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Miami To Come Alive For Second World Cup Regatta

Posted on 20 January 2015 by Reporter

[Source:ISAF] From 26-31 January 2015, Miami, USA will welcome world class fields in ten Olympic and three Paralympic events for the second regatta of the 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup series.
Biscayne Bay will come alive with the sails of 651 boats, featuring 848 sailors from 63 nations. The stakes are high at the 2015 edition of ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella with Abu Dhabi Final qualification spots and valuable ranking points available at the 200-point regatta.

The 2015 ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami, Presented by Sunbrella marks the second anniversary of competition for the Nacra 17. The mixed multihull made its debut at the 2013 edition with a small seven boat fleet that was dominated by North Americans. Sarah Newberry and John Casey (USA) took the first Nacra 17 gold medal and now two years on, Miami welcomes a truly international field with 21 nations represented within the 51-boat fleet.

Seasoned campaigners and young hopefuls will be on the start line come 26 January, gunning for an Abu Dhabi ISAF Sailing World Cup Final qualification spot.

Beijing 2008 Tornado Olympic gold medallist Fernando Echavarri (ESP) will take to Nacra 17 racing for the first time in Miami. Echavarri has paired up with 2011 470 World Champion Tara Pacheco who formerly sailed with Iker Martinez. Pacheco and Martinez, who were coached by Echavarri, split up towards the end of 2014 with Martinez teaming up with Marina Lopez.

The transition from coach boat to the Nacra 17 has gone well for the experienced Echavarri, a two time Tornado World Champion, who is taking things in his stride, “We have been sailing for about two months. We are just starting and there are many things that are going on and we want to think about a one year campaign. If everything works well and we qualify [for Rio 2016], we will then think about the next step.

“Miami will be the first race so we are just thinking about learning and getting into the game again. At the moment we are taking it day by day. We have many things to organise before we even think about our goals. For today I can tell you that our goal is to balance the rudders, which will make everything easier.

“We’ve had some normal starting issues that make us lose some time but we are happy about our progression. There are many things to learn and they are special to remember. Here in Miami we came two days ago [Thursday 15 January] with a charter boat so there is plenty of work to do to prepare.

“It’s a nice competition, as always, in Miami. I am really happy to be back in the game.”

Echavarri joins a list of highly experienced competitors in the Miami Nacra 17 fleet. Two time Nacra 17 World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), Sofia Bekatorou and Konstantinos Trigonis (GRE), Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) and Puerto Rico’s Enrique Figueroa, sailing with Franchesca Valdes Ortega, all have vast experience that they’ll put into practice in Miami.

At the other end of the spectrum are Aruba’s Nicole van der Velden and Thijs Visser. At 20-years-old Van der Velden is one of the youngest competitors in the fleet but with two years of campaigning behind her, she hasn’t been intimated by her older rivals, reaching World #17 and finishing in the top ten at the European Championship.

“It’s amazing how much you can learn in two years just by committing to something,” commented van der Velden. “The learning curve has been huge for me. The Nacra is so much fun to sail and I can’t wait to see what this year will bring for us.”

It would be easy for van der Velden to look in awe at the star spangled fleet that features numerous Olympic medallists, Volvo Ocean Race winners and multiple World Champions but she has used the competition to her advantage as she explained, “It’s awesome to be able to sail against such experienced sailors. It really pushes you even harder to get better and better, especially being so young there’s so much to learn.

“For us at the moment it’s quite important to keep working on our racing skills. So every race we do we try to learn as much as possible from it.”

Lisa Darmanin and Jason Waterhouse (AUS) were the first Nacra 17 pair to qualify for the Abu Dhabi ISAF Sailing World Cup Final when they took the Melbourne title. Teams will be vying to join them on the start line with six days of high intensity racing in Miami.

Great Britain’s Giles Scott will spearhead the Finn fleet, aiming to defend his title and continue his unbeaten run of six ranked regattas and the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2014 (Olympic Test Event).

Scott has dominated at every regatta and has his eyes on another victory, “It [the unbeaten run] is absolutely something I’d like to continue. Every regatta I do is incredibly important, but that being said I do really try and focus on each event as it comes so we’ll have to see what Miami brings, I’m sure it will be great racing.

“I think the fleet will be very strong this year with only a handful of the top guys missing. Last year we were plagued by lack of wind so hopefully this year we get good Miami conditions.”

World #1 Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO), World #2 Caleb Paine (USA), ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne victor Ed Wright (GBR) and Abu Dhabi ISAF Sailing World Cup Final champion Vasilij Zbogar (SLO) will all be in the fleet.

Forty five teams are registered to compete in the Men’s 470 and quality is prevalent throughout the pack. Mat Belcher and Will (AUS) will be the ones to beat whilst 2013 champions Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) will want to hold on to their title. 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao gold medallists Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp (ESP) will be looking to impress whilst Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis will certainly be in the running for top honours.

In the Women’s 470, 2014 World Champions Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT), Olympic champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) and Olympic silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) will renew their rivalry. The trio shared the podium at the Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds as well as the 2014 Olympic Test Event with minimal separation between them.

Miami will be the first opportunity for the trio to test themselves against each other in 2015 which will make for some intriguing and insightful racing.

In the 2.4mR, one of three Paralympic events taking place in Miami, Megan Pascoe (GBR) will be aiming to defend her title. In testing winds at the 2014 edition Pascoe kept her focus to take the victory ahead of Allan Leibel (CAN) and Helena Lucas (GBR). Both Leibel and Lucas will return in 2015 with Melbourne victor Matt Bugg (AUS) and the ever consistent Bjornar Erikstad (NOR) also within the fleet.

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) return to defend their crown in the SKUD18 but will face stiff competition from long term rivals Dan Fitzgibbon and Liesl Tesch (AUS). Ten boats will go in the competitive Sonar fleet with 2014 silver medallists John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stephen Thomas (GBR) set to lead the charge.

Competitors in the Paralympic events will have five days of fleet racing from Monday 26 January to Friday 30 January. Medal Races across the ten OIympic events will bring the regatta to a close on Saturday 31 January where medals will be awarded to the top three boats.

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The Trofeo Princesa Sofia grows with the debut of Kitesurf and the comeback of the Dragon Class

Posted on 19 January 2015 by Reporter

[Source: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofía] The 46 edition of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia, to be held between 28 March and 4 April in the Bay of Palma in Mallorca (Spain), will see an increase of competitors with the incorporation if the astonishing Kiteboarding and the comeback of the Dragon Class.
This major Mallorca Olympic Classes event which is organised by Club Nàutic Arenal, Real Club Náutico de Palma and Club Marítimo San Antonio de la Playa together with the Balearic and Royal Spanish Federation, opened the online entries just before the Christmas holidays.

Up to this date, around 192 sailors from different nations such as Japan, Russia, Germany, Great Britain, USA, and Switzerland have already entered.

The main novelty in this edition will be the debut of the spectacular Kiteboarding, one of the classes battling to join the Olympic family, which will have its first international event in Mallorca with venue at Portitxol beach.

This beach location has the appropriate conditions for Kiteboarding sailors to get in and out of the water with their kites and boards. Competitors will sail a maximum of 16 short, fast races between marks and men and women might sail together but will be scored separately.

Furthermore, the Trofeo Princesa Sofia will welcome again the Dragon fleet, the Class that marked the starting point of the Trofeo Princesa Sofia 46 years ago. The Dragon class and Paralympic classes will have their venue at Real Club Náutico de Palma.

Participation will be completed with the ten Olympic Classes Laser, Laser Radial, Finn, 470 men and women, 49er, 49er FX, RS:X men and women and Nacra 17 as well as Paralympic classes 2.4mR and Skud18 and therefore around 1.000 sailors are expected to be sailing in the Bay of Palma.

Once again, this major Olympic Classes event will gather together the best world sailors as it is a qualifier event for the ISAF SWC Hyères event and a 2015 EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup Regatta.

In this sense, Club Nàutic de s’Arenal welcomes since January the first national teams, mostly from Northern Europe, that make the most of the favourable weather conditions to train in Mallorca and warm up for the sailing season.

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ISAF Sailing World Cup Final Declared Open

Posted on 25 November 2014 by Reporter

[Source: ISAF] The inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup Final has been declared open by ISAF President Carlo Croce in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. With a packed crowd of local dignitaries, VIPS and participating sailors in attendance, the ISAF President welcomed some of the world’s finest Olympic sailors and kiteboarders who will be competing on Abu Dhabi waters.

“It’s a great honour for me to be here today because we have a very important regatta which will be the future of our sport,” explained Croce, “We’ve been following a dream and a vision. The vision is to make the sailors part of the professional life and help them in this path.

“When we came here three or four months ago I never thought we might be able to put all of what you see in place. It’s been a miracle by the people working here who I thank very much. I am also thankful to all of you here today – we have 197 boats, 40 nations, 270 athletes and more than 20 Olympic medallists.

“It’s the best of the best of the world and I really thank you on behalf of ISAF for accepting our invitation.”

London 2012 Olympic Laser Radial bronze medallist Evi Van Acker (BEL) gave the athletes’ oath whilst Chief Equipment Inspector Barry Johnson (AUS) swore in the officials.

Abu Dhabi Sailing & Yacht Club, host of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final are utilising the star names competing at the regatta to highlight the sport of sailing within the Emirati capital. With Olympic heroes and World Champions in their numbers at the event local children are being inspired to take up the sport as Croce concluded, “It is a good legacy for the local people and the youngsters. I know some of you went around the schools showing the young people how our sport is developing. No better ambassadors could be found outside this group.

“I really think we have the first step for a future World Cup system that will really help all of you making a living out of sailing. As an old sailor it’s always been a problem so thank you very much for coming.”

Once the flag was hoisted by three time Olympian Nikola Girke, Croce declared the ISAF Sailing World Cup Final open.

Sailors’ attentions now turn to preparing their equipment for the battles on the race track.

Practice racing will allow the sailors the first opportunity to test themselves against each other on 26 November. Racing commences at 12:00 local time on 27 November and concludes on 30 November.

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Up and down day at Santander 2014 ISAF Worlds

Posted on 16 September 2014 by Reporter

[Source: ISAF] It was a tough fifth day of racing for all of the fleets at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships with a challenging up and down wind playing havoc across the seven race courses.

It was scheduled to be a Super Tuesday with all of the fleets apart from the Women’s RS:X scheduled to take to the water but the schedule did not quite go to plan with abandonments, strong current and a fickle breeze challenging the Race Committees.

All of the fleets managed to complete some racing with the Men’s RS:X and Women’s 470 rounding off their Qualification Series, the Laser and Laser Radial continued their gold fleet racing and the remaining fleets resumed qualification.

Men’s RS:X

The weather was pleasing for the Men’s RS:X fleet with an easterly wind which allowed the Race Committee to set the course quick and complete race number 5, the last race of the Qualification Series for the Men’s RSX. A tricky offshore breeze with seaweed across course made racing tough and unpredictable. The yellow fleet leaders took off from the many, many sailors were on port, and they hit the left corner on the upwind, which paid off in the end.

The downwind strategy for the majority of the guys was to keep planing in the gusts. The top three finishers in the yellow fleet were Piotr Myszka from Poland, Thomas Goyard and Julien Bontemps from France. A brilliant planing start on port in front of the entire Blue fleet unfortunately didn’t help JP Tobin (NZL) to finish among leaders as he went to the right side whilst the winning side appeared to be left.

In the end Pierre le Coq from France took the bullet (See the video of Pierre’s interview this morning before the race) followed by Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) and Nick Dempsey (GBR). This brought the qualification series to a close with the fleets now splitting up into gold and silver.

Women’s RS:X racers have had a lay day today, so the leaders remain the same: Charline Picon (FRA), Bryony Shaw (GBR) and Patricia Freitas (BRA). The girl’s will continue racing in Gold and Silver fleet tomorrow.

There will be a strong battle in RS:X Men for those 18 qualification spots allocated for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games from the current World Championship. There are 23 countries in the Gold fleet (49 competitors) and 5 countries will come back home without a desired qualification spot. Same applies to the Women’s RSX, where 15 counties got into a Gold fleet, 31 competitors in total, with only 13 nations able to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games 2016 in Santander.

RS:X Reports courtesy of Olga Maslivets, International RS:X Class Association

49erFX

After yesterday’s session of waiting the 49erFX fleet was anxious to get their world championship started. Up to four races per fleet were scheduled for the Duna course, the feature course with the huge grandstands. Over 1,000 local sailing enthusiasts greeted the sailors as they began their quest for gold fleet and ultimately the title. For local 49erFX stars Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) it was a special day. Every time they rounded a mark or came near the grandstands a huge roar would erupt.

“We took inspiration from them today. It was lovely to hear them cheer us even in the second race when we were not doing so well, we knew they were here to support us,” said hometown girl Berta.

The first race was dominated by starting, as the side current made for mostly port tack sailing. Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR), Tessa Parkinson and Chelsea Hall (AUS) and Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) nailed their starts, punching through the starboard tackers into commanding positions up the first beat. The Brazilians had the better boatspeed and managed to sail comfortably to the first bullet of the event with the Aussies and Brits finishing in the top 5.

In race 2 the wind and tide were more aligned making a more even beat. A number of teams tacked their way up the shifts and puffs, with the right hand side holding the advantage. Parkinson and Hall found great form again and lead comfortably through the first two and a half laps of the race. Unfortunately for them they mishandled a gybe and capsized on the last run, sending them back into 12th by the time they recovered. Still, a solid day for this duo who work full time and sail in their local skiff club in Perth.

The Blue fleet then got their turn and faced some challenging conditions. Canadians Erin Rafuse and Danielle Boyd were leading the first race in what was the best breeze of the day, ultimately being overtaken by the reigning European Champions, Ida Nielsen and Mari Olsen (DEN) who finished first. Their next race looked to be another good one until the wind died out for the last 100m of the first beat. Most of the fleet stacked up at the windward mark and many teams had to take evasive manoeuvres to avoid fouling. Laura Shoenfegger and Elsie Lovreck (AUT) escaped first from the mess and held on for a third. Kate MacGregor and Katrina Best (GBR) took the win, a nice recovery from their challenging first race.

Then the wind really started playing havoc with the fleet, as a system breeze dominated the sea breeze and came in at around 20 knots from 60 degrees right of where the wind had been. More shifty racing allowed each fleet to sail 3 races on the day, with nothing yet decided as we head into the second day of qualifying.

49er

Today was blue fleets chance to go sailing having watched yellow fleet get two races in on the first day of qualification. The day started off wonderfully, with 12 knots of breeze and open waters. Defending World Champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) were quick off the line and quick to get to the favoured right side, kicking off the event with a bullet. They followed that up with a 4 and a 7 for three top 10′s and first position on the day.

The only other team to manage all top 10′s were fellow Kiwi youngsters Logan Dunning Beck and Jack Simpson, who sailed to an impressive 5, 8, 6 in the 40 boat fleet. Much more common were teams with a “A Good, a Bad, and an Ugly,” said standout Irish crew, Matt McGovern.

Many of the top teams only managed one or two races inside the top 10, leaving most teams vulnerable to missing out on gold fleet tomorrow. Races 2 and 3 for the Blue fleet were in a dying wind that backed left until it came from over an island, causing instability both in the breeze and fleet. The shifty racing left few boats in a comfortable position but does leave open many intriguing possibilities for the final bit of qualifying. Then it was yellow fleets turn to hit the water again. They got half way through their first race and it had to be abandoned.

49er and 49er FX Reports courtesy of Ben Remocker, International 49er Class Association

Nacra 17

After a long day of waiting the Nacra 17 sailors were very keen this morning to start racing on their second day of competition. Around 12:00 the wind was enough to go out and Yellow Fleet left the beach. They could race two good races. Around 15.00 the Blue Fleet could start their first race. But after their first race they had to wait a long time on the water because of windshifts and wind speed that had ups and downs. For both sailors and Race Committee these are very difficult days, all the more knowing that during the last few months of training the conditions were very beautiful.

Reigning World Champions Billy Besson and Marie Riou won both races in the Yellow Fleet. They are very happy with these results of this first day, “During the races of our fleet the conditions were very good. We are happy with this result, but we have still a lot of races to go.”

The Dutch team Mandy Mulder and Coen de Koning were also very happy with their results of the day, “With a 2nd and 7th place it’s a good start of this championship. We are happy to be in second position after two races and look forward for coming days.”

The Italian team of Lorenzo Bressani and Giovanni Micol finished third and eighth in the yellow fleet. They started sailing the Nacra 17 this year and have trained a lot in Santander over the last month. Bressani is a professional sailor who won the 2010 and 2011 Melges 24 and Melges 32 World Championships whilst Micol previously sailed the 470. They were particularly happy about their second race performance because they had a bad start and came back from behind to the eighth position, “Coming from behind to eighth gives us a lot of self-confidence. This means we have the speed and power to sail in front of the fleet. Our goal is to be in the Gold Fleet, but this start of the event makes us very happy.”

Spanish team, Iker Martinez and Tara Pacheco, decided to stop racing and have packed their boat to go home. Tara had a surgery a few weeks ago and is still recovering. During the first race the team noticed that they were not able to sail 100%. Martinez said, “We want to go for 100% and that’s not possible at this moment. So we decided to stop now and go home and give Tara the time to recover fully.”

In the Blue Fleet the Swiss team Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger won the single Nacra 17 blue fleet race ahead of British team Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond. The Swiss team said, “We did a very good first race and are very happy with this result. Unfortunately we didn’t race any more. But the Race Committee did all they could do in these difficult weather conditions with shifty wind and up and downs. Hopefully it will be better tomorrow.”

Nacra 17 Report courtesy of Edwin Lodder, Nacra 17 Class Association

The Olympic qualification hunt is now well and truly game on, with 16 nations advancing to gold fleet and gunning for the ten qualification places on offer for Rio 2016. A win from race 3 in the yellow fleet popped the 2012 Olympic silver medallists Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) into the overall lead, helped by the discard coming into play to knock out their 11th place finish from race 1. Austria’s Lara Vadlau and Jola Ogar took the win in the blue fleet and moved up to second, whilst overnight leaders Maelenn Lematire and Aloise Retornaz (FRA) dropped from first to third overall, after finishing eighth.

Race 4 was a nail biter, with gold and silver fleet qualification on the cards to decide the shortlist of nations in with a chance at Olympic qualification. The Blue fleet winners Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens (NED) took massive leaderboard gains and Slovenia’s Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol did the same in the yellow fleet.

Mills and Clark kept consistent to take a third place finish and wrap up the four race qualification series in first overall, with Vadlau and Ogar holding onto second and leaping up to third overall from their 3,1 scores are Broekhuizen and Jongens.

The gold fleet final series is set to unfurl into a massive battle for Olympic qualification as teams from 16 nations fight for just 10 nation slots. Brazil receives an automatic slot to Rio 2016, and as Brazil’s two 470 Women teams have both advanced to gold fleet, the battle for them is all about finishing ahead of each other.

Lemaitre and Retornaz proved their day one race performance was no fluke, scoring an 8,10 today to advance to gold fleet in fourth overall. Impressive form from the 2013 and 2014 470 Junior World Champions, positions them as the only junior circuit team to qualify to gold fleet. Clear validation of how tough it is stepping up to senior fleet racing.

“It is great, because we have been training a lot,” said Lemaitre. “But the first day, we were really surprised to do this, but now we know it is possible so we will see. It is fantastic and great for us as it is very difficult in the senior fleet. We just did less mistakes than the others. We have to continue again and again. This is just four races so far,” she smiled.

Based on provisional results and subject to any protest outcomes, the 16 nations in the gold fleet in with a shot at qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games are (in country order): Australia, Austria, China, Czech Republic, France, Great Britain, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, United States of America.

Men’s 470

The day was really complicated and long for the 74-boat 470 men fleet. Three races were on the cards for all to get the qualification series completed, but the breeze again failed to play ball. Two races were held for the yellow fleet and just one for blue today. The conditions put pressure on sailors to stay focused and ready to jump into action as the breeze fills in, and today’s six hours wait on the water was the longest day so far.

“It has been pretty hard, really shifty and really variable,” commented 2012 Olympic Champion Mat Belcher. “It is really hard to run a race in these conditions. I guess what was a bit disappointing today was in one race we were stopped for more than 5 minutes in just 2 knots of breeze.”

In total contrast to their opening race 37th place, Spain’s Onan Barreiros/Juan Curbelo won race 2 in the yellow fleet and leapt up the leaderboard. But disappointment for the world ranked #13 pair as they took a black flag startline penalty in race 3 and will now need a top finish tomorrow to guarantee their place in the top 50% of the fleet who will advance to gold fleet racing. Numerous teams suffered the same fate with ten others boats awarded a BFD penalty. Penalty scores for other top teams for Rule 42 infringements has also put the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons in the leaderboard shuffle.

Over in the blue fleet, the USA’s Stuart McNay/David Hughes repeated their form from Sunday’s opening day of racing, and took another win in race 2 to move into the overall lead. Although the blue fleet count only 2 races to the yellow fleet’s 3 races, the Americans still top the overall leaderboard, as in practice their race result from race 3 would be discardable anyway, leaving them counting two race wins.

So, the line-up for gold and silver fleets is still fully open, and teams are just hoping to get the qualification series wrapped up on Wednesday, and move onto the six race final series on Thursday and Friday to ensure a full schedule of races for this critical Olympic qualification event.

The pressure is now on the Race Committee to use Wednesday’s scheduled reserve day and get the qualification series finalized, with one more race for yellow and two for blue fleet.

470 Report courtesy of Luissa Smith, International 470 Class Association

Finn

The Finn fleet only got in one race despite being on the water for eight hours. Yellow fleet was won by Oliver Tweddell (AUS) who led the entire race from Deniss Karpak (EST) and Josip Olujic (CRO). The Blue fleet was stacked with big names but the returning Jonas Høgh-Christensen (DEN), the London 2012 Silver medalist, back after a two year lay-off, led round the top mark from London 2012 bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert (FRA). Giles Scott (GBR) rounded in 10th and made gains throughout to pass Høgh-Christensen at the last mark to take the race win. The Dane crossed in second with Lobert third.

The fleet then waited afloat for another six hours with no further racing as the wind performed circles around the fleet. So two days in, 13 hours afloat and just one race to show for it. Tweddell explained his race, “The first race was pretty tricky. I started at the pin and went left and got a nice bit of pressure and a left hand shift which worked out quite well and then basically held my lead from Deniss Karpak all race.”

On the race committee, “Luigi (PRO – Peter Reggio) and his race team were actually doing a really good job. They weren’t sending us off for a bad race in dodgy wind. We actually got a second race off but they abandoned it after a couple of minutes as the breezed died and then filled in. So they did a really good job, but the breeze was never stable enough to get a second race in. Unfortunately that’s sailing.”

Høgh-Christensen said, “I had a good start and almost hit the pin end starting boat. But I had a good first beat and hit the shift right and had two fast guys behind me with Giles and Lobert. I managed to keep the Frenchie behind me but Giles was just too quick downwind. The last run was free pumping. The French went high and Giles went low and I had to cover one of them. The French was in second so I covered him and lost Giles.

“It was a very simple race. I got off at the right end and hit the right shift. My boat speed was Ok, and I was happy with my downwind speed even though I lost Giles, so I’m happy.” Scott said, “Day two has been very long. We had only the one race which was frustrating. But that race did go quite well and I got Jonas and Lobert at the bottom of the last run, which was nice. It got the championship off to a good start, but I just would have liked some more racing. “Then we had a long wait, and we were in pretty late in the evening, so hoping for better tomorrow. The wind was a decent strength but just wasn’t consistent. Luigi did his best to try and get us away but it wasn’t right.”

Finn Report courtesy of Robert Deaves, International Finn Class Association

Laser

Phillip Buhl (GER) had a perfect day scoring two first places and moves up to fifth overall. He said, “We finally had a little bit more wind on the race course today and still a little bit tricky and gusty but at least we got to more races in. For more it was obviously very satisfying as it is not every day you get two bullets in a world championship. In the first race I had a good start and good first upwind leg and rounded third, I think, and then got through to first on the downwind leg overtaking Pavolos Kontides (CYP) and Alessio Spadoni (ITA).

“In the second race I started near the pin boat but was not so good but I wanted to go left. Near the top of the upwind I got a little lucky with a left shift that was bigger than I expected and then I took the lead on the second upwind.” The new overall leader is Tom Burton (AUS). Burton, who has been parked in third place for two days seized his chance by scoring a fourth in the sixth race and then using his previous eighth place discard to get out of jail as he recorded a 16th in the seventh race. Overnight leader, Nick Heiner (NED) could only manage two 12th places and drops into second overall. He explained, “I had a good comeback race in the first race until I got a yellow flag penalty on the second upwind which I was bit surprised about and it cost me 4 places. It kind of made sail a little less free in the second race but it was really tricky conditions with a lot of patchy weather. It is not good enough for first place but tomorrow is another day.” Nick Thompson moves up to third .

Laser Radial

Olympic Silver medallist, Marit Bouwmeester (NED), finally made it into first position overall after a steady climb up the rankings with consistent results and a first place in the only race of the day ahead of Evi Van Acker (BEL). Bouwmeester had a fairly easy time leading from start to finish, “It was tricky. I had a good start and managed to get off the start line well. I don’t think I was first round the first mark but I had good downwind speed and had the lead by the next mark. I was happy. We were proper hiking in steady conditions which was really nice after all the previous light winds.”

Veronika Fenclova (CZE) scored a third place that was enough to get her back up into second spot whilst others around dropped back in the stronger wind.

Laser and Laser Radial Reports Courtesy of Jeff Martin, International Laser Class Association.

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Laser and Radial consolidate whilst RS:X racing commences at Santander

Posted on 13 September 2014 by Reporter

[Source: ISAF] In the current weather system it was no surprise that once again there was no wind in the morning at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships but at least there was sun, initially. Fleets were held ashore for a brief spell before an 8 knot breeze set in for the first races of the day.

There was then a long postponement on the courses that hosted the Laser, Laser Radial and Men’s and Women’s RS:X before the second race as a small front passed through the course area but in summary it was a day of thunderstorms (off the course areas), shifts and showers.Laser

The men changed course areas to the area the women used the previous day which also gave them a stronger current to deal with. Defending World Champion Robert Scheidt (BRA), sailing in the last fleet to start, now heads the leader board after scoring the best results of the day, a first and third. Scheidt said, “I had good starts, free of the line and then everything gets a lot easier. Because there was a lot of current throwing you on the line it was it was very difficult. Your instinct is to hold back so timing is critical. I think I managed to get that right.”

In the first starting fleet Nick Heiner (NED) nearly matched Scheidt’s score with first and a fourth, “The last race was a bit short and skewed but overall I cannot complain,” said Heiner as he moves into the second position. His fellow countryman Rutger van Schaardenbug sailing in the middle fleet was not happy with his mixed day,“I got a first in the first race and then misjudged the current in the second race having a bad start and then I hit the first mark and could not clear myself.”

The top end of the fleet is starting to stabilise but there is still six more final races to go when the competition will get even stronger as the top third of the fleet combine to produce what will be a very competitive gold fleet.

Laser Results

Laser Radial

The women were also racing on a different course area further out to sea. They had a slightly better wind up to ten knots and started before the men after a shorter postponement. The first fleet were into their second race before it was abandoned due to a change in wind direction and the wind dying.

Veronica Fenclova (CZE) maintained her slender overall lead still on a tie break after a scoring a reasonable 12th place in the first race of day, which she discards, and then delivering a strong third. “Every race here is difficult,” exclaimed the Czech sailor. “The first race in my fleet was very light wind and the fleet split into two parts. I had an OK start and went left, got clear wind but it was still difficult. In the second race the wind was stronger and so I went left again which was better for me.”

Viktorija Andrulyte from Lithuania became the new challenger having scored the best results of the day, a first and fourth, to take second overall vacated by Min Gu (CHN) who slipped dramatically down the rankings to 25th scoring a 45 and 33.

Olympic silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED) was pleased with her day’s results that moved her into third overall. She said, “In the first race my old sparring partner Evi Van Acker and I rounded the top mark together at the top end of the fleet with me just behind. We worked through the fleet to finish first and second with me still behind. The second race was short and the wind was banging right to left. The important thing is not lose too many positions.” She was happy with her seventh and third place overall.

Laser Radial Results

Laser and Laser Radial Reports courtesy of Jeff Martin, International Laser Class Association

Men’s RS:X

It was a day for France in the Men’s RS:X with three out of four races across two fleets going their way.

Pierre le Coq was rampant in the blue fleet taking double bullets whilst Louis Giard picked up the first victory in the yellow fleet. The remaining yellow fleet victory went to Ricardo Santos (BRA).

Le Coq is one of the in-form racers in the Men’s RS:X and was pleased with how things played out in Santander, “Today was really interesting because we had two different races. We went to Sardinero as expected and had 10-15 knots so it was nice conditions for us with planing. I had good speed but I was fighting with a lot of guys and finally I won the race.

“We then waited a lot as the wind was really changing today. We moved course for the last race and I won that too. It’s a good day to begin the worlds but there’s still a long way to go so we’ll see at the end. I hope to be a regular at the top throughout the rest of the days.”

Giard picked up a third in the second race and holds second overall. 2010 World Champion Piotr Myszka (POL) is third after a fourth and a second.

With a series consisting of 12 races there are plenty of points left to play for in both RS:X fleets.

Men’s RS:X Results

Women’s RS:X

Charline Picon (FRA) continued her strong run of form in the Women’s RS:X, putting together a strong score line from three blue fleet races.

Picon, 2014 European Champion, came out flying and took the opening race victory. She backed it up in the second race with a further bullet and consolidated her exceedingly good start with a fourth in the third race of the day. At the early stages of the competition the French racer, who also took gold at the Aquece Rio International Sailing Regatta 2014, Rio Test Event, has a three point lead. The third blue fleet victory of the day went to Great Britain’s Bryony Shaw who is

In the blue fleet Demita Vega (MEX) took the first bullet and with a fourth and a discarded 17th she sits second overall. Eugenie Ricard (FRA) and Qiaoshan Weng (CHN) won the remaining blue fleet races. Ricard sits fourth and Weng is 13th.

Women’s RS:X Results

Schedule of Racing:

12-18 September, Laser and Laser Radial
13-19 September, RS:X Men and RS:X Women
14-20 September, 470 Men and 470 Women
15-21 September, 49er, 49erFX, Finn and Nacra 17

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Welcome to #CleanRio

Posted on 28 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

Welcome to #CleanRio!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here’s one of the actual race area of the 2016 Rio Olympics, taken this morning, 28 July 2014, a week before the first test event in the Brazilian city. More precisely, this photo was taken approximately in the center of the Copacabana Race Course, the fourth of the five Olympic sailing courses.

Nevertheless, what is probably scarier isn’t the visible but the invisible pollution the world’s best sailors will be facing in the test events as well as, obviously, the Olympics, in the following two years.

As the teams from around the world are gathering for the Aquece Rio – International Sailing Regatta 2014 we will have extensive coverage of not only the sailing action but also the health perils they will be facing.

Photo depicting the current state of Copacabana Race Course, the fourth of the five Olympic sailing courses. Rio de Janeiro, 28 July 2014

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Luke Patience / Elliot Willis (GBR) win 470 men European Championship title ahead of Medal Race

Posted on 15 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 470 European Championship]  Stunning sailing conditions across the race course on the Saronic Gulf in two nailbiting races, sees the 2014 470 Men European Championship title already awarded with a day to spare.  The race track is immediately off Greece’s capital city Athens, with a breeze of around 10-12 knots and another blue sky day raced against the iconic Acropolis in the background.

The British pair of Luke Patience/Elliot Willis saved their best to last, knocking out back to back second place finishes in races 9 and 10 to become the 2014 470 Men European Champions.

In the 470 Women, the battle for the European Championship title has another day to go and will be between two boats, Austria’s Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar and Great Britain’s Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark. The British will start the double-points medal race on the back foot, sitting on an 11 point deficit behind the Austrians, but with the Medal Race counting for double points there is still plenty to play for.

The tension here at the 2014 470 Open European Championships now escalates to Tuesday’s double point Medal Races. The windward/leeward medal race course will be set just off the Yacht Club of Greece, from where spectators will enjoy an elevated shoreside viewpoint.

470 MEN
More top finishes for the teams at the front of the leaderboard as racing heated up, with Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) and Luke Patience/Elliot Willis (GBR) increasing their points margin over the fleet. Tomorrow, Patience/Willis will be hoping their medal race finish will add the 470 Open European Championship title to the 2014 470 European Championship title already secured.

“It is pretty cool. Elliot has been saving his muscles to last,” grinned Patience who improves on last year’s 470 European silver medal with former crew Joe Glanfield. “He has been absolutely pumping on the wire like a work horse for the past few days. We have just been on fire with speed. Everything has just felt good the last four races and yeh here we are with a European title. But there is still a race to go tomorrow and the Aussies are catchable,” he continued, referring to their chance at the Open European Championship title too. “It is quite a big margin of points, but it is catchable so we will be head down thinking about tomorrow.”

“To leap forwards today was amazing,” explained Patience on the pair’s steady climb up the leaderboard over the past few days. “It was just gorgeous champagne 470 sailing today. There was a bit of a gap between us and Mat going into today. Mat doesn’t often in those conditions have a big number under his belt so it was a big ask for us to do what we did. But as ever with these things, our sport is so complex, and we knew that if we just went into the into the day trying to control everything we could control, if we did that well we would be in a good place and that is all you can really ask.”

An astounding success in such a short period of time for the team has not surprised Patience, who commented, “Four or five months is not very long together at all. I think we always knew starting the team that it felt good and we felt like we had potential. To come here after such a short time and be comfortably racing at the front of the fleet and feeling good about what we are doing is great. Absolutely we dreamed we could do this, it is what we do it for, but in such short time it is great.”

Reflecting on their rapid success being a warning to others, Patience could only grin, “I hope so!”

Looking ahead to tomorrow’s assault to do the double and secure the Open European Championship title, Patience concluded, “The point is we have nothing to lose. We physically can’t move – we can’t be worse than second behind Mat, so it is ours to take.”

Belcher and Ryan won the 2013 Open European Championship title, and carry a 9 point advantage over the British in their quest for a successful defence.

“This week we just wanted to focus on our performance and we know that all the teams are in good shape and we are in good shape, so it has been a good event for us to see where we are at and check in,” said Belcher. “This year has been quite difficult for us with a lot of things to cope with, so it is important for us to see where we are at before the ISAF Worlds and we are really happy with how we have sailed this week.”

With the British assured the European Championship gold medal, the hunt is now on for silver and bronze medals with three teams in contention;  Joonas Lindgren/Niklas Lindgren (FIN), Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO) and Matthias Schmid/Florian Reichstaedter (AUT). Just 6 points separates these teams and with the double points Medal Race, it is going to be a really close contest to decide the remaining European and Open European podium places.

Not the best of days for Finland’s Lindgren brothers, but fortunately their high scores were exceeded by their nearest rivals. So results which would normally have seen them drop down the leaderboard, actually pushed them up to third overall.  The team were 25th at the first mark in race 9 and fought back through the fleet, taking advantage of shifts. Race 10 again saw them struggling from the back in a tricky race, but now their attention is firmly on tomorrow.

“What we do now is check everything is OK with the boat and then we go home,” explained Joonas. “We will try to be relaxed but not too much, as we don’t want to start to feel as though the regatta is over. With the other two boats so close, we will just try to do our own race and basically aim for a race win.”

Worst day of the series for Croatia’s Fantela/Marenic today who are three time European Champions. “It will be a nailbiting medal race again,” said Fantela. “We will sail as usual 100% all in and in the end hopefully win a medal. It is all really open. Whoever sails the best tomorrow will win.”

A surprise disappearance from the Medal Race line-up for the 2103 European Champions Sofian Bouvet/Jeremie Mion (FRA) who spiralled downwards from 5th going into the day to 12th, after struggling with form and scoring their worst pair of races of the series; a 33,20.

470 Men Medal Race Line-Up – Top 10 after 10 Races
1. Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) – 26    pts
2. Luke Patience/Elliot Willis (GBR) – 35 pts
3. Joonas Lindgren/Niklas Lindgren (FIN) – 63 pts
4. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO) – 67 pts
5. Matthias Schmid/Florian Reichstaedter (AUT) – 69 pts
6. Lucas Calabrese/Juan de la Fuente (ARG) – 81 pts
7. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) –86 pts
8. Stuart McNay/David Hughes (USA) – 87 pts
9. Panagiotis Kampouridis/Efstathios Papadopoulos (GRE) – 89 pts
10. Onan Barreiros/Juan Curbelo (ESP) – 92 pts

470 WOMEN
With most of the 470 Women fleet already carrying at least one double-pointer on their scoreline, today should have been all about consolidation and avoiding adding any more double digit results to scorelines. But not all the leading group managed it.  Importantly for them though, the same teams on the leaderboard top 10 at the start of the day are still there, with just a few ups and downs in order.

Overnight series leaders Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) did not even feature in the top 10 of the pack in race 9, finishing 18th and losing their #1 position on the leaderboard to Austria’s Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar who finished in 5th place.

“The wind was a bit round to the right, where it had been coming in most days, and generally tracked left and we kind of had that in our heads a bit too much off the startline,” explained Mills. “We got a bad start, but held our line, but did a pretty poor job of lane management. From there we had a good run, but then a poor second beat, getting caught the wrong side of shifts. So we made our lives hard.”

All change for the British in race 10, with Vadlau/Ogar setting the pace and Mills/Clark right behind at the first windward mark, chased by Slovenia’s Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol in third. Fortunately for them, Mills/Clark managed to increase pace and pass the Austrians to claim the win to keep themselves in contention for the European Championship title. Tuesday’s double-points Medal Race will see the British and Austrians facing off for gold.

Delighted to be guaranteed either gold or silver, Clark added, “The first race was disappointing as the Austrians have a significant lead on us, so it is going to be hard. They have been sailing amazingly all week. We were a bit deflated after that first race, but we have to put it in context of where we are and what we actually came here to achieve. To even be guaranteed a medal and in with a shot of winning the Championship is over our expectations. We are super pleased.”

For the Austrian pair, their longer term campaign only came together  a few weeks ago when Ogar’s nationality switch from Polish to Austrian was formalized by the Austrian government. So now they are on one mission; to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in September and then it is game on for a medal in Rio.

A great day ahead for Austrian sailing tomorrow, with Vadlau/Ogar guaranteed either gold or silver and their 470 Men team mates Schmid/Reichstaedter also in the hunt for silver or bronze.

“We had a pretty solid day, it was a great day for us,” said Vadlau.

Vadlau’s partnership with Ogar creates an incredibly balanced team. “I am older and sometimes when Lara wants to be a bit extreme I will always say safety first,” explained Ogar. “Lara has a brilliant mind and I only have to watch and remind her not to freak out so much on the water.”

“Sailing is about consistency and controlling yourself and we have managed it,” continued Ogar. “We know how to sail, but we were a little afraid about the boat handling. The other teams are all the time training and we have been out of the boat,” she added referring to Vadlau’s knee surgery earlier in the year.

Impressive to consider that just two years ago Vadlau finished at the back of the fleet at the 2012 Olympics and she is now beating both the London 2012 Olympic gold and silver medallists.

Behind the Austrians and British, any one of three teams has a shot at European Championship bronze with Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO), Sophie Weguelin/Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) and Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA) all in contention. The Slovenians have the upper hand and would need to finish in 9th or 10th with the British or French winning to lose their grasp on the bronze medal. If they secure the final spot on the podium

Back in 10th place at the first mark for race 9, the Olympic Gold medallists Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) made things difficult for themselves , but punched their way through to finish in 5th place and followed up with a 2nd in race 10, overtaking the British and moving into second overall. The Kiwis are guaranteed a podium finish for the 470 Open European Championships, in what will be a three-nation battle between the Austrians, Kiwis and British to decide first, second and third.

“It was a solid day for us,” commented Powrie. “Really lovely conditions – a really stellar Athens day.”

Commenting on their chance at the Open European crown, Aleh said, “Looking at the points for tomorrow, we will have to just sail our own race. Since there are three of us it is not a one on one, so we just have to sail well.”

“We hope the Brits and Austrians will just take each other out and we will just keep on sailing,” laughed Aleh.

470 Women Medal Race Line-Up – Top 10 after 10 Races
1. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT) – 35 pts
2. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) – 42 pts
3. Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) – 46pts
4. Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA) – 68 pts
5. Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO) – 69 pts
6. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan (BRA) – 74 pts
7. Sophie Weguelin/Eilidh Mcintyre (GBR) – 84 pts
8. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA) – 84 pts
9. Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED) – 91 pts
10. Alisa Kirilyuk/Liudmila Dmitrieva (RUS) – 119 pts

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Burling/Tuke & Nielsen/Olsen are 2014 Seiko 49er & 49erFX European Champions

Posted on 13 July 2014 by Valencia Sailing

[Source: 2014 Seiko 49er & 49erFX European Championship] The defending European Champions held on to their crowns in both the men’s and women’s fleets at the Seiko 49er & 49erFX European Championship, which reached a thrilling conclusion today in Helsinki.

Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen went into today’s three Grand Final races just a point behind the New Zealanders Alex Maloney and Molly Meech. The Danes looked relaxed but determined and sailed a very solid three races, waiting for the others to make mistakes. With the Theatre Style racing format, principal race officer David Campbell-James set a short course for the top ten 49erFX crews of just 750m from top to bottom, and just 450m wide, each edge of the course limited by boundary lane ropes similar to those seen at a swimming gala.

With the fleet forced into multiple tacks and gybes on the two-lap course, and the wind blowing a shifty, gusty 14 to 18 knots, crisp boathandling and fast decision-making were critical. The Kiwi team reached the top mark of the first race in good shape, in 2nd place behind Jena Mai Hansen and Katia Iversen of Denmark. However Maloney and Meech were unable to bear away, and continued further upwind. “There was a big gust as we arrived at the top mark,” explained Maloney, “and we didn’t feel we could turn the boat away, so we held on a few moments.” It was a critical few seconds that allowed other boats to overtake, and it set the tone for the reigning World Champions who just couldn’t quite make things go their way today.

Meanwhile Nielsen and Olsen recovered from a shaky moment to finish 6th in the first race, and then put the hammer down to win the final two races, securing Championship victory. The Brazilian team Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze also finished strongly with two 3rd places, putting them on equal points with the Kiwis. The Brazilians’ better finish in the final race gave them the silver medal on countback, relegating the World Champions to the bronze medal position. The top three – Denmark, Brazil, New Zealand – are an exact replica of the medal winners at the 2013 European Championships a year earlier in Aarhus, Denmark.

Asked which European title they had most enjoyed winning, Olsen commented: “It was great winning on home waters last year in Denmark, but the battle was much closer this year, so we’re very happy to have defended our title.”

Attention then turned to the 49er men, with the reigning World Champions from New Zealand going into the final three races with an 11-point margin over the 2012 Olympic Champions from Australia. Pete Burling and Blair Tuke were fast out of the blocks, taking the lead in the first race. Meanwhile, behind them carnage ensued for Nathan Outteridge and Iain ‘Goobs’ Jensen. “We had a port-starboard incident with John Pink up the first leg,” said Outteridge. “Then down the run Goobs’s trapeze wire snapped, we reckon from Pinky’s boom nicking the rope earlier.” With Jensen in the drink, Outteridge tried to drop the gennaker singlehanded. “My plan was to drop the kite, sail round the leeward gate and pick Goobs up on the way back up the next leg. But I capsized, and all I managed to do was give Goobs 200 metres more of swimming to do.” By the time Jensen was back on board with the boat upright, the fleet was long gone. Last place for the Aussies.

The capsize put the Australians into a tight battle for the silver or bronze with the Germans, Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel, and Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign from Great Britain. Then it went bad for Outteridge again, this time at the windward mark of race 2 as he went round in traffic and with wind shadow from another boat, found himself waterskiing off the back of the boat as Jensen tried to hoist the gennaker. The Australian boat narrowly avoided a capsize but once again was at the back of the fleet. Incredibly the Aussies salvaged a 7th from the race, but a 3rd place for the Kiwis proved sufficient to give them overall victory with a race in hand.

With the gold medal already decided, spectators turned their attention to the three-way fight between Great Britain, Germany and Australia. Once again the Kiwis led the way, winning the race by a big margin. Outteridge sailed a solid race for 2nd place, but the Germans had been too consistent with 3,2,3 – taking the silver medal by just over 2 points from the British, who sneaked the bronze by just 0.6 points from the Australians. The Olympic Champions would leave Helsinki empty-handed. “Oh well, you can’t have things go your way all time,” said Jensen. “I guess we’ll have to do some practice.” And practice is what they will need if they’re to reclaim the mantle of invincibility from the New Zealanders who have gone unbeaten since taking the Olympic silver medal two years ago at London 2012.

“We’re stoked to win,” said Tuke. “We loved the racing here, especially the theatre-style racing we did today. It was just awesome sailing.” Next stop for the Kiwis and many of the other top teams in the 49er and 49erFX is Rio de Janeiro for the Olympic test regatta next month.

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