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Strong winds continue at ISAF Sailng World Championship

Published on September 18th, 2014

Santander, Spain (September 18, 2014) – A southerly breeze in the region of 20 knots served up strong sailing conditions for Day 7 at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. With both light and strong winds having plagued the event, the conditions today provided a thrilling setting for the event’s first Medal Races, and a needed opportunity for the other fleets to catch up on the race schedule.

Among the 10 Olympic events, the Laser and Laser Radial fleets were first to hold their Medal Race, with Dutch dominance displayed by new World Champions Marit Bouwmeester (NED) and Nicholas Heiner (NED). Click here for full report.

Broadcast: ESPN3 will broadcast live coverage of the ISAF Sailing World Championships, featuring the Medal Race in each of the 10 Olympic events. Hosted by John Rawlings and Gary Jobson, the program on September 19 at 0800-1000 EDT will be the final RS:X Men and RS:X Women race. Click here to view.

Men’s 470
A demanding day for the 470 Men, who were first out on the race track just before midday, to race the gold/silver split decider on Murimar Course. The wins went to Japan’s world ranked #5 pair Kazuto Doi/Kimihiko Imamura and Croatia’s Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic. So the Croatians advanced safely to the gold fleet as series leaders, Panagotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis in 2nd and Sofian Bouvet/Jeremie Mion (FRA) in 3rd.

Relieved to get the qualification series wrapped up, teams headed ashore for a brief breather, lunch and awaited confirmation of the Gold and Silver fleet splits. With the world’s best 470 sailors now compressed into one fleet, it was soon back out for gold fleet racing, where Australia’s defending World Champions left no doubts on their performance, opening their assault with two back to back race wins, leaping up from a leaderboard 11th at the start of today to headline the 37-boat fleet.

“It’s been an interesting week,” smiled Mat Belcher. “Certainly something that I really haven’t experienced before, so many different things, whether it’s race management concerns, the conditions have just been horrendous really, the fact of so much waiting and we are really far behind schedule still. I never thought we would be just doing two gold fleet races and then tomorrow’s the last day before the medal race. But, the conditions today were really difficult. So for us to come away with two race wins, we are really, really happy.”

Belcher edges ever closer to his fifth successive 470 World Championship win, and if he succeeds, it will mark his second title in partnership with Will Ryan. “The good thing is we have obviously been in this position before. We know how to finish a regatta.We are just focusing on ourselves, we are pretty happy with how we are sailing and hopefully we can keep it up tomorrow,” he concluded.

Going into the penultimate day of racing, Belcher/Ryan carry a 2.5 point lead over Fantela/Marenic, with Mantis/Kagialis in 3rd.

Twenty nations in the gold fleet are now in with a shot at securing one of the 13 nation places up for grabs at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. In country order, they are: Australia, Austria, China, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United States of America.

470 Men Gold Fleet races 7, 8 and 9 will take place on Telefonica Course with scheduled warning signal at 1100 hours. The 470 Men Silver Fleet races 7,8 and 9 will follow with a scheduled warning signal at 1330 hours.

Women’s 470
470 Women Gold Fleet racing got underway in the early afternoon for races 6, 7 and 8 and ended with the 2012 Olympic Gold Medallists and defending World Champions Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) leaping into the lead from their 1,4,2 scoreline. Just a point behind are overnight leaders Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT), with the USA’s Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha rounding out the top three, 5 points off the Austrians.

Coming ashore Aleh and Powrie had already left the competition on the race track and were into their own personal competition, comparing calorie counts from 3 back to back races. 2300 calories burnt for Jo and 2368 for Polly had them looking ahead to a calorie boosting supper tonight. “That means lots of food,” the pair said in unison. “On a day like today, when it is that windy, it is really physical,” added Aleh.

Today felt like the first proper day of Gold fleet racing for many of the teams, and the Kiwis are so far sitting pretty as the only team in the top 10 counting an all top 10 scorecard, so they still have room in case of any upsets.

“It’s been a long time coming in some ways, with a slow start to the regatta,” reflected Powrie. “Yeh, it was just great to get three races away today. We were racing right under the Caba Mayor, so it was pretty wind and pretty puffy and it got worse as the day went on. You had to keep your head out of the boat and it wasn’t over until it was over.”

With racing now back on schedule for the 470 Women Gold Fleet, teams can look forward to rounding out their Championship with two more races tomorrow to decide the top 10 teams advancing to the Medal Race and confirmation of the nations securing their place in the 470 Women fleet line-up for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. There are currently 9 nations sitting inside the top-10 cut, in a mix of young talent excelling alongside seasoned campaigners.

470 Women Gold Fleet races 8 and 9 will take place on Telefonica Course with scheduled warning signal at 1100 hours. The 470 Women Silver Fleet races 7,8 and 9 will follow with a scheduled warning signal at 1330 hours.

Women’s RS:X
Vive la France is that can be said about the amazing performance from Charline Picon who has already won gold in the 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships. She still needs to sail a Medal Race on Friday though, but it won’t affect her gold medal.

It was a catastrophic day for Polish Zofia Klepacka who went from second overnight to tenth overall after extremely poor racing (12,16,17) on Telefonica course and is therefore out of the medal hunt.

Two experienced windsurfers Maayan Davidovich (ISR) and home sailor Marina Alabau have climbed little by little throughout the regatta and are into second and third with two points separating them.

Britain’s Bryony Shaw is chasing the leaders but with ten points to climb it’s going be a tough task for her. Still the trickiest Duna Medal Race course can make a significant change in the expectations of the audience.

Chinese Jiahui Wu is fifth overall and is followed by Flavia Tartaglini (Italy), Lilian De Geus from Netherlands and Britain’s Isobel Hamilton with their final positions to be decided on the Medal Race outcome

Two brilliant races (4,1) were not enough to help Spain’s Blanca Manchon jump into the Medal Race as she missed out by a tiny three points .

Men’s RS:X
Three races were scheduled today for RS:X class on one of the furthest courses out, Telefonica, but they were sailed back to back extremely fast in the Men’s and Women’s Gold fleet.

A tricky south to south westerly breeze with big waves and strong current did not change the top RS:X Men, but made some adjustments to the top ten.

2013 RS:X World Champion and 2008 Olympic Bronze medallist Julien Bontemps (FRA) had another brilliant day (4,1,4) to have almost unbeatable 15-points lead over second place Piotr Myszka (POL). He plans to check out the Duna course before the Medal Race and then rely on his good and experienced sailing brain and technique.

Myszka scored two good ones (2,6) and discarded a 15th to have a three point advantage over his team mate and London-2012 Bronze medallist Przemyslaw Miarczynski, who’s kept consistent to protect his third position finishing 7,5,7.

France’s Thomas Goyard (9,2,10) and Byron Kokkalanis from Greece (5,3,13) both had good solid racing up until the last race and sit fourth and fifth overall. Those two have a chance to get to the podium if they sail a perfect Medal Race or the Polish lose their grip.

The last five men in the top ten unfortunately cannot deliver a medal for themselves, but can definitely affect the podium picture.

2013 RSX World Champion Britain’s Nick Dempsey hasn’t performed in his usual style at this event, six overall is obviously not his desirable place but two great last races (4,2) are a cool comfort for him.

A frustrating eighth overall for the London 2012 Olympic Gold medallist Dorian Van Rijsselberge could be possibly explained by a romantic mood after his recent marriage with beautiful Sasha Plavsic.

It’s been a pretty impressive performance for the French Team who have four Men’s RS:X sailors in the Medal Race on Friday.

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

Sailing conditions right on the limit greeted the 49erFX fleet as they tried to complete their qualifying series. It was a day where “If you kept the mast upright, that’s enough,” commented Denmark’s Katja Iversen. Her team mates, Ida Niesen and Marie Olsen did just that, winning both races in their group.

In the afternoon fleet it was local heroes Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) who won the session with a 2, 1 in the breezy conditions. Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) and Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (GBR) also scored well in what is still a very tight regatta. With only five races in three days there is still everything to play for and nothing decided. With all the top teams racing in gold fleet for the final three days we can expect some higher scores and the regatta to be decided among the top group.

On the Olympic qualification front there are 15 nations in the Gold fleet and only 10 Olympic qualifying places. DEN * 3, GBR * 3, BRA, ESP * 2, NED * 2, ITA, NZL, AUS * 3, GER * 3, FRA, IRL, NOR, SWE, FIN, & AUT are all going to be giving it their best to lock down an Olympic spot for their country.

The Gold fleet got under way in thrilling conditions for these top sailors. Three races were held in winds ranging from 15-25 knots, with a bit of shiftiness as well to really keep teams on their toes. The regatta really started to take shape today and that form is all black! Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) have extended their lead to over 25 points and still have a drop race to spare. Their 1, 8, 2, 1 today was the best point total on the day, and puts them in fantastic position to wrap up their second straight World Championship and extend their unbeaten streak which has been every regatta they’ve been in since London 2012.

The exclamation point on the day came late, as the 49er fleet was sent out for one final race on the Duna course to wow the evening crowds. The grandstands were literally bursting and Burling and Tuke passed the Irish team of Seaton and McGovern at the bottom of the second lap and then extended to a huge lead by the end of the race. There is no questioning they are a leg up on the rest right now.

The results were much more by the form book today than previous day, with no place to hide for teams in the strong breeze. Nico Delle Karth & Niko Resch (AUT), Jonas Warrer & Anders Thomsen (DEN), Nathan Outteridge & Iain Jensen (AUS) and Manu Dyen & Stephane Christidis (FRA) all sailed well with three races each in the top few and one small double digits to form a group in second to fifth. There is still a lot of great racing to go for these teams to fight amongst themselves.

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

Giles Scott (GBR) continued to extend his lead on the Finn fleet on the fourth day of racing. He now holds a 13 point lead after six races from Jonathan Lobert (FRA) and Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO).

It was another windy and shifty day on the course area with some big shifts mixing up the fleet. Scott recovered from a mid-fleet first mark rounding in race five to record his fifth race win of the championship from Lobert and Michele Paoletti (ITA).

Scott then looked to have a sixth race win all wrapped up, but Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) had other ideas and picked just the right course to take advantage of a late surge in the wind and passed underneath Scott just metres from the finish line to deny the Brit a perfect scoreline.

Scott said, “In the first race I was there or thereabouts half way up the first beat and then just got the wrong side of a big shift at the top and ended up rounding in the pack. On the second beat it just slowly started to clock right and I managed to take everything I could right. I managed to take lifts to the right which is what ended up making it so good. At the top it went really hard right and all the leading group had committed to getting across to the right, so I ducked their transoms and just before I got to the layline it flicked back to the mean direction. Better lucky than good.”

“In the second race there was a constant left shift all the way up the second beat and Ivan was out on the left and it stayed in long enough for him to get across but I just managed to round in front of him. But then on the last run he was inside of a big gust coming down on the right and just got me on the line.”

In the Silver fleet race wins went to Ben Cornish (GBR) and Giorgio Poggi (ITA).

Finn Reports courtesy of Robert Deaves, International Finn Class Association

Nacra 17
This morning the Nacra17 sailors were very keen to go on the water after the long lost day yesterday without racing. With only two races sailed in the Blue Fleet on Tuesday and one race in the Blue Fleet all teams wanted to finish the qualification with a total of five races at the end of the day.

After a heavy start of day with strong wind over 25 knots, around 12:00 the Blue fleet left the beach with around 20 knots of wind in the race area. During the day the wind dropped down to around 18 knots. Most of the sailors were very happy with this nice sailing day. For a few teams it appeared to be too heavy and they decided not to start, like the Hong Kong team of Tat Choi Fung & Yu Ting Chan, “We are very light together and still improving our experience. This morning it was too heavy for us and we did not want to take the risk to go out.”

After five races the French team of Billy Besson and Marie Riou are first overall. They finished second in Race 3, first in Race 4 and second in Race 5 in the Yellow Fleet. Besson said, “We are very happy we finished today the qualifications and will continue now in the Gold Fleet. We had excellent wind conditions with nice wind force but sometimes difficult with the wind shifts. We managed our day on the water good and are looking forward to the next coming days.”

Argentina’s Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranze Saroli also did very well in the Yellow Fleet with a third, second and eighth position. Overall they are now eighth. Lange said, “We missed the finish line in the last race because we were looking for the wrong finish boat and lost our second or third place in that race in the last meters before finishing. But anyway we are looking back at a very good day and we have got the feeling we are sailing better & better and are improving our skills very good during this year.”

Swiss team Matias Buhler & Nathalie Brugger are second overall before protests. The said, “This day was good, but not with nice feelings. Wind strength was very nice but with a lot of wind shifts, which makes it difficult. We finished today 2, 13, 1 and 8. In the second race we capsized in a stupid situation upwind and lost our position. And in the last race we had an awkward situation with the Danish team in the upwind leg, which perhaps might result in a protest. But we don’t know yet. We will see what will happen and look forward to sailing in the Gold Fleet.”

The British team of Pippa Wilson & John Gimson are third overall following a 2-4-3 yellow fleet scoreline.

Nacra 17 Reports Courtesy of Edwin Lodder, International Nacra 17 Class Association

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

Live Blog – A live blog will follow the ISAF Worlds from Thursday 11 September through to Sunday 21 September. The live blog is available here

Event websiteComplete resultsCanada reportUSA report


Report by ISAF media Photo by

Background: The best talent in the sailing world has gathered for the ISAF Sailing World Championships, attracting over 1,250 sailors from 84 nations to compete in each of the 10 Olympic class world championships. Racing is staggered from September 12-21, and provides countries with their first opportunity to secure event berths for the 2016 Olympic Games.

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