Qualifying continues at Nations Cup Grand Final

Published on April 11th, 2019

San Francisco, CA (April 11, 2019) – The second day of the 2019 World Sailing Nations Cup Grand Final continued with the first stage which has the Open and Women’s teams complete a single round robin series to advance the top five teams in each fleet. The remaining teams are directed to the Repechage Round Robin in which the top team in each fleet joins the other five to vie for the title.

The event is held in J/22s on April 10-14, 2019. For event format, click here.

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Daily report from St. Francis Yacht Club:

Maxime Mesnil (FRA) dominated the Open Division during the second day of racing at the 2019 World Sailing Nations Cup Grand Final. In the Women’s Division Nicole Breault (USA) and Pauline Courtois (FRA) continued to rack up wins through the afternoon, sailing into a late afternoon face-off with seven wins each; the eighth was Breault’s.

Mesnil opened the day winning a tight race against Henrique Haddad (BRA), who’s standing at second place after completing Stage 1 of the round robin. In a morning plagued by a delayed start, fluky wind and unpredictable current on the Cityfront course at St. Francis Yacht Club, Mesnil went on to display smooth, economic boat handling skills as he battled with Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZ) and Ettore Botticini (ITA). Mesnil won against the Kiwis, but stallied out in a twist of luck against Botticini, who managed to hang onto the edge of a wind line and finish first, keeping him in the running as they head into day three of racing.

“We had a very good day and we sailed fast,” said Mesnil. “We lost that match, but we won the stage.”

Haddad, who hasn’t match raced since the 2013 Nations Cup and is sailing with a tactician, Leonardo Lombardi, who’s never match raced in his life, said the opportunity to sail on San Francisco Bay outweighed the uncertainty of how they might do. “We’re very pleased with our performance,” he said, adding, “It’s not done yet.”

James Hodgson (AUS), now sitting at third place, opened the day with a loss to David Rae (RSA) followed by two wins, one against his Kiwi neighbors. “They beat us at our last event, the Hardy Cup in Sydney, so it was definitely good to get one up on them,” said Hodgson, who noted that the racing has been consistently close, “which you expect at an event like this. No race is easy. Usually we have a couple where we can keep it simple and win on speed. No one here is taking it easy.”

Breault went into the day knowing she’d be up against the top-ranked skippers at the competition and was hoping to lock in at least two wins. “We raced Anna Östling in the second match and I knew it was going to be huge. It was getting windy. We were able to luff her in the pre-start and timed it perfectly, holding it just long enough so she had to peel off to port and we were able to start ahead. On that upwind, we felt ready for the breeze. We were hiking really hard, trimming in sync and we felt really fast,” recounted Breault, who’s defending her Nations Cup title against women she emphasizes are just plain good. “The boat handling and pre-start action has been phenomenal.”

Up against Courtois, Breault said, “Pauline had control of us in the beginning,” but, “we had an awesome set, shot downwind, no engagement and it turned into a drag race.”

Courtois went on to win her remaining matches and sits at second place. Östling, poised at third place and one win up on Allie Blecher (USA) and Juliana Senfft (BRA), said, “We need to stay on our toes.”

Racing continues tomorrow with Women’s Division skippers competing in the morning and Open Division just after midday.

About the Nations Cup
The inaugural Nations Cup in 1991 saw six regional qualifiers in each of Denmark, Italy, Greece, Brazil, Bermuda and Japan, with the Grand Final in Barcelona, Spain. At that time only sailed in an Open division, the title was won by Ed Baird (USA). The 1991 Nations Cup Grand Final was the climax of over 1,000 races sailed by some 50 countries.

Moving onto 1993, preceding the Grand Final in Holland, the qualifiers were held in Finland, France, United Arab Emirates, Peru, USA and Singapore, with Roy Heiner (NED) taking the Open Title and Helena Strang (SWE) the Women’s event.

The 1995 event saw San Francisco, USA host the Grand Final, with the qualifying events in South Africa, Croatia, New Zealand, Ireland, Canada and Chile. The Open Event was won by South Africa’s Bruce Savage, with the Women’s title claimed by Susan Walters (AUS).

The ISAF Nations Cup was successfully re-launched in 2006 with eight Regional Finals leading to the Grand Final in Cork, Ireland. France completed a double victory with skippers Mathieu Richard and Claire Leroy leading their teams to victory in both the Open and the Women’s division.

In 2009 competitors from more than 40 nations contested the Regional Finals held in Antibes, Auckland, Brindisi, Buenos Aires, Charleston, Kinsale, and Mumbai, whilst Porto Alegre in Brazil played the host of the Grand Final. Brazil saw some of the world’s best match racers representing their countries, but France repeated their achievement of 2006 to win both titles again with skippers Claire Leroy and Damien Iehl.

The 2011 ISAF Nations Cup Grand Final was hosted in Sheboygan, USA. Claire Leroy won her third consecutive title for France with Laurie Jury skippering a New Zealand team to victory in the Open event.

In 2013 Denmark won the rights to host the Nations Cup in Middelfart with the support of the Triangle region. Australia’s David Gilmour the 22-year-old son of Peter Gilmour brought home the Cup to Australia and the Women’s title went to Brazil with Juliana Senfft as skipper – the first ever Nations Cup victory for Brazil.

Vladivostok, Russia hosted the last edition of the Nations Cup in 2015. Russia’s Vladimir Lipavsky took the title in the Open division and Nicole Breault from the United States of America claimed the Women’s title.

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