Sunday, December 11, 2011

Four New Champions Crowned in Perth at ISAF Worlds

Fremantle, Western Australia
Sunday 11 December 2011

At sunset four new world champions were crowned the end of a full day of medal racing in Perth at the 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships.
Photo: © Alex McKinnon/Perth 2011
Under an overcast sky, spectators lined the beach and packed out the grandstand at Bather’s Bay to witness the best sailors in the world fight it out for Gold in the Finn, Laser Radial, Men’s 470 and Women’s RS:X classes.


After yesterday's controversy over Ben Ainslie's disqualification it was back to business out on the water. Giles Scott snared the Finn world championship and the Finn Gold Cup from Pieter-Jan Postma (NED), defeating the Dutchman by just one point in a tense final day of racing.
Giles Scott Photo: © Paul Kane/Perth 2011
Postma needed Scott to finish in third to win overall and started playing tactics on the third leg, which allowed Denmark’s Jonas Hoegh Christensen to catch and put Scott second on points.

In a nail biting finish Scott was in third place until the final leg, where he shot past Christensen to grab second place in the Medal Race. It was enough to put him on 30 points overall and claim the championship and Gold medal.

“I came here looking to win,” Scott said. “I felt like I needed to prove myself. I made things difficult for myself at the start but I managed to seek out some decent waves and it was an emotional finish, I nearly ended up in tears.”
Giles Scott Photo: © Paul Kane/Perth 2011
Cheered on by  a large crowd of fans, Postma crossed the line first had to settle for the silver medal with 31 points overall.

“I wanted to win here.” Postma said. “Giles did a better job, he won this week and congrats to him.”

Former world champion Ed Wright (GBR) took the bronze medal after finishing fifth and finishing up with 35 points overall.

The Finn championship title race was thrown wide open after overall points leader and triple Olympic Gold medalist Ben Ainslie was disqualified on Saturday.

An international jury ruled against Ainslie for gross misconduct after an altercation with a media boat and disqualified him from both of Saturday's races. As the disqualifications could not be discarded from his point score, Ainslie ended up out of the medal race and finished the Regatta in 11th place.

Laser Radial

In 8-13 knots of breeze world number one Marit Bouwmeester (NED) held off a challenge from a very determined Evi van Acker (BEL) to claim her first world championship title.
Marit Bouwmeester Photo: © Richard Langdon/Perth 2011
“I feel awesome,” she said. “I wanted to dominate the week. It was a really, really tough week and I was happy.”

Just six points separated the pair going into the Medal Race and while van Acker worked her way to a point where she could have taken the title, a penalty for pumping kept Bouwmeester ahead on points until the finish.

“I think I could have won,” van Acker said. “Some mistakes were made, that’s what cost me the gold medal.”

Paige Railey (USA) took out the bronze by a one point margin.

“It’s a huge relief. I’m extremely happy to see all the hard work pay off,” she said.

Veronika Fenclova (CZE) came from 6th to win the Medal Race, which saw many different leaders, but Bouwmeester’s fourth place finish was enough to secure the world title.

Men’s 470

With an 18-point lead going into the Medal Race, Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page sailed a conservative race to win the men’s 470 world title.
Belcher/Page Photo: © Richard Langdon/Perth 2011
The Australian pair’s fourth place finish was enough for Malcolm Page to secure his fifth world championship title.

“We didn’t have to win,” Page said after the race. “We didn’t have to be so risky. It’s just as satisfying. I’m sure anybody in the fleet would’ve loved to swap with us, to be in that position. Coming across fourth on the line in the Medal race, it’s just fine.”
Patience/Bithell Photo: © Richard Langdon/Perth 2011
Great Britain’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell led the field from start to finish and despite crossing the line first had to settle for the silver.

“I’m most proud of our partnership,” Bithell said. “We have had a lot of pressure this week that we have had to deal with. We have two other very successful teams so we have had to chase them all week, so I’m just proud that we have stuck together as a team and, well, the rest is history.”
Fantela/Marenic Photo: © Richard Langdon/Perth 2011
The bronze medal went to Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) who fought hard for their medal.

Women’s RS:X

It was a battle of three of the best and a race between three good friends in the women’s RS:X Medal Race with Israel’s Lee Korzits taking gold over “sisters” Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (POL) and Marina Alabau (ESP).
Lee Korzits Photo: © Paul Kane/Perth 2011
“These girls are my team. We all won, all three of us,” the Israeli said.

With Poland’s Noceti-Klepacka taking silver and Alabau (ESP) the bronze, the three women hugged and drank champagne together when they got to shore, but it was a different story during the race.
Photo: © Richard Langdon/Perth 2011
“When I go onto the water I am like a warrior, even to my friends,” Korzits said. “On the beach we are like best friends but in the water we are competing.”

The light winds and seaweed tested the strength and balance of all competitors with the sailors having to pump furiously to get to the windward mark.

While Maayan Davidovich (ISR) charged ahead on the easier downward leg to finish first in the race, it wasn’t enough to secure her a place in the top three.


Great Britain’s Iain Percy and Andrew Simpson lead in the overall standings after the opening day of racing in the Star class. Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen (GER) are in second place followed by Ireland’s Peter O’Leary and David Burrows in third after two races.

Race one averaged Wind speeds avof 13 knots, which clearly benefitted Polish pair Matuesz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki who won by 63 seconds form Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (USA).

Germany’s Stanjek and Kleen finished in third, one second ahead of Percy and Simpson (GBR).

Race two went to Portugal’s Afonso Domingos and Frederico Melo while O’Leary and Burrows (IRL) came in a close second, just 14 seconds behind the frontrunners. Percy and Simpson placed third, while Sweden’s Fredrik Loof and Max Salminen came fourth.

Race one winners Kusznierewicz and Zycki did not finish race two after they were forced to retire after a double yellow penalty flag.

Women’s Match Racing

The Women’s Match Racing was delayed by three hours and when racing finally got underway there was plenty of action.
Flight 62 saw some exciting racing with the matchup between the two Australian teams of Nicky Souter and Olivia Price.

A number of lead changes and some very close sailing had many fans in the grandstand, including Souter’s family, on the edge of their seats.

But it was Olivia Price’s AUS-2 team who got the edge and crossed the line first.

There was close racing all day as the round robin repechage stage continued, and with only four points between the top and bottom teams, there was plenty of opportunity for sailors to advance through to the quarterfinals.

At the end of Sunday’s racing, Price (AUS-2) was leading with 7 wins and 2 losses, followed by Macgregor (GBR) on 6 wins and 1 loss, and Kjellberg (SWE-1) on 6 wins and 3 losses.

Racing resumes on Monday 12 December at 1000 local time, with the last three repechage flights left over from Sunday, followed by the three remaining flights of the Gold seeding.

Lulu Roseman

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