Day three at Sailing World Champs
Published on August 13th, 2023
The Hague, Netherlands (August 13, 2023) – Olympic champion Matt Wearn (AUS) insists he can summon the spirit of Tokyo to battle from behind and conjure a stirring comeback at the 2023 Allianz Sailing World Championships.
The recent Paris 2024 Test Event winner endured a difficult day on Dutch waters as Croatian Tonci Stipanovic racked up a brilliant pair of bullets to lead over Great Britain’s Micky Beckett on the opening day of ILCA 7 racing.
Hungarian Maria Erdi and Italian Carolina Albano sit level at the top of the ILCA 6 standings ahead of British sailor Daisy Collingridge while in the 49er, Spanish stars Diego Botin and Florian Trittel are now hot on the heels of home favorites Bart Lambriex, and Floris van de Werken after a superb Sunday in the Netherlands.
Sweden’s Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler still sit at the summit of the 49erFX standings in splendid isolation, while Italians Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti continued to set the red-hot pace in the Nacra 17.
And in the para classes, German giant Heiko Kroeger and French duo Ange Margaron and Olivier Ducruix extended their perfect records as American great Betsy Alison and Polish powerhouse Piotr Cichocki also enjoyed days to remember.
All four Para classes raced today along with five of the 10 Olympic events. This was also the final day for qualifying in the 49er, 49er FX, and Nacra 17 classes. The schedule tomorrow has the Skiff and Hansa 303 events getting an off day as the kites and windsurfers begin their racing.
Australian Wearn was far from his fluent best on the ICLA 7 class’s opening day as two-time Olympic silver medalist Stipanovic stole the show.
The experienced Croatian grabbed two blue fleet victories as Michael Beckett (GBR), who had gold snatched away from him by Wearn at last month’s Test Event in Marseille, finished third and first in the yellow fleet.
Wearn could only muster two 11th-place finishes in the blue fleet as Cypriot Pavlos Kontides finished fourth and second in those races to lie third in the overall standings ahead of Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR).
Wearn, 27, recovered from a similarly slow start to grab Olympic gold in Tokyo two summers ago and says channeling memories of that fightback can fuel a rousing Dutch turnaround.
“[Tokyo] definitely does cross the mind – even though things might not be great now, there’s still a lot of racing ahead,” said Wearn. “I always knew it was going to be a long and tough week – I definitely think about it every now and then and I’ve just got to keep pushing.”
Beckett, who trails Stipanovic by two points heading into the second day of racing, added: “You can’t win anything on day one but you can lose a lot, and I haven’t lost it.”
Maria Erdi (HUN) bounced back from a fifth-place finish in the opening race to record a bullet in the second and sit level on points with Carolina Albano (ITA) at the top of the ILCA 6 standings.
Home favorite Marit Bouwmeester (NED) triumphed in the first blue fleet race of the day but was unable to emulate those exploits in the second as Erdi toppled Australian Mara Stransky.
And in the yellow fleet, Albano similarly improved on her fourth-place finish in the opening race to trail Romanian Ebru Bolat in the second and lie level with Erdi on six points.
Beckett’s compatriot Daisy Collingridge currently occupies the bronze medal spot after an eighth and fourth on an eventful opening day, six points adrift of Erdi and Albano and just one ahead of chasing trio Lucia Falasca (ARG), Charlotte Rose (USA), and Julia Busselberg (GER).
British star James Peters hopes he can take valuable momentum from his final race bullet heading into the remainder of 49er racing.
Peters and Fynn Sterritt secured red fleet glory but it’s still Lambriex and Van de Werken who are leading the charge after solid third, fifth, and second-place finishes.
Botin and Trittel are just 1.8 points behind in second, however, recording two bullets and a second in the red fleet to cut the gap on their Dutch rivals.
Polish pair Lukasz Przybytek and Jacek Piasecki secured a blue fleet victory to sit in the bronze medal spot ahead of Swiss stars Sebastien Schneiter and Arno de Planta.
Peters and Sterrit are five points behind that duo. “It does feel good – I know it’s only early in the regatta but it does feel like we can be competitive,” noted Peters, 30. “We feel in good shape both physically and mentally and feeling quite positive going into the next few days.”
Croatian brothers Mihovil and Katija Fantela sit sixth and Rio 2016 Olympic champion. “It was a solid day – we had two really great starts but were missing a bit of speed to be in the top three,” shared Mihovil, 37.
Super Swedes Bobeck and Netzler continued their searing start to the 49erFX class as two more yellow fleet bullets propelled them further towards the gold medal.
After recording perfection yesterday, the duo – whose preparation for the event has been hampered by a series of injuries – clinched two wins and a third 24 hours later to sit 15 points clear of Belgians Anouk Geurts and Isaura Maenhaut.
Australian aces Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine are in third, with British pairing Freya Black and Saskia Tidey’s pair of second-places in the yellow fleet hauling them to seven points off the podium spots.
Tita and Banti battled to three more bullets today to catapult them closer to Nacra 17 glory.
The impressive duo were stunned by Laila van der Meer and Bjarne Bouwer (NED) in yesterday’s first race but have now reeled off five on the bounce to lead Paul Kohlhoff and Alica Stuhlemmer (GER), who claimed a blue fleet bullet today, by six points.
British duo John Gimson and Anna Burnet sit in the bronze medal spot after two fifth-places and a third on Sunday, ahead of Van der Meer and Bouwer and Argentina’s Mateo Majdalani and Euge Bosco, who triumphed in the first blue fleet race of the day.
2.4m Norlin OD
Kroeger (GER) further solidified his hegemony at the summit of the standings after extending his unbeaten record with two more resurgent race wins.
Mirroring his victories on the opening day of racing, the German giant once again toppled David Di Maria (ITA) on two occasions as fellow Italian Antonio Squizzato, who had finished second behind Kroeger 24 hours earlier, came home third and fifth.
Di Maria now leads the race for silver with Niko Salomaa (FIN) trailing nine points behind Squizzato in the battle for bronze.
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Just like Kroeger, French duo Margaron and Ducruix continued their unblemished record with two more victories on the third day of racing in the yellow fleet.
But Portuguese pairing Pedro Reis and Guilherme Ribeiro remain close behind in the blue fleet after claiming second and third-place finishes to sit three points behind in the standings.
Canadians John McRoberts and Scott Lutes are also on the charge and after winning both races ahead of Reis and Ribero, now sit just a solitary point behind Spanish stars Pau Homar Munar and Roman Gutierrez – who finished second and fourth today – in the fight for the final spot on the podium.
Men’s Hansa 303
Cichocki continued where he left off yesterday with both a bullet and a second-place to make it two wins in three races over Japanese rival Takumi Niwa. He trailed the Asian ace in second in that opening race but bounced back to win the second ahead of Germany’s Jens Kroker to now sit three points clear at the top of the table.
Women’s Hansa 303
American great Betsy Alison surged to the summit of the standings with a brilliant pair of bullets to leapfrog Pole – and Cicocki’s training partner – Olga Gornas-Grudzien. Alison triumphed in both races as Gornas-Grudzien came second in the first but languished back in fourth in the second.
Violeta del Reino del Valle (ESP) chased home Alison in that contest to lead Australian Alison Weatherly, who finished third and sixth today, by one point in the battle for the bronze medal.
The Sailing World Championships are typically held every four years and serve as the primary qualification event for the upcoming Olympic Games along with hosting the Class World Championships. All 10 Olympic events and four Para Sailing classes will compete August 11-20 in The Hague, Netherlands.
Source: World Sailing
Paris 2024 Olympic Sailing Program:
Men’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 7
Women’s One Person Dinghy – ILCA 6
Mixed Two Person Dinghy – 470
Men’s Skiff – 49er
Women’s Skiff – 49erFx
Men’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Women’s Kiteboard – Formula Kite Class
Men’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Women’s Windsurfing – iQFoil
Mixed Multihull – Nacra 17
Venue: Marseille, France
Dates: July 26-August 11