A welcome breeze arrives at Hempel World Cup Series – Allianz Regatta
Two tough days of light, fickle breeze were replaced with 9-11 knots of breeze in Medemblik, The Netherlands as the Hempel World Cup Series – Allianz Regatta reached the latter stages of week one.
The ILCA 6, ILCA 7, Men’s and Women’s RS:X and Nacra 17 are all racing this week ahead of the 49erFX and 49er competition from 9-13 June.
After a short delay on Friday morning, a stronger breeze was welcomed by the sailors and officials on the water, as a pleasant 9-11 knots from the north danced across Ijsselmeer.
The ILCA 7 had their first day of gold and silver fleet racing, while the remaining four fleets continued to jockey for position ahead of Sunday’s deciding Medal Races.
Every sailor in the ILCA 6 fleet has a high score that they are using as their discard and this has led to high-pressure situations on the racecourse, as sailors avoid making the same mistakes that could severely punish them and see them drop.
Consistency is really at a premium in the ILCA 6 fleet, but Marie Barrue of France has been doing enough all week to cling on to her lead. She is eight points clear of Dutch favourite and Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Marit Bouwmeester (NED).
Bouwmeester had the best day on the water with a 2-4 scoreline, and the next best performer was Hungary’s Maria Erdi who moves into contention for the medals, sitting just six points off third-placed Agata Barwinska (POL).
After racing, Erdi commented, “We finally had some more breeze so we got some hiking in. It was still pretty tricky. The startline was crazy with a lot of general recalls. I was just trying to get off the line. I got in really risky spots, and I just took it from there with good starts and good speed.
“I was always rounding the top mark in the top ten. I was able to make up a few places in the first race but lost some in the second but today was a good day and I’m happy with it.”
Hempel World Cup Series – Allianz Regatta is an important event for the athletes targeting Tokyo 2020 as it’s their final opportunity to test themselves before they head to Enoshima.
Erdi knows a good performance here can set the tone come Games time. She continued, “This is our last regatta before the Games, so we really want to put things together. We’re trying to improve and see how it goes.
“We decided pretty early we were going to come here because there was not much racing anywhere. We didn’t want to arrive at the Games and think ‘ahh, so this is the startline!’ We wanted to get racing and we’re happy that everyone else followed and is here.
“I have a camp with my group at the end of this month and then we fly out to Japan on the 12th for the Games.”
The ILCA 6 fleet will sail two races on Saturday before the deciding race on Sunday.
Over in the ILCA 7 fleet, consistency is again the key to success in Medemblik – and Great Britain’s Lorenzo Chiavarini has that in abundance.
The British racer is the only competitor with single point scores in the entire fleet, and he holds a single point lead over Spain’s Joel Rodriguez.
The calibre of racing went up a notch on Friday in the ILCA 7 as gold fleet competition got underway and tension was high. Chiavarini sailed his way to a third and a fourth to retain his lead as Rodriguez took a race win and a sixth.
Chiavarini leads on 15 points, with Rodriguez on 16, and the top frontrunners have a small buffer between themselves and Filip Jurisic (CRO), who is third on 24 points.
The points are tight amongst the high-ranking racers in the fleet, with just nine points separating fourth to 13th.
Two fleet races remain on Saturday, before the top ten are confirmed for the deciding Medal Race.
Whatever Italy’s coach said to Mattia Camboni and Marta Maggetti ahead of racing in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X worked wonders on Friday, as both racers sealed all three wins in their respective fleets to grab the lead.
In the Women’s RS:X, Maggetti stormed to the top of the leaderboard having personified perfection on the water.
The Italian, who is heading to her first Olympic Games at Tokyo 2020, barely put a foot wrong on the water and has now opened up a four-point gap over early leader Katy Spychakov of Israel.
Lilian de Geus (NED) occupies third overall on 20 points, with three more fleet races remaining ahead of Sunday’s Medal Race.
Camboni removed Piotr Myszka (POL) from top spot in the Men’s RS:X after his faultless display. Currently on 16 points, the Italian is a single point ahead of the Polish racer in what is turning out to be a two horse race for gold.
Thomas Goyard (FRA) is a considerable distance away in third on 35 points and has Mateo Sanz Lanz (SUI), Angel Grande Roque (ESP) and Yoav Cohen (ISR) close by.
The Dutch team of Laila van der Meer and Bjarne Bouwer continue to lead in the Nacra 17 after a 4-1-1 scoreline.
Germany’s Jesse Lindstädt and Jill Paland put their best performance together by winning their first race of the week and snapping up a pair of seconds.
“We weren’t very happy with our upwind speed today,” commented Lindstädt. “Downwind was fine, but upwind we struggled to put the power we had into speed. We were trying to improve all day and I’m not sure we managed it. We’ve been a lot better in stronger wind and in waves but we have a lot to improve on.
“Our position doesn’t matter for us. It’s way more important for us to improve on things. We’re not at the level as the Dutchies yet. It’s about the experience and taking things everyday and improving.”
Italy’s Andrea Spagnolli and Alice Cialfi drop to third after two DNFs.
Racing continues on Saturday 5 June from 10:30 local time.
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