Big breeze tests limits at ISAF Sailing World Cup

Published on April 3rd, 2014

Palma de Mallorca, Spain (April 3, 2014) – French Nacra 17 World Champion Billy Besson described racing at Trofeo Princesa Sofia – ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca like riding a rodeo bull as 20-25 knots meant the limits of sailors’ were tested. Southerly breeze whipping up wild winds and five metre swells pushed the nine fleets that got out racing to the max.

Due to the size of the event, the racing schedule among the 10 Olympic events and 1 Paralympic event is staggered each day to share the venue. With wind increasing during the day, the final group – Mens and Womens 470 – was unable to compete due to excessive conditions.

The arrival today of the USS Harry S. Truman aircraft carrier in the bay of Palma also led to some adjustments in the event plan.

The US Navy vessel was anchored in the bay with a 1000 meter restriction area in which no boat can sail and a 2400 meter area in which it is forbidden to stop. These exclusion areas forced the Laser course to be moved and reduced the leg length of the RS:X course due to the wind direction today.

The event organizers learned last week of the 1092-feet long carrier’s arrival today, which will remain anchored until Sunday. The racing on Friday is expected to be impacted, but the Medal Races on Saturday will be sailed close to shore, so the air carrier will have no impact on the racing.

Here are the North American athletes near the top of their events:
Women’s 470: 6. Anne Haeger/ Briana Provancha (USA)
Finn: 11. Caleb Paine (USA); 12. Greg Douglas (CAN)
Laser Radial: 8. Isabella Bertold (CAN)

Racing resumes on Friday with the Medal Races on Saturday April 5.


Nacra 17
France’s Billy Besson described the racing like riding a rodeo bull as he and Marie Riou held on to the lead in the Nacra 17.

Besson and Riou finished third from the single Nacra 17 race and open up a 21 point gap at the top of the pack. After racing Besson said, “Keeping ourselves safe was our priority. It’s really difficult in the big breeze and it was like riding a rodeo bull because you just want to keep on the boat.

“The wind was really strong so throughout the race we concentrated on keeping the boat secure. We capsized but we came back and afterwards we said ‘okay, let’s be very careful’ because we had a lot of boats capsize.”

Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) retain second on 39 points with Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) a point behind.

Bundock and Curtis won gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne and are happy they’ve been tested in a range of conditions against the crème of the Nacra 17 crop. “Everyone who is campaigning for the Rio 2016 Olympics is here so it’s a good chance to check in where you are in your campaign,” said Bundock. “For us we’ve only just started, this is our third regatta and we’re pleased to be in third spot after such a short time in the class.”

Curtis added, “The fleet is changing all the time, techniques, people going fast in different conditions so we’re trying to get the best bits from the other teams. It’s good because all the teams are lining up together in all these different conditions.”

The day’s race win went to Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) who are fourth overall.

The Laser fleet headed out onto the race course for an 11:00 start expecting to be pushed to their limits.

Ahead of racing Cyprus’ Pavlos Kontides explained the scenario, “There are some crazy conditions out there compared to what we have back home. If you want to call yourself one of the best in the world then you have to be able to sail in all kinds of conditions.”

Kontides’ training partner Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) echoed the Cypriot as they took to the water with 25 knots of breeze on the cards, “Today will be very hard and we are all really looking forward to pushing ourselves.”

And push themselves is what exactly what they did with three races completed in an increasing breeze.

Robert Scheidt (BRA) was able to hold onto his lead as he explained after racing, “Today was kind of rough. I had a third, a fourth and in the last race I didn’t do so well. I capsized two times as the breeze picked up too much and it was tough to handle. It got really windy and was on the limit.

“I’m still in the hunt and tomorrow is going to be a big day.”

Scheidt finished 24th in the final race of the day and discards the result. He has an eight point lead over Tom Burton (AUS) who enjoyed his best day on the water. “It was pretty good for me today,” said Burton after racing. “I got a six, two and three and it was definitely testing conditions, the races were pretty long and it was really windy.

“I haven’t been going the best but I’m trying to be consistent and today was probably my best day consistency wise.”

Germany’s Philipp Buhl also sailed well in the big breeze and is now third overall.

The day’s race wins went to Kontides, Andy Maloney (NZL) and Nick Thompson (GBR).

Laser Radial
Double bullets from Evi Van Acker (BEL) moved her into third overall in the Laser Radial but long-time rival Marit Bouwmeester (NED) still holds the lead.

Bouwmeester has only finished out of the top three once and in a range of conditions has demonstrated her versatility. On her week so far Bouwmeester said, “We started off with light wind conditions and I was having a good regatta, I was not so sharp today but hopefully I can change that through the next few days.

“It has been a lot of fun racing, there are a lot of good girls here, it’s good competition.”

Van Acker added a sixth to her double bullets to move up nicely whilst Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) separates the Belgian and Dutch sailor in second.

World #1 Mathilde de Kerangat (FRA) took the final race win of the day.

Men’s RS:X
Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) overtook Pierre le Coq (FRA) in the Men’s RS:X following another steady day of racing.

From eight Men’s RS:X races Kokkalanis has delivered top five results in all and is two points clear of le Coq. Kokkalanis said, “Today’s racing was really fun with planing conditions. It was really hard core conditions with a lot of waves and strong wind, it was fun. I’m really stable and doing really good.”

The French battle for one of two Rio test event spots continues to ramp up and le Coq, in second, leads the way. Julien Bontemps (FRA) moved up to third following a second, a discarded OCS and a final race bullet. Bontemps dislodged Louis Giard (FRA) who falls to sixth.

On being the leading French racer le Coq said, “It is a really important event. There are three French guys at the top so there is a big fight.

“Today the wind was really strong so we have to be really reactive. I had 2 good races and one in 12th. For now I’m pretty happy with the week and hope I will continue like that.”

Nimrod Mashich (ISR) and Thomas Goyard (FRA) took the days other race wins.

Women’s RS:X
Charline Picon (FRA) has opened up a 15 point lead in the 56 strong Women’s RS:X fleet as she revelled in the big breeze.

The French racer opened up her day in fine form taking a bullet and backed it up with a second. An eighth in the final race gives Picon a healthy lead going into the penultimate day.

Overnight leader Peina Chen (CHN) dropped to second and World #1 Bryony Shaw (GBR) is in third.

Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) relished the breezy conditions and won all three 49erFX races on the fourth day of racing.

The Danes were truly dominant but Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) continue to lead after yet another consistent day of racing. The Brazilians picked up a 5-2-5 score line and a 15th in Race 5 is their only finish outside of the top five.

Grael and Kunze lead on 22 points followed by the Danes on 25 points. Great Britain’s Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth are third on 52 points.

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) and Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang (DEN) shared the race victories in the 49er and occupy the leading spots.

The Kiwis came fifth in the opening race and won the second by just two seconds over Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT). The Danes had an equally close race finish in the first of the day and overcame Nico Delle – Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) by six points.

Burling and Tuke have a healthy 18 point lead over the Danes at the top of the leader board.

Despite not finishing the final race of the day Great Britain’s David Evans and Ed Powys remain on the podium with two days to spare. An eighth in the opening race was enough for them to go into the penultimate day with a two point advantage over Diego Botín and Pablo Turrado (ESP) in fourth.

Giles Scott (GBR) solidified top spot in the Finn after he won both of the day’s races.

Scott was dominant in the strong breeze and is eight points clear of the week’s early leader Thomas Le Breton (FRA). Jonathan Lobert (FRA) trails his compatriot by 12 points in third.

It was another excellent day for Helena Lucas (GBR) in the 16-boat 2.4mR as she recorded her fifth race victory.

Megan Pascoe (GBR) brought Lucas’ winning run to an end in the fifth race as she came through to defeat her compatriot and take her first bullet of the week. However in the second Lucas was back on track and at the top of the pack.

Heading into the final day of 2.4mR racing Lucas leads by five points and if she continues to display marvellous consistency then the gold will be hers.

Source: Event media

Background: The ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca (Mar. 29-Apr 5) is the fourth stop on the five event 2013-14 ISAF Sailing World Cup. The season has been to Qingdao, China (Oct 12-19); Melbourne, Australia (Dec. 1-8); and Miami (Jan 25-Feb 1); and will continue on after Palma, Spain to conclude in Hyeres, France (Apr. 19-26). The ISAF Sailing World Cup is open to the sailing classes (equipment) chosen for the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Sailing Competitions. –

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