Sarah Blanck wins the Europe worlds with a race to spare
With a high wind and thunderstorm warning, the Hamilton race team at the Europe world championship started racing promptly on the final day in westerly winds of about 14 knots. Gone was the one-way track and those sailors who recognised this played the shifts successfully.
Carolijn Brouwer of the Netherlands and Sari Multala from Finland returned to form on the final day and stormed ahead, scoring a first and second place respectively in the first race of the day. The real battle was going on five places behind, where Sarah Blanck of Australia fought hard to close the gap on Petra Niemann of Germany and Siren Sundby of Norway. Blanck managed to close the gap, crossing the line in 10th place was enough to secure her the championship with a race to spare.
In the final race of the championship, the battle was on for the silver and bronze medals. Multala added her fourth bullet to her score-line but it was not enough to see her leave Canada with a medal. Sundby scored a fourth place and with it secured the silver medal with Niemann taking the bronze.
Topping the British effort was Kirsty Bonar who finished in 26th place overall, with fellow team GBR sailor Debbie Winstanley 29th and Bryony Percy finishing in 36th place. Nineteen year old Andrea Brewster finished in 45th place overall.
Europe class coach Mark Littlejohn concluded, ” This week showed that the team GBR sailors have to focus more on their racing skills and less on boat speed work. When they find themselves up in the top five around the weather mark they are very able to hold their own, as shown by some excellent individual results. Also the acquisition of good starting skills will help their overall consistency.”
RYA Olympic Manager Stephen Park commented: “Although the results have improved steadily over the last two years following Shirley Robertson’s departure to the Yngling programme, it would be fair to say that we are a little disappointed with these results. A number of the sailors have shown promise at various times throughout the year, however, they seem to struggle under pressure at the big events.”
Park continued, “If we wish to qualify Great Britain in this class for the 2004 Games we will need to review the Europe class programme, which is what we will now do.”
1, Sarah Blanck, AUS (2,3,1,1,1,5,2,2,6,(26),10,(DNC)) 33 pts
2, Siren Sundby, NOR (1,1,(20),4,10,2,6,3,(24),9,4,4) 45 pts
3, Petra Niemann, GER (10,5,2,2,3,11,(34),1,3,1,8,(42)) 46 pts
26, Kirsty Bonar (17,7,1,(32),29,15,22,17,29,11,(51)17) 166 pts
29, Debbie Winstanley (6,26,(DSQ),11,29,4,21,34,16,6,27,(35)) 180 pts
36, Bryony Percy (15,26,27,34,12,19,4,13,27,(52),(43),22) 200 pts
45, Andrea Brewster (31,23,13,31,2,34,33,38,(52),5,46,(50)) 256 pts