed Barbachan. “We didn’t expect to win like this. We thought it would be a hardest race but these conditions seemed to be nice for us.”
Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh Mcintyre (GBR) finish second with the American pair of Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) third.
With shifty conditions only one Men’s 470 Medal Race could be completed on the final day and a fourth from Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) ensured they maintained their unbeaten life in the Men’s 470. Belcher is the only sailor this week to keep his title won last year with Malcolm Page. Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis place second and Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield (GBR) third.
Despite a mid-race mishap on the final day Mandy Mulder and Thijs Visser (NED) took gold over their team mates Renee Groenenveld and Karel Begemann in the Nacra 17. “We had some issues during the races and in the first one we capsized,” explained Mulder. “One boat nose-dived just in front of us and we had starboard and I was like ‘uh oh we’re going to hit the boat’ so I went inside very quickly and then I went swimming behind the boat and it capsized. We were top three but got upright really quick and ended up sixth.”
Moana Vaireaux and Manon Audinet complete the Nacra 17 podium.
“We are happy about our speed. We made some tactical errors today on the last race, but in definite, I am happy to be able to prove myself on the Olympic circuit” said Moana Vairaux.
Sailors focus now turns to ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres in the South of France. Racing gets going on 22 April through to 27