Sailing World Champs going to the wire
Published on August 15th, 2023
The Hague, Netherlands (August 15, 2023) – Piotr Cichocki (POL) clinched Men’s Hansa 303 gold at the Allianz Sailing World Championships while the Women’s Hansa 303 is set for a thrilling finale in The Hague.
Three bullets for Cichocki ensured the Pole cannot be caught with just one race to come, while his compatriot and training partner Olga Gornas-Grudzien (POL) has the chance to match him when racing resumes tomorrow.
Elsewhere Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE) have put themselves in a strong position to claim the 49erFX title before the medal race while Max Maeder (SGP) laid down a marker in the Formula Kite Men.
All the classes were on the water today with the exception of the Open One Person Technical, 2.4m Norlin MK III. The schedule for tomorrow has all fleets on the water.
Men’s Hansa 303
Piotr Cichocki (POL) has only finished outside the top two in the Men’s Hansa 303 once all regatta, and three bullets were enough to ensure that he cannot be caught with one race to go.
Cichocki has now won six of the nine races to date, with his nine-point advantage over Takumi Niwa (JPN) enough to guarantee gold.
“This regatta is super, we’ve had super wind, super weather, super organization, everything is super, and I am super!” Cichocki joked after his win.
Niwa has a 13-point buffer of his own ahead of tomorrow’s finale, meaning that he will come away from the Netherlands with silver, while Joao Pinto (POR) and Jens Kroker (GER) will battle for bronze.
Women’s Hansa 303
Cichocki was not the only sailor in Braassemermeer who had the chance to clinch gold, but the Women’s Hansa 303 will now go down to the wire.
Betsy Alison (USA) held a three-point lead going into the day, but a sixth-place finish in the first race opened the door to Olga Gornas-Grudzien. Gornas Grudzien (POL) took advantage by finishing second in that race before Alison responded with two bullets.
That leaves the American one point clear on 14 points with one race to go to decide the champion, while Alison Weatherly (AUS), Violeta del Reino del Valle (ESP) and Valia Galdi (ITA) are all still in the hunt for bronze.
Formula Kite Men
Two days into the Formula Kite Men and Singaporean 16-year-old Maximilian Maeder is fulfilling his unquestioned potential with three more bullets and a second place as he dominates the yellow fleet.
That is enough for a one-point lead over the man who beat him to gold a year ago in Cagliari, Toni Vodisek (SLO) in the blue fleet, while Axel Mazella sits third, three points further back.
And while Maeder admits that he had to ride his luck on the first day of competition, it was a completely different story on day two as he consistently stayed clear of the field. He said, “It really doesn’t get much better. I’m very happy that I was so poised and ready. It’s such a phenomenal achievement that I can’t really put it into words. It’s great.
“The conditions were much, much steadier and it was much more a measure of skill in your riding rather than your tactical prowess and your ability to read the wind along with some good luck.
“Yesterday, I told everyone that I needed to go and buy a lottery ticket because some of the things that happened to me at certain moments really were something that you can’t plan. They went my way. You always need a little bit of luck, even for the best of us, and I’m happy that it was on my side.”
Noah Runciman (USA) scored all top-10 finishes in the day’s four races, catapulting him seven places up the leaderboard to 19th overall going into the final day of the qualifying series.
Vilma Bobeck and Rebecca Netzler (SWE) are primed to wrap up gold ahead of the medal race in the 49erFX, although struggles in the final race of the day ensured they still have some work to do.
The Swedish duo, who have been in impressive form all regatta despite far from ideal preparation, finished second and third in the first two races of the day, before a 19th place in the final race of the gold fleet.
Even with that setback, they sit on 19 points, 36 clear of nearest rivals Olivia Price and Evie Haseldine (AUS). As a result, even with double points in the medal race, the Swedes could secure an unassailable lead with a strong showing in the last three qualification races.
US Sailing Team’s Steph Roble and Maggie Shea ended their day with a race win in the 49erFX gold fleet, bringing their bullet count to three for the event and rocketing them to third overall going into day six.
While there is a clear leader in the 49erFX, that is certainly not the case in the 49er, where James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) have roared back into contention.
After winning the only race in the red fleet, the pair won the first two races in the gold fleet and despite struggling in the last, they are up to third overall on 46 points.
Sterritt said, “We had two amazing races, two firsts, and a bit of a disappointing one in the last one. We’ve had a really consistent series up until this point so we managed to drop that one and we are right on the tails of the top two boats so overall, a really good day.”
The top two are split by just 0.2 points after 12 races, Diego Botin and Jan Trittel (ESP), on 39.8 points, with reigning champions Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken (NED) just behind them on 40 in what is currently a reverse of last year’s gold and silver.
Andrew Mollerus and Ian MacDiarmid (USA) ended on a high note in 49er gold with a race win and advanced to 6th place overall with 5th only three points away. Ian Barrows and Hans Henken (USA) moved into 11th overall in the 49er gold fleet and have their sights set on clearing 10th on the last day of finals racing to qualify for the medal race on August 18th.
Keiju Okada and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) underlined their status as the top crew in the Mixed 470 as they took victory in the last race of the day.
That win, combined with an 18th place for Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort (GER) meant that the Japanese pair have a 24-point lead through eight races, with three more races scheduled for tomorrow ahead of the medal race.
Okada said, “We need to keep pushing hard and we should be champions. I think it will not be easy though.”
Joining Okada and Yoshioka on the provisional podium are compatriots Tetsuya Isozaki and Yurie Seki, but while there is a big lead at the top, just 11 points separate the teams in second and seventh with plenty still left to play for.
Louisa Nordstrom and Trevor Bornarth (USA) jumped an impressive eight places into 17th overall in the Mixed 470 gold fleet with 16th only three points ahead.
Formula Kite Women
Paris Test Event champion Lauriane Nolot is back on top in the Formula Kite Women, but has a huge British contingent chasing her down. The Frenchwoman won four of five races in the yellow fleet to surge into top spot on eight points, with Ellie Aldridge (GBR), who finished second to Nolot in Marseille, two points back.
Aldridge is one of four Brits in the top six with Lily Young third on 12 points, while Katie Dabson and Madeleine Anderson are fifth and sixth respectively.
Daniela Moroz (USA), who has won six successive world titles in the discipline, finds herself with work to do, sitting ninth overall.
Emma Wilson made a strong start to proceedings in the iQFOiL Women, with a bullet in the fourth race and finishing inside the top four in each of the five heats to sit first overall.
The Brit has a two-point lead over 2021 world champion Helene Noesmoen (FRA), who finished the day by taking the last two races in the yellow fleet. Wilson, the Olympic bronze medalist, leads the way however, impressing in the yellow fleet, with China’s Zheng Yan starting and finishing strongly as she won the first and fifth races to sit third.
Nicolo Renna (ITA) finished with two bullets in the iQFOiL Men to move up to second overall but hometown hero Luuc van Opzeeland is the man to beat as it stands. The Dutchman sits on 14 points, four clear of Renna, while defending champion Sebastian Kordel (GER) is now third.
While it is still very early in the competition, Van Opzeeland is currently on course to complete the full set of World Championship medals, having won bronze in 2021 before silver last year in Brest.
On a day where the conditions made it tricky for the ILCA 7 sailors to race, Micky Bennett (GBR) took the limited opportunities that came his way and now sits top of the leaderboard after four races.
Finishing third and then second in the blue fleet, Bennett has a one-point lead over Pavlos Kontides (CYP) at this early stage, while Philipp Buhl (GER) is third after winning the second race of the day in the yellow fleet.
RS Venture Connect
Ange Margaron and Olivier Ducruix (FRA) had already clinched gold in the RS Venture Connect, and the first gold medal of the Allianz Sailing World Championships, but silver and bronze have not yet been decided.
There was just one race in the class today, with Pau Homar Munar and Ramos Gutierrez Alcantara (ESP) taking it in the blue fleet to stay in podium contention.
They edged out Pedro Reis and Guilherme Ribeiro (POR), who will need to wait another day to secure silver, sitting two points clear of John McRoberts and Scott Lutes (CAN), who in turn have a two-point lead on the Spanish pair.
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