After today's racing the top ten will be decided for Saturday's medal races
Many top seeds have just one more day to rescue themselves. Today the top ten will be decided for Saturday’s medal races, and if you have to be in it to win it.
The 470 Women have been brutally competitive all week, as we highlighted yesterday. No less so today, where the Dutch World Champions and overnight leaders Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout dropped to third – the Spanish team of Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos are now taking the top spot. The situation is even worse for the Danish team that was third overall in the ISAF Sailing World Cup going into this regatta – Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer are currently lying 12th – over the edge for the medal race if they can’t pick up a couple of places tomorrow.
There’s another big name in trouble in the 470 Women and that’s double Yngling gold medallist Sarah Ayton and her crew Saskia Clark, now in 18th and 31 points adrift of the medal race. But e can’t leave the 470s without some good news, and a mention for an outstanding performance today from Americans Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving, who scored two bullets. The 470 Men were a little more predictable, with World Champions Matt Belcher and Malcom Page ascending to the top of the leaderboard, and none of the top seeds looking like missing the cut.
In the Stars, there were some very familiar names around the medal race cut – Szabo and Strube in 10th, Mendelblatt and von Schwarz in 11th (they were looking for a podium in the ISAF SWC going into this regatta), Marazzi and de Maria in 12th (second placed at the 2010 Worlds), Negri and Voltolini in 13th, Rohart and Ponsot in 14th, Campbell and Funk in 16th, Horton and Lynne (also looking for a podium in the ISAF SWC) – and on it goes, but I guess that’s the Star fleet for you… At the top end, Irishmen Peter O’Leary and Frithjof Kleen still control the fleet with a seven point lead.
I guess the most worried man in the Finn fleet right now would be Rafael Trujillo. The Spanish silver medalist (Athens, 2004) was on form at the Europeans with a fourth, but is currently lying in 14th and staring the cut for the medal race in the face. The outstanding performer in that fleet today was the Brit… no, not Ben Ainslie, but Giles Scott. Scott scored a second and a third to go to the top of the scoreboard, pushing aside the long-time leader, Frenchman Jonathan Lobert.
In the 49er the Brits, John Pink and Rick Peacock, were second at the Worlds in 2009, but are struggling just below the cut in 11th – a good day tomorrow should get them through. Also in trouble are the top guys in the ISAF Sailing Cup, so we could see that settled early. Leading the SWC into this regatta was Nico Luca Marc Delle Karth and Nikolaus Leopold Resch, who look safe in eighth place tonight. But chasing them was Allan Norregaard and Peter Lang who may not make it into the medal race, currently 12th. That would play into the hands of SWC third placed Manu Dyen and Stephane Christidis – the Frenchmen are still leading Skandia Sail for Gold.
In the RS:x MEN, the Beijing Gold medallist and 2008 World Champion, New Zealander, Tom Ashley is close to the drop, in ninth place after an eighth and an eleventh today. Otherwise it was service as usual, with the top seeds in good shape. Britain’s Athens Bronze medallist, Nick Dempsey still leads overall by four points. Things are all also going according to plan in the RS:x Women, where none of the seeds are in danger. The Spanish sailor and last year’s Skandia Sail for Gold Champion, Blanca Manchon, retains her lead.
In the Laser Radials it’s Tatiana Drozdovskaya from Belarus who’s in trouble – fifth at the worlds and currently lying 15th. The top American sailor, Page Railey is also in a bit of trouble in eighth, but she helped her cause no end with a second this afternoon. Another Radial sailor that got themselves out of danger was today’s outstanding performer, Sari Multala – the 2010 World Champion and last years Skandia Sail for Gold winner sailed beautifully to get a fourth and a first and move up to fifth.
The Laser Men were last on the water, and full results were not published when we went to press (as they used to say in the good old days). But names to watch that are near the drop zone for the medal race cut are the UK’s Nick Thompson, second in the ISAF Sailing World Cup going into this regatta. And from Chile, Matias Del Solar, France’s Jean Baptiste Bernaz, Spain’s Javier Hernandez and Austria’s Andreas Gertizer were all struggling. Australia’s Tom Slingsby, winner here last year, was leading overall – by a long way.
There are four fleets that are unconcerned by the threat of the cut for the medal race, and one of them is the Women’s Match Racing, now at the quarter final stage. It got exciting very quickly when the round robin produced a QF between the ISAF Sailing World Cup’s overall leader, Great Britain’s Lucy and Katie MacGregor and Annie Lush, and the US team just one point behind them – Anna Tunicliffe, Molly Vandemer and Debbie Capozzi. Victory for either would put the other out of the running for the ISAF SWC title. And it was the Americans that held the advantage at the end of play – 2 – 0 up, and with Macgregor receiving a -0.75 penalty for damage done in a collision.
We talked to Lucy Macgregor afterwards, “I’m pretty gutted really [that the two Quarter Final matches out there didn’t go to plan]… The next match is really crucial; it’s the first to three points so we will be having a good night’s rest, coming back fighting in the morning and putting everything into it. They didn’t let us get away with anything out there – positionally they were good, but we felt pretty strong against them around the course, so really gutted to come away with a 2- 0 defeat.”
And Anna Tunnicliffe had this to say afterwards, “Lucy’s a great competitor and we still have plenty of racing ahead of us. We put ourselves in a good position [for a Semifinal spot] and tomorrow’s a new day, so hopefully we will continue. It was very tricky sailing out there, very shifty, very puffy, the boat behind downwind had very powerful control of the race and Lucy always ran behind us and made it really hard on us.”
Three other classes finish their regatta tomorrow without the complication of a medal race. So we really are at the business end of the regatta for the Skud-18s, where the Australian pair of Daniel Fitzgibbon and Rachael Cox have been battling with the UK’s Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrel. The pair had traded first and second places until the final race of today, when Rickham and Birrel had a rudder problem and were forced to retire. It’s given the Aussies a four point advantage going into the final day.
In the Sonar class, the Dutch high-fliers, Udo Hessels and Mischa Rossen once again had their wings clipped by the British team of John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Stevie Thomas. The Brits had a great day with two thirds and a win, and are now just one point off the lead. Hannah Stodel said afterwards, “Today has not been too bad we had a second and a first, which has made the points very interesting, as we were four behind the Dutch but it looks like they had an average day. I am not sure if we are first, but it will be tight, the conditions were shifty and pretty exciting today, luckily it’s our favourite condition… random!”
In the 2.4mR, France’s Damien Seguin and the Netherlands Thierry Schmitter continued their week long battle. Schmitter had got the advantage going into the final race, but then slipped to fifth, allowing Seguin to take back the overnight lead – this one looks like it will be settled in the final beat of the final race.
To see all results from the event, CLICK HERE.