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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Beau Geste Wins NSW IRC Title at Sail Port Stephens

The red shirts have prevailed at the NSW IRC Championship staged over three days under the Pantaenius Sail Port Stephens banner.
Photo:  Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
Karl Kwok’s mighty TP52 Team Beau Geste, sailing for the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, overcame Tony Kirby’s Ker 46 Patrice from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in IRC division 1 results by four points. Third was Steven Proud’s Kernan 44 Swish from Middle Harbour Yacht Club.
Photo:  Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
Kwok’s boat captain Gavin Brady and a few of the older heads are breaking in a new young Kiwi team and the whiz kids, resplendent in red, showed plenty of potential.
Photo:  Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
At this evening’s trophy presentation, 24 year-old helmsman Will Tiller described what it was like driving a TP52 at 24 knots of boat speed, the equivalent of 44kph, when the ground’s moving and rising and the wind’s propelling the boat headlong. “It feels manageable as long as everything’s under control. Today was a bit awkward with the big swell, but it still felt good.”

Brady says the biggest lesson the young guys learnt during the state title was seamanship; preserving the boat and thinking ahead, particularly in today’s 3-4 metre swell. “Whether it’s the America’s Cup or Sail Port Stephens you can’t go airborne and break the boat. Then you don’t finish the race. Good seamanship is essential, and often underestimated.”

A natural phenomenon Brady hadn’t encountered in all his years of international competition occurred offshore today when sharks swam downwind with the boat and crossed the TP5’s bow. “I’ve never seen so many sharks…maybe 10…they definitely weren’t dolphins.”

Team Beau Geste is heading to Newcastle for the Audi IRC Australian Championship where there will be more competition, more boat-on-boat racing and more pressure admits Tiller.

Kirby and his “new look” Patrice crew are also looking forward to the rematch. “We had our best race against Beau Geste in the light stuff, one mistake and we were there. At Newcastle there will be other bigger boats and they won’t be able to sail their own race quite as much,” he said smiling.

In division 2 Roger Hickman’s red-shirted Wild Rose crew battled on with a torn mainsail for the final two windward/leeward races to put a regatta-winning eight point margin between the Farr 43 and Paul Clitheroe’s Beneteau 45 Balance, which snuck into second place on corrected time ahead of Andy Kearnan’s Summit 35 L’Altra Donna.

“It was a fantastic, well organised weekend and we loved racing against Paul, the consummate competitor and L’Altra Donna, a very exciting rival,” said Hickman, the new IRC state champion.

On the handbrake that is heading for the bin (he promises) Hickman had this to say, “We finished the first race nursing our torn main then in between races we hand stitched and patched it then three-quarters of the way up the first beat in the next race it blew again. We are pretty resilient. We never say die.”

Aboard for only her second regatta and first notable win was young Sam Scott from the Sunshine Coast, daughter of Andrew Scott who has been to sea with Hickman for the past 12 years. Though wet and cold as they tied up this afternoon the 18 year-old was beaming from ear-to-ear and according to reports proved herself a star, as well as helping to bring the average age of the crew down.

Wild Rose is not far off its 30th birthday celebrations and though the crew will always take the victory, the boat’s age and historical value does take some of the pressure off being all-conquering says the skipper. “Whether we win or lose we have fun, and the old girl’s history is always present.”

In the MC38 fleet Leslie Green’s Ginger crew managed to turn their fortunes around over six races to out-gun their classmates. Two bullets in today’s three windward/leewards were enough to put Ginger onto the podium ahead of John Bacon’s Dark Star, second on a countback, and offset yesterday’s very public sandbar grounding that cost them race two of the series and earned them maximum points, and jibes.

Those lucky enough to be part of the Pantaenius NSW IRC Championship have enjoyed the perfect going-over in a wide variety of conditions prior to Thursday’s commencement of the Audi IRC Australian Championship at Newcastle.

Friday was light, hot and sloppy offshore, Saturday was a heavy inshore day on flat water with rain squalls then sunshine and today, Sunday, April 13, the fleet encountered 15 knots gusting over 20 from the south west and big seas offshore on a grey, wet and very mild autumn day.

Lisa Ratcliff

Challenge Crowned Sydney 38 Victorian Champion ....Again.

After seven races sailed over two days in light conditions off Sandringham Yacht Club Lou Abraham's Sydney 38 Challenge has been crowned the Quantum Sails Sydney 38 Victorian Champion.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Sadly Lou was unable to race as he quietly passed away in February this year but his ever loyal crew lead by helmsman Mark Bulka and team manager Rowan Simpson, managed to fend of some very fierce competition from Geelong boat Pheonix and Andrew Robertson's Playground.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
"This one is for Lou. We have an awesome crew and they did an amazing job all weekend. We struggled a bit on the first day but today was magic. We got perfect starts and scored two bullets straight off the back, but on the last race we kind of lost the plot a bit by focussing on our main nemesis, Pheonix," Simpson said back at the dock after racing.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
"In preparation for the day's last race we decided to tighten the rig so Ian 'String' Taylor went up the mast to make the changes and in hindsight it was a mistake. We should have left things the way they were because the breeze never showed up," he added.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
Bulka, the current Contender World Champion, was relieved to win the event due to the very competitive fleet that pulled out all stops to to topple Challenge's dominance on this trophy.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
"It was certainly the toughest State Championships I have ever done in this class. The quality of the fleet continues to improve each year and we had to dig deep to stay at the pointy end of the the competition. A lot of the teams are bringing in some hot shots to help lift their performance," Bulka said.
Photo: Lulu Roseman
"It was a great fun regatta and winning it for the memory of Lou was extra special for the entire crew. This win means a hell of a lot to all of us."

For full results see>>>

Lulu Roseman

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Weather Delivers A Mixed Bag - Sail Port Stephens - Day 2

At Sail Port Stephens 2014 four seasons in one day perfectly describes day two. Looking around the magnificent bay there were literally microclimates in each corner; dark storm clouds on one side, sunshine on the other and wind ranging from five to near 30 knots late this afternoon when the Pantaenius NSW IRC Championship fleet finally broke out of the stalls in Salamander Bay.
Photo:  Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
Principal Race Officer Denis Thompson took the IRC fleet offshore this morning as planned, but a gust in the high twenties and updated forecast brought them back inshore. Then they had to find space on a crowded bay with all other divisions standing firm on their patch of water.
Photo:  Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
Performance Racing completed three short course sprints to the north of Salamander Bay and the MC38s two windward/leewards while Performance Cruising finished the iconic ‘pub to pub’ race from Shoal to Salamander Bay.
Photo:  Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
It’s busy at the top of Performance Racing division one results with one day remaining. Matthew Fensom’s modified Farr 40 Long Time Dead from Newcastle still leads the division after four races, but flanking them is Thomas Woods’ Farr 36 OD Toy Story from Lake Macquarie, also on 10 points.
Photo:  Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
The story reads the same in the MC38 division, John Bacon’s Dark Star from Pittwater moving into Kiwi territory, now on equal points and second on a countback to Howard Spencer’s Menace from Royal Akarana Yacht Club after three races.
Photo:  Craig Greenhill :: Saltwater Images
These boats go subterranean downhill in heavy weather and today Bacon had two feet of water over the deck. 'They are dicey downwind in big breeze so today we stayed conservative and kept mistakes to a minimum,' Bacon recalled. 'I was too scared to look at our running speed but I know it’s the hardest we’ve ever run under kite. The last two years of sailing came together for us.'

The Australian MC38 class is readying for a serious jab in the arm. Four new owners and crew who know a thing or two are soon to join the program and Bacon has amped up his in anticipation.

In the Pantaenius NSW IRC Championship overall pointscore Karl Kwok’s Team Beau Geste has kept Patrice at bay, but the margin is tight, just two points. Tactician on Tony Kirby’s Patrice, Darren Jones, realises a TP52 is going to be hard to beat given they are six foot longer and carry more sail area, plus they plane first when the bullets hit.

'The boys did a good job today,' said Jones. 'We have stepped up the crew with Jason Rowed on jib and spinnaker trim and Barney Walker on main. The way the pressure was pulsing down the track there was some luck involved. Sometimes it was our turn and sometimes it was Beau Geste’s. We’ll take the opportunities when we can.'

Showing they are not to be messed with in light or heavy airs Roger Hickman’s Wild Rose holds its IRC division two lead, now six points clear of L’Altra Donna after two more races in 25 knot average sou’westers punctuated by rain squalls.

Tomorrow is the final day of the three-day Pantaenius Port Stephens Trophy and on Monday April 14 the second stage, the Commodore’s Cup for cruising boats begins. The Bureau of Meteorology has a strong wind warning in place for Hunter Coastal waters for tomorrow, forecasting S-SW 20-30 knots easing to southerly 15-25 knots in the afternoon.

Lisa Ratcliff

ETNZ: Royal Racing

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ragamuffin Set To Shake Up Rolex China Sea Race

The 27th edition of the Rolex China Sea Race commences next Wednesday, 16 April. A fleet of 35 yachts are expected to take part including the defending champion and the line honours winning boat from the last edition in 2012.
Photo: Rolex / Daniel Forster
The 565-nm offshore race runs across the South China Sea from Victoria Harbour, Hong Kong to Subic Bay, The Philippines. First held in 1962, it has long been established as Asia’s principal offshore race.
Photo: Rolex / Daniel Forster
Favourite for line honours is the largest competing yacht: Syd Fischer’s Maxi Ragamuffin 90, the fastest boat on the water in 2012 under its guise as Genuine Risk.
Photo: Rolex / Daniel Forster
The defending champion is Jonathan Mahony’s 42-foot Zanzibarfrom Singapore, seeking to become the first boat since the mid-1960s to defend her title. Three highly competitive TP52s – Lucky, Standard Insurance Centennial and FreeFire – will push the leading boats close.
Photo: Rolex / Daniel Forster
The course record was set by Karl Kwok on his Volvo 60 Beau Geste with an elapsed time 47 hours, 43 minutes and 7 seconds in 2000.
Photo: Rolex / Daniel Forster
The 2014 Rolex China Sea Race commences at 13:20 local time onWednesday 16 April. The race is organized by the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC) and has been sponsored by Rolex since 2008.

Regatta News

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Gold Medals Clinked Loudly For Winners at ISAF World Cup in Mallorca

The medals across ten Olympic events were decided on the final day of racing at Trofeo Princesa Sofia - ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca. A light morning northerly breeze picked up as the day went on ensuring a full complement of Medal Races across the ten Olympic events were completed.

Men’s 470
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
The Men’s 470 lead went to and fro all week but Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) held their nerve to add a gold medal to their two silvers from the 2013-2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup series.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
Fantela and Marenic played second fiddle to Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG) at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao and to Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) at ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne. A disappointing fourth at ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami followed before they took their first gold of the series in Mallorca.

Holding a seven point lead going into the Medal Race the Croatians had breathing space as a sixth place sealed the deal. On their victory Fantela said, “In two words, really happy. We worked quite hard this winter, we’ve been to all of the World Cups and we really like that we won. For us this is the hardest race since we started and winning this means a lot to us.”
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
Fantela added, “Winning here is really special. All week we sailed really good and to end the regatta with such an interesting Medal Race was really fun and we are really happy with our performance.”
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
An OCS for Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente saw the Argentineans drop out of the top three. Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom were the benefactors of the Argentineans demise and having won the Medal Race they slipped into second.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) finished fifth in the Medal Race and whilst they end tied on 72 points with the Swedes they take bronze on of count back.

Women’s 470
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
Female ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) won the Women’s 470 Medal Race and with it gold as they made it three consecutive 200-point regatta wins in a row. The Kiwis who became World Champions in July 2013, took top spot at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao and have added Mallorca honours to their list.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
“It was a pretty stressful medal race, it went well for us but it was pretty hard work. The French were seven points clear of us and we knew we had to get three points between us to beat them. We stayed really close and came out of the start better. From there we just tried to sail the race, get away and get boats in between and we just managed to get enough boats in," Aleh said.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
“It took us a while to fire, we were a bit slow at the beginning but we’ve come right by the end.”
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
France’s Camille Lecointre and Hélène Defrance had held the lead in the Women’s 470 for the large part of the week but came undone on the final day as a sixth knocked them off gold medal position. They were made to settle for silver whilst bronze went to Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR).
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
49er

2013 49er World Champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) came into the final day with a healthy lead in the 49er. They maintained their consistency to pick up a deserved gold.

With 30 points from three single point races on the cards, anything was possible and even though they came into the final day with a 21 point lead, Burling and Tuke could have been overthrown.

The experienced duo, who also won silver at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition, were steady all day. After racing Tuke said, “It was really fun. We sailed really well and did what we had to do in the first race after the lead we’d created throughout racing this week. We then managed to get a win and it wasn’t such a great final race but it was a lot of fun.”

Burling echoed his team mate, “We obviously went into the Medal Race with a pretty comfortable margin but we still had a bit of work to do just to finish it off. We managed to do that in the first race and then we had a bit of fun.”

The 2013 49er World Champions are buoyed by their week and head into the remainder of the year full of confidence. Tuke added, “What we’ve got going on is going pretty well and we haven’t been beaten in a while so we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing. We certainly had our work cut out this week but we sailed better and better as it went on.”

There was no change in the remaining podium spots as Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang (DEN) added silver to their ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold whilst Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) won bronze.

49erFX

Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze maintained control in the 49erFX to take gold on the final day of racing.

With three single point quick fire races on the 49erFX race course anything was possible. The Brazilians raced steady and in three races they recorded a 5-3-7 to finish seven points clear of Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN) in silver medal position.

After racing Kunze said, “We are really happy about our week and reached our goal and hope to go to Hyeres and do the same thing there.”

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) picked up bronze.

Finn

Great Britain’s Giles Scott found the going tough in the Finn Medal Race as he came through in eighth. Fortunately for the Brit he had a solid advantage heading into the final day and picked up gold.

“The start was particularly good for me and the first beat,” said Scott. “I managed to get Thomas [Le Breton] where I needed him down the wrong end of the line and got on top of him up the first beat and covered him all the way to put him in last.

“Then I had my first of two yellow flags down the first run which put me a bit on the back foot. I got back in contention down the final run to receive another one so it was a bit touch and go but Thomas ended up finishing just one place in front of me which was enough for the win which was great.”

Scott had been strong all week and from nine races secured four victories. Despite the win he wasn’t 100% happy with his final day, “Massive frustration really, especially after having done what I thought was quite a good job early on in the race, to then make two very silly errors is pretty stupid. I was pretty frustrated towards the end but thankful that I had done enough to come away with the regatta win.”

Le Breton finished eight seconds ahead of Scott which was not enough for him to overthrow the Briton. Le Breton’s compatriot and London 2012 bronze medallist Jonathan Lobert ended up in third.

The Medal Race bullet went to Andrew Wills (GBR) who finished in fourth overall.

Men’s RS:X

Having fought hard for valuable points all week Pierre Le Coq (FRA) picked up a deserved victory in the Men’s RS:X.

Le Coq fended off a final assault from race winner Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) and was chuffed with his week, “The Medal Race was really close and we were fighting a lot with all the other guys. The positions were really close right up until the last downwind so it was a really nice fight. I didn’t have a very good start but I used my speed and came back up so I kept my first place.”

Kokkalanis was devastatingly quick on the final downwind as he used every last ounce of strength he had left. Punching his sail to the sound of jubilant admirers he moved up from fifth to second and was thrilled with how things went on the final day, “It was one of the most intense races I’ve had because yesterday I had two really bad races. I came into the Medal Race disappointed. On the downwind I had to give it all and I managed to catch planing so that pushed me into first place and into second overall.

“I’m really happy after yesterday’s bad day.”

Bronze went the way of France’s Louis Giard who finished the Medal Race in third. ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca acted as the French Men’s RS:X qualifier for the Aquece Rio - International Sailing Regatta 2014. The two spots available went to Le Coq and Louis Giard (FRA).

Women’s RS:X

Charline Picon (FRA) came into the Women’s RS:X Medal Race with an unassailable 42 point lead. With gold wrapped up the pressure was off the French sailor and she enjoyed the last race of the regatta, coming in third.

Picon was dominant and was visually delighted with her week following racing, “I’m very happy with the whole competition because I was very consistent. My worst race was ninth. We had all conditions here with planing, no wind and pumping and I’m happy with my work in the winter.”

The fight for the remaining podium spots was on with any one of Lilian De Geus (NED), Blanca Manchon (ESP), Bryony Shaw (GBR) and Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) in with a shout of the medals.

De Geus was the leading sailor of the four going into the Medal Race and managed to hold on to second overall. The Dutch sailor said, “It was a nice battle with Blanca and I managed to stay in second place so I am very happy.” Manchon narrowly finished behind De Geus with bronze going her way.

Nacra 17

Billy Besson and Marie Riou went into the Nacra 17 Medal Race with an unassailable 22 point lead and the gold medal sewn up.

With the pressure off the French pair enjoyed the race and came through in second to round up an excellent week as Besson explained, “Today the race was great. We had a lot of points between us and second. Our start was bad but we came back with good racing to finish second.”

On taking another Nacra 17 victory Besson added, “We are very happy to win here because it was a selection for the Olympic test event in Rio. We needed to prove ourselves. Palma was a really good World Cup. I love this place and I’m really happy to win.”

ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallists Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) added a World Cup silver to their collection having finished in fifth.

The heat was on for the remaining podium spot. Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) did exactly what they needed to do to take bronze and kept the chasing pack at bay. A fourth in the Medal Race meant that they got the job done to walk away with a medal.

Laser

Tom Burton (AUS) led the Laser Medal Race from start to finish as he jumped up the leader board to emphatically claim gold.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
The ISAF Sailing World Cup Melbourne winner ventured into the final day third overall and sailed the Medal Race with intent from the word go. Sailing out in front of the chasing pack with clean wind in his sail, the Australian made amends for losing gold on the final day of the 2013 edition.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
“My goal coming here was to win. Two years ago I came third and last year I came second and I wanted to keep stepping it up. I was really disappointed to not win here last year with the points I had and I’m really stoked to win it," Burton said.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
“It’s been a tough week and I haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked to have been but I had a good first day of finals to put me back in the game. All the points were pretty close. I wanted to have a good start. I had a really good first beat and all the guys were around me but it was a really close bunch in the end.”
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) finished the Medal Race in fourth and ended up just a single point behind Burton. Overnight leader Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) fell to third following a ninth.

Laser Radial

The Netherlands’ Marit Bouwmeester had gold in the bag going into the Laser Radial Medal Race and sailed with ease on the final day. She is the overall winner of the Trofeo Princesa Sofía.

A second in the Medal Race wrapped up what was a consistent display of Radial racing in Mallorca. “I’m very happy,” said Bouwmeester. “I managed to do well in all sorts of wind conditions and it’s nice to get that confirmation.”

Evi Van Acker (BEL) engaged with Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) as she set her sights on overthrowing the Finnish sailor from silver medal spot.

It didn’t turn out so well for the Belgian as she finished last in the Medal Race and out of the medal spots. Tenkanen had plenty of points to play with and took a ninth. Great Britain’s Chloe Martin took full advantage and picked up her first World Cup medal.

Attention now turns to the final ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta of the 2013-2014 in Hyeres, France from 19-26 April 2014.

Trofeo Princesa Sofia Media

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sailors Get Down to Business at ISAF World Cup - Palma de Mallorca

Trofeo Princesa Sofia - ISAF Sailing World Cup Mallorca got down to the business end of proceedings as the final series concluded with Saturday 5 April’s Medal Races to decide the honours.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Jesus Renedo/Sofia
Helena Lucas (GBR) took the 2.4mR gold as the Paralympic event concluded racing whilst Nacra 17, Laser Radial and Women’s RS:X gold medals were sealed with a day to spare.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Jesus Renedo/Sofia
A strong morning breeze, precipitation and cloud cover were present early on in the day but as proceedings progressed the westerly breeze gradually decreased. Warm temperatures and sun meant a few extra smiles in the boat parks in the afternoon with a range of 8-15 knots on Palma Bay.

2.4mR
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
Helena Lucas (GBR) took gold in the 2.4mR despite losing out to compatriot Megan Pascoe (GBR) in all three races on the final day of Paralympic event sailing as Pascoe was made to settle for silver. Lucas took an 11th and two thirds as she won by three points.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
Norway’s Bjornar Erikstad took the day and won all three of the 2.4mR races finishing ahead of Pascoe who picked up three second places. Erikstad’s final day performance ensured a bronze for the Norwegian.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Martinez Studio/Sofia
Nacra 17
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Jesus Renedo/Sofia
The 2013 World Champions pair of Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) have won gold in the Nacra 17 with a day to spare.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Jesus Renedo/Sofia
Besson and Riou finished out of the top eight spots for the first time on the penultimate day of racing with a 31st in Race 10. They discarded the result and came back stronger in Race 11 to take the bullet. A seventh in the 12th race of the series sealed the deal ahead of the Medal Race.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Jesus Renedo/Sofia
ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami gold medallists Vittorio Bissaro and Silvia Sicouri (ITA) came out flying to post a 2-2-3 and move into second overall. Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT) moved up into third as overnight podium holders Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) and Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) slipped out of the medal spots.
Photo: Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia 2014/Jesus Renedo/Sofia
Laser Radial

Marit Bouwmeester’s (NED) consistent week of racing paid off as she sealed the deal in the Laser Radial. Bouwmeester only finished out of the top three twice all week and only two seventh place finishes, one of which she discards, scars an excellent score card.

The Dutch sailor tops the leader board on 22 points followed by Finland’s Tuula Tenkanen on 48 points and Evi Van Acker (BEL) on 62 points. Three races took place on the fifth day of racing with the race victories going to Van Acker, Maria Erdi (HUN) and Marie Barrue (FRA).

Women’s RS:X

Charline Picon (FRA) showed that consistency pays dividends within the Women’s RS:X fleet and holds an unassailable 42 point lead to take gold with a day to spare. The French racer finished in the top nine in all of the 12 Women’s RS:X races building up to the Medal Race and will take to the race course on the final day without any pressure.

It’s a different case behind the French girl with seven points splitting second to fifth. Lilian De Geus (NED), Blanca Manchon (ESP), Bryony Shaw (GBR) and Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) all have a fighting chance of taking a podium spot which will make for an intriguing Medal Race.

49er

Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) extended their lead over Denmark’s Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang to 21 points after three 49er races on the penultimate day. Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) leap frogged Niko Delle-Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) into third.

“It was a complete range of conditions and we’re happy to come away with two firsts and a tenth,” said Tuke. 

“It was a tricky day; there was a lot of left over waves from the storm yesterday. The wind started off quite strong but it was offset of the waves and then it dropped and went left. We had to keep our head out of the boat and try to understand what was going on with the clouds and why it was shifting left," he added.

“We did that quite nicely in the first race and the last race but mucked up in the middle race. Three more races tomorrow so there’s a lot left to play for. I think the Danish boys and another couple will still be in the hunt. It will be a good day tomorrow. The Medal Races are great fun and we’re happy to be a part of it.”

Warrer and Lang came into Mallorca with good form and are 14 points clear of third. On the final day they will push the Kiwis for top honours. Warrer said, “We won in Miami and won the North Americans so we came here to be in the top and we feel like we can beat the best. We’re happy with where we are and we’re pushing as hard as we can to catch the New Zealand guys.”

Ahead of racing Austria’s Delle Karth recognised the importance of the fifth day of racing. Before racing commenced Delle-Karth said, “I think today is going to be a crucial day and challenging conditions. We want to attack the front, be safe and make the same as the last few days.”

Unfortunately for the Austrians they were 18th, eighth and 18th and fell to fourth overall as Fletcher and Sign took the initiative.

Unsurprisingly the Brits were happy to move into the podium positions, “All week we’ve been going in with the thought of being able to get close to medalling on the last day and now we can actually achieve that,” said Sign, “Everything we’ve done this week has been leading into that and I think tomorrow will be when the real game starts to happen, it should be fun.”

Three 49er single point races will bring the skiff action to a close on 5 April 2014.

49erFX

Despite holding onto their lead Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) admitted to finding the going tough in three 49erFX races, “Everybody has had bad days, we had ours today,” said Kunze. “Today was a little bit more difficult. The direction of the wind was changing all the time but I’m happy because we’ve had a really nice week of racing. We’ve done what we wanted to do and reach our goals.”

The Brazilians recorded a seventh, a discarded 20th and a final race bullet to go into three final 49erFX races with a four point lead over Ida Marie Baad Nielsen and Marie Thusgaard Olsen (DEN). On the final day Kunze added, “We’ll sail our best and see what happens.”

Nielsen and Olsen put themselves to within touching distance of the Brazilians after three bullets the day prior but were unable to capitalise and take the initiative. They discard a 19th in the opening race of the day and count a 12th and a third. Olsen said, “The racing so far has been really good, we are second overall at the moment and we are happy with that.”

Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) are third overall on 77 points.

Men’s 470

Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) took hold of the Men’s 470 after displaying superb consistency on the penultimate day.

The Croatians started the day brightly and in the first race they trailed behind in eighth at the first mark. They fought hard to work their way up the pack and on the final run took the lead out of Giulio Desiderato and Andrea Trani’s (ITA) hands to take the bullet by five seconds.

A fourth and an eighth followed as they won the day to head into the Medal Race with a seven point lead over Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG). After racing Fantela said, “We will race our own race, try to read the conditions and tune the boat as best as possible to have the best possible speed.

“We have confidence in the Medal Race and we have done a lot of Medal Races since we started. We will see the point’s difference between the rest of the fleet and then we will work out our tactics.”

Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente have some work to do in the Men’s 470 and will venture into the Medal Race fully charged, “We will make a plan and hopefully we can get a medal and do as good as we can,” said Calabrese.
“We have to look at them [Croatians] but try to do our own race because they are a little far away from us. We’ll basically try to have the best race we can and look at what they are doing so we can put some boats in between.”

Women’s 470

France’s Camille Lecointre and Hélène Defrance have a bit of daylight in between themselves and New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie ahead of the Medal Race.

Both crews are guaranteed medals on the final day but the advantage going into the deciding race belongs to the French pair who are seven points clear.

The French and Kiwi teams had strong days on the water whilst the chasing fleet were unable to match their consistency. Lecointre and Defrance recorded an 8-2-1 scoreline whilst Aleh and Powrie had a slightly better day picking up a 3-1-6.

After racing Powrie said, “We had three races today to catch up from yesterday so we had a pretty good day, single figures so we’re happy with that. Medal Races are always a bit of fun so we’ll see how we get on.”

Aleh added, “It was a pretty tricky day, we had wind, no wind, lots of wind, nothing, big waves and it got at bit crazy at times but it was good fun. We had two good races but the last one we stuffed up a little bit but not too bad, three decent races.”

Both crews will battle for gold on the final day of racing.

Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) slipped into third after an up and down day. They brought themselves into contention for gold by taking the first bullet of the day but a 16th and a 19th in the ensuing races meant they fell off the tail of the leaders. Nonetheless they are on track for bronze and are four points clear of Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA).

Laser

Robert Scheidt (BRA) dropped dramatically from first to ninth in the Laser as he felt the full effect of a starting penalty. Whilst he discards the BFD from Race 9 he counts a 24th in Race 8 and a 39th from Race 10.

With Scheidt taking a sudden fall Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) has taken the lead as he bids to record his third ISAF Sailing World Cup medal of the 2013-2014 series. Stipanovic won gold at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao and Miami and has a one point lead over Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA). Tom Burton (AUS) is third on 73 points.

Cyprus’ Pavlos Kontides pulled to within medal contention after winning all of the day’s races. The Cypriot comfortably won the first race of the day but was pushed in the following two. He finished two seconds ahead of Bruno Fontes (BRA) in the second of the day and in the final race of the day he pipped Stipanovic by a second.

Kontides moves up to fifth on 84 points and gives himself a fighting chance of a podium finish. Nicholas Heiner (NED) is fourth on 77 points.

Men’s RS:X

There’s very little separating the top five in the Men’s RS:X following two races on the fifth day of racing.

France’s Pierre le Coq took the lead back from Byron Kokkalanis (GRE) as the Greek racers day didn’t go entirely to plan. The ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami victor finished out of the top five for the first time in the 11 race series. Kokkalanis remained consistent in the opening race and posted a fourth but a 26th and a 24th followed resulting in him dropping to fifth overall.

Le Coq on the other hand battled hard for a fifth, a third and a discarded 29th. He leads on 43 points. Toni Wilhelm (GER) is second on 46 points and Julien Bontemps (FRA) is in third on 47 points.

Le Coq, Bontemps and Louis Giard (FRA), in fourth on 50 points, are fighting it out for one of two spots for the Aquece Rio - International Sailing Regatta 2014, a Rio 2016 test event and it’s all to play for on the final day.

Finn racers faced a frustrating day on the water and were left waiting around for consistent breeze. Unfo.rtunately they were unable to get racing away. Racing concludes on Saturday 5 April with eight double point Medal Races whilst the 49er and 49erFX will sail three single points’ races.

Trofeo Princesa Sofia - ISAF World Cup Media