Santander was baked in sunshine for the second day of World Cup racing as sailors looked to either capitalise on a great opening day, or play catch up after slow starts.
Conditions were near on perfect for the 260 sailors from 41 nations racing across the ten Olympic fleets and Open Kiteboarding. Not a cloud in the sky and 11-15 knots of breeze coming from the north east enabled a full on day of racing.
Sailors who had slow starts yesterday (6 June) used the day to make amends for any mistakes and climb the leaderboard. The overnight leaders, meanwhile, looked to maintain their focus and keep hold of the top spots.
Germany’s Philipp Buhl was full of smiles ashore after racing following a consistent performance in the Men’s One Person Dinghy, Laser.
Buhl grabbed a third and a fifth to move up into third place and fully in contention. As he de-rigged his Laser after racing, he was in a buoyant mood, “It was a really nice day,” he commented. “My results are good and the conditions are perfect. I cannot remember a time when I’ve ever come back with a big smile like today, lots of sunshine and waves made it perfect.”
The Laser fleet in Santander is full of leading competitors. Two-time World Champion Nick Thompson (GBR), Olympic medallists Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Pavlos Kontides (CYP) are just two of the leading lights.
Grabbing a spot at the front of the fleet is no easy task as Buhl continued, “Races like today are always hard because you must hike and everything is quite exhausting. There are a few leading guys here and you must stick and fight for the metres to come first, second or third.”
France’s Jean Baptiste Bernaz holds on to his overnight lead after he picked up his second race win of the week and a third. Charlie Buckingham (USA) sits inbetween Bernaz and Buhl.
The day belonged to Evi van Acker (BEL) and Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) in the Women’s One Person Dinghy, Laser Radial as they shared the top two places in both races.
Rindom snapped up the opening victory with van Acker following. The positions were reversed in the preceding race and the pair have moved to the top of the leaderboard. Van Acker, London 2012 bronze medallist, leads on four points and Rindom, Rio 2016 bronze medallist, follows on seven.
American World Cup winner Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) follows in third.
Spain’s Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco were on form in the Mixed Multihull, Nacra 17, winning two races and claiming a second. Echavarri and Pacheco know Santander very well and have spent many hours training and racing on the waters. So when the pair saw the forecast they knew what had to be done, “Today we could not afford any mistakes. The weather is very typical of Santander so it was an easy day to read the conditions.
“The key point today was to have a good start and have good speed. That is it.”
They dominated the first two races and were unlucky not to claim a third. Echvarri concluded, “In the third race we had some problems but we managed to recover from it and we almost took first place. There is still a long way to go but we are happy to know we are performing well. As I like to say, we’re taking it step by step.”
Tom Phipps and Nicola Boniface (GBR) and Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti (ITA) occupy the final podium spots after six races.
Defending World Cup Final Champion Oliver Bridge (GBR) found his form on the second day of competition, winning five out of six races in the blue fleet to leap into the podium positions. Sitting in third, he is two points off brother Guy. Nico Parlier (FRA) maintained his excellent form and snapped up five wins in the yellow fleet to extend his lead.
Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Hannah Mills sailing with Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) stole the show in the Women’s Two Person Dinghy, 470. Mills, who has been sailing in the 49erFX recently, has made a temporary switch back to the 470 and had no trouble finding her feet on the second day of competition. The British pair claimed a pair of race wins and lead Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) who have not lost a regatta in 2017.
It’s the early stages of the competition with six fleet races and a Medal Race to go so Zegers and van Veen will remain focused on continuing their run.
Olympic bronze medallists Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) were on fire in the men’s fleet, winning both of their races. They advance to first overall and have put five points between themselves and David Bargehr and Lukas Mahr (AUT) who are second.
A pair of second place finishes was enough for Great Britain’s Ed Wright to grab the lead in the Finn, the Heavyweight One Person Dinghy. He leads race four winner Zsombor Berecz (HUN) by three points. Anders Pedersen of Norway won the opening race of the day and occupies seventh.
In the Men’s and Women’s Windsurfer, RS:X, two sailors in both fleets dominated the day.
Kiran Badloe (NED) swept the field aside in the men’s division, winning every single race to grab the overall lead, two points ahead of Shahar Zubari (ISR). Meanwhile, Patricia Freitas (BRA) snapped up a pair of wins and a third in the women’s fleet. Her advantage stands at six points over China’s Yunxiu Lu, winner of the American World Cup.
Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) hold onto their advantage in the Men’s Skiff, 49er. A steady string of races gives them a one point advantage over James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR). Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell (GBR) were the standout racers in the 49er, grabbing a pair of race wins and a third to move into third spot overall, within sight of the leaders.
There is still very little separation in the 49erFX, Women’s Skiff, with eight points splitting the top six. Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR) are in pole position following a 3-2-1 day.
By Daniel Smith – World Sailing