Saturday, December 17, 2011

Star Gold Medal Wrap – ISAF Worlds

Fremantle, Western Australia
17 December 2011

Brazil’s Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada doused themselves and all those around them with champagne after winning gold in the Star class on the penultimate day of competition at the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships on Saturday. 
Scheidt/Prada (BRA) Photo: © Richard Langdon/Perth 2011
For competitors in the remaining Gold fleets, it was their last chance to make the top ten and a place in Sunday’s four medal races – Women’s 470. 49er, Men’s RS:X and Laser.

Star

The Brazilians Scheidt and Prada maintained their points lead on the final day of the Star event to secure their second World Championship title. The pair also won at the last ISAF Worlds in Cascais in 2007.
Scheidt/Prada (BRA) Photo: © Richard Langdon/Perth 2011
“To be Star world champion I think is the biggest achievement that a sailor can have,” Prada said. “To win two times is to be a part of the story of Star class, it means a lot. The Star class is very special. It’s the class of all the biggest names.’’

The Brazilian duo were also presented with the 100-year-old International Star Championship Trophy, described as one of the most prestigious in world sailing, and the Mary Etchell’s Bowl for world championship Star crew.

The silver medal went to Robert Stanjek and Frithjof Kleen (GER), while Mark Mendelblatt and Brian Fatih (USA) won bronze after an exciting and close Medal race fought out on Centre course.

Scheidt and Prada (BRA) started the day with a 20-point lead over the USA crew, who faced a tough battle for the silver medal against teams from Germany and Sweden.

Poland led the fleet in a 13-knot sea breeze for most of the race and crossed the finish line first, followed by Norway and the two German crews.

Fifth across the line in Bather’s Bay, the Brazilian team had gained just 10 points which kept them within the margin needed to secure gold at the end of the Medal Race.

The duo, who won a silver medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, raised their country’s flag after crossing the finish line to the cheers of delight and applause from fans in the grandstand.

After making its debut at the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, the Star has a long history in Olympic sailing but will bow out after the London 2012 Olympic Games.

“It’s a big achievement because all my life when I was sailing Laser I was dreaming about sailing the Star and winning the World Championship one time, so managing to do it twice is a really big thing for me,” Scheidt said.

“This year we have improved a lot in our sailing and our main goal was always to do well here in Perth, so coming through this year and managing to peak at this moment is very special.

“It means that we are on the right track for the 2012 Olympics.”

German skipper Robert Stanjek said he was pleased with his silver medal after coming up against the Brazilian team.

“Yesterday we qualified for the Olympics and that was the aim of coming here. Now we are even happier. The silver medal is just a little extra on top.”

“To sail against Scheidt is amazing because he is a legend in sailing,” crew member Frithjof Kleen added.

Commenting on his bronze medal, American skipper Mark Mendelblatt said he had faced “tough competition” in Scheidt.

“I have been sailing against Robert Scheidt for 20 years,” he said.

“The thing about him is he is very difficult to beat when he is at his best. Everyone has great regattas and not so great regattas. All we can do is improve our level.”

Laser

Flukey winds played havoc with the Laser Gold fleet’s final two races with two rank outsiders in the USA’s Rob Crane and Croatian Milan Vujasinovic claiming victories.
Tom Slingsby (AUS) Paul Kane/Perth 2011
As the Laser Gold fleet went into its last two races Saturday, the big question on every one’s mind was whether Australia’s reigning Laser world champion, Tom Slingsby, could out-point all contenders and become unbeatable for the gold medal.

It was not to be, with the well-credentialed sailor, who has won five of his 10 races, having his worst day with 10th and 12th-place finishes.

However, it still leaves him 14 points clear of German Simon Goteluschen, who came in under the radar with a second and a dropped 23rd.

With a seventh-place finish ensuring him of victory if Groteluschen wins on Sunday, Slingsby is on target for his third Laser world title and his ultimate goal of gold at next year’s London Olympic Games.

Austrian Andreas Geritzer, just four points behind second-placed Groteluschen at the end of race 10, moved from seventh to fourth after recording fifth and sixth placings.

New Zealand’s Andrew Murdoch cemented fifth position with sixth and fourth efforts to be within striking distance of the medals.

Having a stellar day was the USA’s Rob Crane with victory in race 9 and second in race 10 for 14th overall, a big leap from 33rd at the start of the day.

Also missing out on a top 10 place was Tonci Stipanovic (CRO), who finished 11th overall. He is the 2010 and 2011 European champion and beat Slingsby and Paul Goodison (GBR) in 2010 and will race in Weymouth and Portland next year.

Goodison slipped from second to sixth in the rankings with a 21st and 12th on Saturday.

Medal race competitors (subject to protests): 1. Tom Slingsby (AUS) 35; 2. Simon Groteluschen (GER) 49; 3. Nick Thompson (GBR) 52; 4. Andreas Geritzer (AUT) 53; 5. Andrew Murdoch (NZL) 53; 6. Paul Goodison (GBR) 59; 7. Ashley Brunning (AUS) 60; 8. Johan Wigforss (SWE) 72; 9. Tom Burton (AUS) 74; 10. Pavlos Kontides (CYP) 80.
The Laser Medal Race is scheduled to begin at 1610 local time on Sunday on Centre course.

49er

World number one pair Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) are one step closer to winning the gold medal in the 49er skiff competition after finishing Saturday’s three Gold fleet races with an impressive 17 point overall lead.

As the rest of the fleet battled for a position in Sunday’s top 10 Medal Race, Outteridge and Jensen placed fifth, seventh and 10th to bring their points tally to 85.

World number two Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Resch (AUT) also had a great day on the water, making a stunning come-back from 22nd place to make it into the top 10 thanks to three wins in the last two days.

The Austrian pair had two firsts and an eighth on Saturday, putting them seventh overall with 123 points.

Despite holding first place throughout the week, John Pink and Rick Peacock (GBR) had a disappointing day, placing 24th in race 13 and 23rd in race 15.

This result means the British have dropped from the lead to third with 106 points, bumping Emil and Simon Toft Nielsen (DEN) into second place with 102 points.

Stand outs for Saturday’s racing also included Yann Rocherieux and Mathieu Frei (FRA), who battled closely with their fellow French team, Noe Delpech and Julien d’Ortoli, to cross the line second in race 13 and first in race 14.

Outteridge and Jensen are guaranteed a medal in Sunday’s final but must beat the Toft Nielsen brothers in order to secure the World Championship.

Medal Race Competitors: (subject to protest): 1. Outteridge and Jensen (AUS); 2. Toft Nielsen and Toft Nielsen (DEN); 3. Pink and Peacock (GBR); 4. Burling and Tuke (NZL); 5. Warrer and Hansen (DEN); 6. Storck and Moore (USA); 7. Delle Karth and Resch (AUT); 8. Seaton and McGovern (IRL); 9. Evans and Powys (GBR); 10. Noerregaard and Lang (DEN).

The 49er Medal Race is scheduled to begin on Centre course at 1410 local time on Sunday.

Women’s 470

Spain’s Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos look certain to finish on the podium leading the fleet on 49 points after the Women’s 470 Medal Race on Sunday.
This comes after a strong week on the water, with the exception of a lesser performance from the pair in the final day of fleet racing.

There was some close sailing in race 9 with a number of lead changes, but ultimately it was New Zealand’s Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie who crossed the line first in front of the Spaniards.

Race 10 saw the Spanish team slip back to 16th position, well behind race winners Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR).

Pacheco and Betanzos’s closest competition going into the Medal Race is the Israeli duo of Gil Cohen and Vered Buskila, sitting 11 points behind on 60.

With only 10 points separating second and sixth places, competition for the remaining spots on the podium will be high.

The top 10 following the end of Saturday’s racing have all guaranteed their countries a berth at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Despite a disappointing start to the regatta Australia’s Elise Rechichi and Belinda Stowell earned a spot in the top 10, finishing third in race 9 and fifth in race 10 to qualify their class for London 2012.

The Women’s 470 Medal Race is scheduled to begin at 1310 local time on Sunday 18 December on Centre Course.

Medal Race Competitors (subject to protest): 1. Pacheco and Betanzos (ESP); 2. Cohen and Buskila (ISR); 3. Mills and Clark (GBR); 4. Aleh and Powrie (NZL); 5. Kondo and Tabata (JPN); 6. Conti and Micol (ITA); 7. Clark and Hughes (GBR); 8. Soffiati Grael and Marques Swan (BRA); 9. Rechichi and Stowell (AUS); 10. Westerhof and Berkhout (NED)

The women’s 470 Medal Race is scheduled to begin on Centre course at 1310 local time on Sunday.

Men’s RS:X

There was fast wind and equally fast windsurfing in the Men’s RS:X Gold fleet racing Saturday, with Piotr Myszka (POL), Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) and Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) filling the top three places overall.

Just one point separates world number one Myszka (24) and van Rijsselberghe (25) ahead of Sunday’s Medal race.

Race 9 and 10 on Saturday produced mixed results and slightly shuffled the top 10.

The first race of the day was marked by two things; a constant divide of athletes and a consistent top three that lead for much of the race.

Andreas Cariolou (GRE) took a third of the sailors to the left, while Tom Ashley (NZL) led the remaining two thirds right.

Fifteen minutes into the race and a strong top three emerged with New Zealand’s Ashley blazing the trail, followed by Piotr Myszka (POL) and Ricardo Winicki Santos (BRA).

After another split Elliot Carney (GBR) sped ahead, warding off teammate Nick Dempsey while Greece’s Byron Kokkalanis was tailed by Miarczynski.

Dorian van Risselberghe appeared to be lost in the crowd for much of the race but in a dramatic turn of events began to overtake his rivals, first Cariolou, then Santos. But despite his efforts, van Risselberghe couldn’t gain enough pace to outdo Ashley (NZL) and Myszka (POL).

Ashley spent most of the race well out in front, but Myszka caught up to cross just one second later. That win saw Ashley move from 9th to 5th overall.

In race 10, no-one could come between the two Polish sailors Myszka and Miarczynski.

Van Risselberghe once again started poorly, but in the second race of the day he didn’t recover.

Similarly, Nimrod Mashich (ISR) fell short of his recent winning streak, placing 8th and 9th on Saturday.

Medal Race competitors (subject to protest): 1. Piotr Myszka (POL); 2. Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED); 3. Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL); 4. Nimrod Mashich (ISR); 5. Tom Ashley (NZL); 6. Jon Paul Tobin (NZL); 7. Byron Kokkalanis (GRE); 8. Joao Rodrigues (POR); 9. Ivan Pastor (ESP); 10. Julien Bontemps (FRA).

The men’s RS:X Medal Race is scheduled to begin on Centre course at 1510 local time on Sunday.

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