Big breeze day at 49er/49erFX Europeans
Published on May 14th, 2019
Weymouth, England (May 14, 2019) – The second day of the 49er and 49erFX Europeans completed three races for both the men and women as they continue in the qualifying stage of the championship.
49er: A Bag of Bullets for Burling
They’re not long back in the boat after their two-and-a-half year holiday in the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race, but already New Zealand’s Peter Burling and Blair Tuke are back at the top in the 49er after firing three bullets in a row today. “Nice day out,” smiled a typically straightforward Burling, checking carefully over every part of the rig after a testing outing for the 96-boat fleet.
It’s not that it was uber-windy, but the easterly breeze had kicked up some big waves in Weymouth Bay, offering plenty of opportunity for an unwanted high-speed pitchpole. The Antipodeans are muscling in on the European party, both Kiwis and Aussies enjoying the big breeze, big wave conditions.
The only European team in the top four is Spain’s Diego Botin and Iago Lopez who were almost as dominant as the Kiwis in their third of the qualifying draw, scoring 2,1,1. “It’s so nice to be racing in good conditions again,” said Lopez. “Today was a great day for 49er sailing.”
The Spaniards are just a point off the Burling/Tuke lead, and just two points adrift of the Spanish are the Aussie brothers Will and Sam Phillips who scored three second places behind the unstoppable Kiwis.
“Got to be pretty happy with that,” said Will after snapping at the heels of the reigning Olympic Champions all day. “Still a long list of things to work on, but we’re getting there with our starting and boat speed was pretty solid.”
His favourite bit of the day was the two-sail blast back across Portland Harbour, back in the relative safety and comfort of the flat water after the lumpy challenge of the Bay.
Rio 2016 bronze medallists Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel were fast out of the blocks in the morning, winning their first heat, but ran out of steam as the day progressed. “I was getting tired,” smiled Heil, sounding like a broken man.
They pitchpoled in race two but recovered to a still respectable 10th place. “I was losing concentration because we were getting tired.” Then they capsized again in the final race of the afternoon, this time only managing an 18th. Despite their topsy-turvy moments, the Germans hold on to 7th place overall.
Austria’s Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl struggled in yesterday’s conditions but got their mojo back on day two, scores of 1,1,5 lifting them to 12th overall. Great Britain’s Chris Taylor and Sam Batten had just put together a good set of results – 7,4,9 – and were enjoying the ride back home across the harbour when their forestay snapped at the top terminal.
“The rig dropped back but the boom sat on the leeward wing and sort of supported the mast until we had time to re-tie the kite halyard as a temporary forestay,” said Taylor. So no real harm done, and a big day’s sailing that has planted a big grin on every face of the 49er fleet.
49erFX: Britain and Brazil tied after flat-water harbour blast
The two halves of the 49erFX qualification series took place today in a 15-18 knots easterly in Portland Harbour, delivering spectacularly fast conditions for the women’s skiff fleet.
While Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey have upped their game significantly in lighter conditions, the British duo were back in their favorite breeze – strong and gusty. Scores of 1,1,2 lift them to top of the leaderboard, tied on points with second-placed Brazilians, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze.
A container ship near the Portland shore on the right-hand side of the course prevented a straightforward tack into the corner, forcing a couple more tacks out of the teams.
“We quite liked the container ship there,” said Dobson. “It made it a bit more interesting. The gusts were pretty hard though, you couldn’t see them coming. There’s quite a lot of weight in the wind and being so close to the shore there wasn’t much warning before the next gust hit. So it kept you on your toes, you couldn’t really relax for a moment.”
The Brits’ closest rival on their side of the draw is the young Swedish team who were leading after day one, Vilma Bobeck and Malin Tengstrom, who continue to tear round the track at high speed, scoring 7,4,1 from the day. “We train with them a lot,” said Dobson. “They’re probably a bit faster than us in the breeze but we managed to be a bit more consistent on the race course.”
The other side of the draw saw a three-way battle play out between three 49erFX World Champions past and present. The reigning Olympic Champions, Grael and Kunze, had the best of it with 1,1,3. The Olympic silver medallists from New Zealand, Alex Maloney and Molly Meech, notched up an ever-improving 3,2,1, lifting them to fifth overall, one place behind the other high performer of the day, the reigning World Champions Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz of the Netherlands.
The Dutch were still grinning after a fun day on the water that brought them scores of 2,3,2. “We love that stuff,” said Bekkering. “We don’t get to sail in such flat water very often, and the boats were flying today.”
Bekkering and Duetz are definitely enjoying the weather so far in Weymouth, although the breeze is set to drop in the coming days. They’re strong in all conditions, but so far the higher wind – which floated between 15 and 20 knots – is making life harder for their rivals for Dutch Olympic selection.
A few weeks ago Odile van Aanholt and Marieke Jongens won the Hempel Sailing World Cup regatta in Genoa, Italy, in very light winds. This gives them a significant advantage going into the second and final part of the Olympic trials here in Weymouth. So far, Bekkering and Duetz are doing a good job of staying in the fight, but that is exactly what the reigning World Champions need to do if they hope to stay in contention for that coveted place at Tokyo 2020.
The 2019 Volvo Europeans for the Olympic 49er and 49erFX Classes will be on May 13 to 19 in Weymouth, England.
49erFX – Day Two Results (Top 5 of 57; 6 races, 1 discard)
1. GBR Charlotte Dobson, Saskia Tidey 8
2. BRA Martine Grael, Kahena Kunze 8
3. SWE Vilma Bobeck, Malin Tengstrom 10
4. NED Annemiek Bekkering, Annette Duetz 10
5. NZL Alex Maloney, Molly Meech 14
49er – Day Two Results (Top 5 of 96; 7 races, 1 discard)
1. NZL Peter Burling, Blair Tuke 7
2. ESP Diego Botin, Iago Mara Lopez 8
3. AUS Will Phillips, Sam Phillips 10
4. NZL Logan Dunning Beck, Oscar Gunn 12
5. GER Justus Schmidt, Max Boeme 18
North American Results:
Top ten or top position
49er (7 races): 22nd Ian Barrows/ Mitchell Kiss (USA)
49erFX (6 races): 9th Alexandra ten Hove/ Mariah Millen (CAN)
Competing from North America:
Canada: William Jones/ Evan DePaul
USA: Andrew Mollerus/ Ian MacDiarmid, Judge Ryan/ Hans Henken, Ian Barrows/ Mitchell Kiss, Nevin Snow/ Dane Wilson, Harry Melges/ Finn Rowe
Canada: Alexandra ten Hove/ Mariah Millen
USA: Stephanie Roble/ Maggie Shea, Paris Henken/ Anna Tobias
Monday 13 May – Qualifying Races
Tuesday 14 May – Qualifying Races
Wednesday 15 May – Qualifying Races
Thursday 16 May – Qualifying or Fleet Races
Friday 17 May – Fleet Races
Saturday 18 May – Fleet Races
Sunday 19 May – Fleet Races, Medal Races
Source: Port Tack Racing