Elimination day at Nations Cup 2019
Published on April 12th, 2019
San Francisco, CA (April 12, 2019) – The third day at World Sailing’s Nations Cup Grand Final began with the repechage Stage 2 for four Open Division teams and five Women’s teams, all competing for the chance to continue racing in Stage 3. Those two coveted spots were taken by Clare Costanzo (AUS) in the Women’s Division and Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZL) in the Open Division.
As a testament to just how close the sailing has been, the Women’s Division teams from Australia, Sweden, Finland, South Africa and Great Britain swapped wins and losses, resulting in an unbreakable three-way tie. Stage 1 standings came into play, allowing Costanzo to advance and leaving Johanna Bergqvist and Marinella Laaksonen on the sidelines for the remainder of racing at St. Francis Yacht Club.
“It finally feels like we got things under control and now it’s not enough,” said Bergqvist, who lost her first race of the day then had a fantastic comeback in a match against Laaksonen in which they battled tack for tack to the windward mark, rounding and setting in sync. Bergqvist, slightly behind and to port, was able to push Laaksonen off to the north enough to come ahead in the gybe and lay the finish in a beautiful bit of boat handling.
Bergqvist, Costanzo and Laaksonen with three wins each, all went on to win one against each other, creating an unbreakable tie settled in favor of Costanzo due to her higher ranking from Stage 1.
Excited to have the opportunity to continue competing, Costanzo called the next stage a “redemption round,” saying that she’d had close races with all the top women she would now face again.
“This morning, it was everything to lose and now it’s everything to win,” said her sister, Juliet Costanzo, who sails with her.
The Open Division raced a knock-out round, with Ettore Botticini (ITA) beating Kohei Ichikawa (JPN) 2-1 and Egnot-Johnson beating David Rae (RSA) 2-0, then going on to nab two more bullets against Botticini to advance to Stage 3.
Egnot-Johnson echoed the sentiment that the racing has been incredibly even and close. “Anyone could win this regatta,” he said. With minimal experience racing J/22s in the breeze-on conditions of San Francisco Bay, during Stage 3 he managed to score wins against front-runner Mesnil and Pearson Potts (USA).
Repechage winners Costanzo and Egnot-Johnson (NZL) joined the top five from the Stage 1 round robin series with the six teams in the Open and Women’s Divisions beginning the Stage 3 double round robin series.
Pauline Courtois (FRA) ran a picket fence while Nicole Breault (USA), who went into the day’s racing undefeated, suffered a loss to Anna Östling (SWE) in the first match, going on to win against Allie Blecher (USA), Juliana Senfft (BRA), and Clare Costanzo (AUS). The two leaders then faced off in the day’s final flight, with Courtois besting Breault.
In the Open Division, Pearson Potts (USA) had a string of losses but scored one against Open Division defending champion Vladimir Lipavsky (RUS), who had a sluggish day on the water with just one win against Henrique Haddad (BRA).
Maxime Mesnil (FRA) and James Hodgson (AUS) each have a 3-1 score line, but it remains anyone’s game as racing continues in the double round robin tomorrow, followed by the semi-finals.
The event is held in J/22s on April 10-14, 2019. For event format, click here.
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.
Source: St. Francis Yacht Club