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Florida's Biscayne Bay proved a tough but valuable testing ground for both of Ireland's Laser sailors on the road to Tokyo 2020 at the Miami Sailing World Cup this week.

Once the breeze was on in day two, the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch scored a 15,18, some promising results for the 21–year–old, who won gold at the 2014 U19 World Championships. As it turned out, the teen results were Lynch's best individual results of the nine race series, ending up 32nd in his 70–boat fleet overall.

Aoife Hopkins from Howth Yacht Club ended up 43rd from 68th in the Radial fleet that saw her posting similar results in both heavy and light winds. The U21 Euro Champion got off to a bad start with gear failure on day one. A capsize in heavy winds on the run into the line cost the Trinity Student dearly in the second race on day two. Her best result of the eight races sailed was a well–earned 23rd in race six. This is the start of her 2018 campaign towards the Olympic qulaifiers in August, so the experience Stateside this week will have been a worthwhile one, early in the year. 

Overall results are here.

With five sailors in striking distance of the gold medal and seven mathematically alive for a podium position, the Medal Race for the Women's RS:X at the 2018 World Cup Series Miami, USA, was projected to be the most exciting of the five Medal Races scheduled for the penultimate day of the regatta.

Watch the early Medal Races here

And it delivered with abundant speed and excitement in champagne sailing conditions on Biscayne Bay.

When the spray cleared, Hélène Noesmoen (FRA) was zipping across the finish line in first in excess of 20 knots and, in the process, moving from fourth to first in the overall standings. Rounding out the medals were Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) and Blanca Manchon (ESP).

"Today was windy, and I think that is my strong point,” said Noesmoen. "I tried to keep consistent during the week and really push myself in the Medal Race, and it paid off. I had a bad second day, I think that was due to the wind conditions, which dropped me to the middle of the [results] table. But I had an amazing third day, which kept me in the top 10 and allowed me to compete at the Medal Race.”

The turning point in the double-points Medal Race came on the first downwind leg when Stefania Elfutina (RUS), the defending Olympic bronze medalist and regatta leader going into the day, caught the edge of her board after leaping off a wave and crashed into the water. It the time it took her to recover her sail and get going again, five sailors—and her medal chances—passed her by. One of those zipping past was Noesmoen, who rounded the second of five marks in sixth place. While the breeze velocity was quite steady, there were gains to be made by playing the shifts correctly. On the third leg, Noesmoen found an elevator to the podium, moving to second and then to first for the final two legs of the race.

"This race was going well for me until I crashed on the first downwind close to the gate,” said Elfutina. "I'm not sure what happened. I'm trying not to feel disappointed with myself. I enjoyed this regatta and my races. I learned a lot of things on the water. I can't really say what I learned [about preventing what happened in the final race], it's just an instinct that your body adjusts to on the water, and it becomes a reflex.”

For the first time, World Sailing employed a reaching start and finish for the RS:X divisions. For sailors that are used to parking close to the starting line and accelerating at the last second—typical of a start in the RS:X class—this America's Cup-inspired course format required a retooled starting strategy. But the course, which features four reaching and downwind legs and two upwind legs, was generally met with positive reviews.

As was the case with the Women's RS:X, no team in the Men's 49er fleet had secured a podium position of any color going into the Medal Race. But unlike in the RS:X division, the form guide held true with world champions Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) staying right in lockstep with Diego Botín le Chever and Iago López Marra (ESP) throughout the race and ensuring that the British team would emerge from the race with the gold medal. Holding on for third, though they did put themselves in a bit of trouble by rounding the first mark in ninth, were Federico Alonso Tellechea and Arturo Alonso Tellechea (ESP).

"It was brilliant fun out there,” said Bithell, a silver medalist in the 470 class. "We had good breeze and plenty of sunshine. The Medal Race is pretty quick. It was really exciting, and we were just full of adrenaline. It's just incredible sailing [the 49er]. It was hectic but Dylan did a really good job.

"Our strategy initially was to start at the boat end, windward of the Spanish. But we got a little late at the start so we had to go to Plan B, which was to be a bit quicker so we just had to use our speed.”

Though they were, effectively, as far ahead of third place as they were behind first, Botín le Chever and López Marra attacked the racecourse with the aim of getting a gold.

"We needed to put the boat between the British and us to win,” said Botín le Chever. "So we went full-on in the start. The wind was really strong so we had to keep the boat upright. We found ourselves in second place. We needed to overtake the Austrians and we did it. We thought that we'd won the regatta, but then we found out that we were second. Congrats to the British.”

Unfortunately for the Spanish duo, the Austrian team that crossed the line second in the race had crossed the starting line early and was disqualified from the race. But the silver medal is a strong result for this team, which was ninth at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

"It's a really good position for us,” said Botín le Chever. "We have some of the greatest 49er sailors here. This event is motivation for us to keep on working hard. We have a lot of regattas ahead, we still have a long way ahead.”

Victoria Jurczok and Anika Lorenz started the Medal Race in the 49erFX class with a comfortable cushion. But in the spicy wind and chopped wave conditions—and multiple capsizes—no lead was safe. So the German duo kept the pedal to the metal and finished second in the race behind Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (USA).

"It was a hard wrestle for us today,” said Lorenz. "Our main focus on the boat was to make sure that all the manoeuvers were safe and that we didn't capsize. We were not really focusing on the other boats.”

The Norwegian team of Ragna and Maia Agerup was one of the boats that capsized, but in the end it didn't cost them a place in the overall standings. They took silver with Tanja Frank and Lorena Abicht (AUT) in third.

Even for the sailors at the front of the Nacra 17 class, today's race was a learning experience. The 19-21 knots conditions, with 1-meter chop, were right on the edge of what the boats can handle, especially given the fleet's relative inexperience with the lifting foils, which were added to the class less than a year ago. Upwind, most teams chose to keep one hull in the water and go for height over speed. Downwind, however, it was a wild ride with both hulls riding a meter or more out of the water at times. One sailor was swept overboard when her boat crashed down into the water after foiling downwind at 25 knots. She was quickly recovered and her team finished the race.

Lisa Darmanin and skipper Jason Waterhouse (AUS) started the race with a 19-point lead, which meant they only needed to finish the race to ensure the gold medal. Instead they added one more victory to their scorecard, showing exceptional control in challenging conditions.

"We're from Australia,” said Darmanin, a 2016 Rio silver medalist, "so we love the breeze.”

Defending gold medalists Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli (ARG) were last around the first two marks, but showed remarkable speed on the final downwind leg, going from seventh to third and preserving the silver medal. Thomas Zajac and Barbara Matz (AUT) were sixth in the race and third overall.

With a second in the Medal Race in the Men's RS:X, Kiran Badloe broke up a potential one-two finish for France. But it would've taken a perfect race and quite a bit of help from the rest of the fleet to unseat Louis Giard (FRA) who started the final race with a 13-point advantage. Tom Squires (GBR) won the race. Pierre Le Coq (FRA) was sixth in the race, which was enough to keep him on the podium.

"Today the conditions were incredible, I really enjoyed the racing,” said Giard. "A lot of the guys in the RS:X class are really good. So we had really close competition and all the time you have to constantly be looking out because if you open a small window someone will slip in.

"I can't really put my finger on [the key to my success], but I just try my best and I try to enjoy this competition.”

The Finn, Laser and Laser Radial and Men's and Women's 470 sailed today and will have their Medal Races tomorrow.

In the Finn class, Giles Scott (GBR) holds first position with a 19-point lead over the Turkish sailor, Alican Kaynar. Caleb Paine (USA) sits third in the fleet.

Tom Burton (AUS) has an unassailable lead in the Laser class with a 30-point cushion over Nick Thompson (GBR). After the tough battle for second place with Thompson, throughout the week, Philipp Buhl (GER) lands in third place on the leaderboard.

Alison Young (GBR) climbed up the fleet and managed to gain first place in the Laser Radial.
Emma Plasschaert (BEL) had led for the majority of the week however she drops to second. The Rio 2016 bronze medalist, Anne-Marie Rindom (DEN) is third.

In the Men's 470, Luke Patience and Chris Grube (GBR) lead the fleet with 17-points ahead of Kevin Peponnet and Jeremie Mion (FRA). The Swedish, Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström hold third spot.

Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) move up from fourth to first in the Women's 470. Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) take second and Agnieszka Skrzypulec
Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska (POL) third.

The dinghies will sail their Medal Races tomorrow with the racing scheduled to commence at 12:00. You can watch the remaining Medal Races live here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=pZcq-EHxZ3M

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Equipment failure meant an inauspicious start for Trinity College student Aoife Hopkins at the Miami Sailing World Cup yesterday. The Howth Yacht Club sailor did, however, manage a 26th in the third Laser Radial race to be placed 57th from 68 after two days of light air racing so far in Florida. Conditions are expected to improve today.

In the mens Laser division, Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club is 38th from 70 on Biscayne Bay. Lynch has arrived in Miami on the back of training camps in Cadiz and a podium finish in Gran Canaria Olympic Week.

Results are available here

 

Contrary to the other seven boats that are currently used for Olympic sailing, the RS:X Windsurfer is at its most physically demanding in lighter air.

It isn't so different from a 5,000-meter foot race. In fact, given the full body contraction required to fan the large sail, it may even be more taxing. And while the relentless pumping is essential to a good result, tactics do still play an integral role, requiring athletes to think clearly while at their physical redline.

"It was tough always, but it was successful,” said Stefania Elfutina (RUS), the bronze medalist in the class from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. "The light winds meant we had to pump more and that made it tough, because after the second race, I was so tired. I lost all my strength on the water. I am pretty happy with today's result though, I scored a 4, 2 and 2.”

Normally, a scoreline such as that would be an express ticket to the head of the leaderboard. But Israel's Noga Geller (ISR) showcased her superior fitness today, winning all three races, to go along with a second in yesterday's lone race. After two days, she has a five-point lead over Elfutina, who is nine points clear of Fujiko Onishi (JPN) in third.

"I had a good day,” said Geller. "All my races were smooth, and I kept good speed and tactics in all. The offshore wind was pretty stable, so I had to find the pressure and take the right shift at the right time. I kept pumping after the start and during downwind. It was really close between [Stefania and I], especially the last race. I started second and I caught up on the gate. In the end, I went to the better side, which paid off.”

Elfutina likened the finish of the third race to a battle of wills, "We were quite close throughout the race, but we were so tired that we didn't even fight much to win. We both sailed on different sides and met again towards the finish. I think she had more power than me and managed to use that to win.”

Israel has long been a powerhouse in Olympic windsurfing. And this cycle is no exception. For Geller, simply making the Olympic team may be just as challenging as winning a medal. Maya Morris (ISR) is sixth in the overall standings with 22 points while Hadar Heller (ISR) is seventh just a point behind. Of the seven Olympic medals Israel has won since 1996, three have come in Windsurfing. Whether it's Geller, or one of her teammates, who represent Israel in 2020 in Tokyo, there is a good chance to build upon that legacy.

That, however, is a long way down the road. The immediate future involves six more full-fleet races and then the Medal Race on Saturday. Elfutina, for one, is hoping for a little more wind.

"The next few days should be windy and I know I'll have to pump less,” said Elfutina, "hopefully I can focus more on strategy than strength.”

In the Men's RS:X fleet, the Swiss, Mateo Sanz Lanz finished first on the leaderboard followed by close rival, Pawel Tarnowski (POL) and Ivan Pastor Lafuente (ESP) in third.

After not even leaving the dock yesterday, the 26 competitors in the Men's Heavyweight Dinghy division, a.k.a. the Finn class, were happy to get in three races today. This regatta marks the return to World Cup Series competition for two medalists from the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, gold medalist Giles Scott (GBR) and bronze medalist Caleb Paine (USA).

However it was Ioannis Mitakis (GRE) who ruled the day, climbing the ladder with an eighth in the first race, a third in the second and finally a first to close things out.

"It was a hard day,” said Mitakis, who finished 11th in the Rio 2016 Games, missing the Medal Race by a single point. "We had eight knots and three pumping conditions which made it frustrating for us. We were close into the [Rickenbacker Causeway] on the Echo course and that's where it gets shifty. Overall it was tough, but I think I did okay.”

Paine, who sits sixth, but just four points off the lead, agreed with Mitakis' assessment of the wind on the race course.

"It was a very tricky day of sailing,” he said. "It was oscillating back and forth and had different pressure differences. The downwinds were quite tough as well, just trying to stay in the pressure, which was fairly difficult to see. I had some pretty mediocre starts, but was able to adjust through the shifts to get back into the race and had an okay day.

After winning a bronze in Rio, Paine too some time away from the campaign trail. He started training again last fall, and this event is his first major competition on the road to Tokyo. As with the Israeli Windsurfers, Paine knows the value of a strong national training group.

"It's great [to be campaigning again]. I have Luke Muller here and we have a great program, and not being by myself is quite a great thing. We're making great progress when we sail together and I'm just looking forward to sailing. It's an awesome sport, I'm honored and blessed to do it, and look forward to doing it a little bit more.”

A little further downwind from the causeway, the 49erFX fleet was relishing a steadier breeze and ideal water conditions.

"It's not too wavy and the water is quite flat,” said Victoria Jurczok (GER), "it's something different and really fun to sail here.”

Jurczok and teammate Anika Lorenz were the class of the fleet today, picking up a fourth and three firsts and moving into the overall lead by six points.

"We found out the pattern of the shifts for the day,” said Jurzcok, "so we knew what to do and where to go.”

With six races down, the 49erFX fleet is halfway to Saturday's Medal Race. But as well as they've sailed to this point, Jurzcok and Lorenz are not taking anything for granted, especially with the forecast calling for significantly more breeze over the next few days.

"The next few days are going to be windier,” Jurczok added, "so it's going to different game for us.”

In the 49er, Croatians brothers, Sime and Mihovil Fantela continue to hold their lead on day two whilst Dylan Fletcher-Scott and Stuart Bithell (GBR) are in second but equal on points with Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl (AUT).

It is all to play for in the Laser Radial fleet as the top three sailors are locked on equal points. Viktorija Andrulyte (LTU), champion of the 2017 Laser Europa Cup held in Lithuania, is first followed by Valentina Balbi (ITA) and Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) in second and third.

The Laser finished the day with Tom Burton (AUS) in first place on the leaderboard. Nick Thompson (GBR) progressed to second and Thomas Saunders (NZL) is in third.

Australian Rio 2016 Olympic silver medalist Nacra 17 sailors, Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin, dominated today's races winning all three. They hold a nine-point lead over the Great Britain's, John Gimson and Anna Burnet.

The Japanese maintained their dominance in the Men's and Women's 470.

The opening day leaders, Naoki Ichino and Hasegawa Takashi (JPN), defend their top spot in the men's and in the women's fleet, Ai Kondo Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka (JPN) remain first.

Thursday's racing is scheduled to commence at 10:30, local time, starting with the 49er. Schedule, results and live tracking is available below. 

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Two Irish Olympic sailing hopefuls for Tokyo 2020 are among 540 sailors have gathered in Regatta Park, Miami, USA, for the second round of the 2018 World Cup Series, running from 21-28 January 2018.

Howth Yacht Club's Aoife Hopkins and Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club will race in the radial and full rig Laser classes respectively. Full entry lists are here.

Also of Dun Laoghaire interest is 2016 Irish Rio rep Saskia Tidey in the 49erfx, who is now sailing for Team GB.

The event marks the start of a big year for Olympic class sailors, as they prepare for the Hempel Sailing World Championships in Aarhus, Denmark this summer.

Sailors from over 50 nations will race over six days in all ten Olympic events on Biscayne Bay, just off Coconut Grove in Miami. The fleets will feature 27 Olympic medallists and they, along with all competitors, will come up against a moderate 12 knot breeze, warm temperatures and intermittent showers during the week.

Erika Reineke (USA) is a local Laser Radial sailor and she is very familiar with the waters. As sailors get set up in Regatta Park, Reineke welcomes the international competitors and is looking forward to the event. "It's great to see so many faces from across the world come here,” says Reineke.

Reineke and Women's 470 sailor, Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) both relate to the thought of Dolphins whenever they think of sailing in Miami.

Siegenthaler will be sailing with Linda Fahrni. The pair also competed at the first event of the Series in Gamagori, Japan, and just missed out on a podium spot. However, they are looking to improve on that showing, ready for the Worlds in Aarhus.

In the Men's Laser fleet, Lynch will be up against it, the finest sailors in the class are here in Miami ready to fight for World Cup Series medals. The ones to beat will once again be Rio 2016 gold medallist, Tom Burton, reigning World Champion, Pavlos Kontides (CYP) and 2017 European Champion, Nick Thompson (GBR).

Ahead of the competition Kontides was at ease in Miami and when asked what he thought about the Sunshine State he responded, "Beautiful, warm and vibrant.”

However, Kontides says the competition in Miami isn't easy, "It's always tricky. As you can see from the results, sailors finish with high points and competition is very close. It can be unpredictable.”

The London 2012 Olympic medallist, has his sights firmly set on Aarhus as well.

"I have nice memories from Aarhus from 2008. I was able to win the Youth Worlds back then. Right now, my main focus is on training as much as I can and using this event to prepare for the Worlds,” said Kontides.

Racing is scheduled to commence on Tuesday 23 January with the regatta culminating with the LIVE Medal Race days on Saturday and Sunday, 27 and 28 January.

Published in Tokyo 2020

Finn Lynch (21) of the National Yacht Club (NYC) is the Afloat.ie “Sailor of the Month” (Olympic) on the strength of his Silver in the Lasers in the Gran Canaria Olympic Week in mid-December, sailing nine races in light to medium conditions. In a major event which was promoting Gran Canaria’s ambitions to become known as European Sport Island, Lynch successfully availed of the opportunity to up his game after intense training.

Published in Sailor of the Month
Tagged under

Tokyo Laser campaigner Finn Lynch (21) has notched up an important second overall at this month's Gran Canaria Olympic week.

The youngest ever Irish Olympic helmsman, who debuted in Rio, declared himself "happy with my sailing and the progress I've made".

Korean sailor Jeemin Ha beat the Dun Laoghaire man by nine points over nine races in a mix of light and medium conditions. And the top 10 included Belfast sailor Liam Glynn who placed sixth. Full results here.

Meanwhile, the National Yacht Club ace has a fortnight's training at the Canary Islands venue where he hopes to "dial in some things learned at this regatta".

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

Aoife Hopkins finished 21st in the Senior European Laser Championships that concluded today in Barcelona. Rio Olympian Finn Lynch, in the men's standard rig division, finished in 33rd.

There was a slight delay in the launching as once again the weather repeated the pattern of the previous days and the sailors had to wait for wind.

Two races were completed In a strong thermal breeze which was a relief to the sailors after the light tricky conditions of the last few days.

Nick Thompson (GBR) took line honours in the men's standard rig followed closely by Francesco Marria (ITA) and Andrew McKenzie (NZL).

In the women's radial fleet Marit Bowmester (NED) the current World Champions and Rio Olympic gold medalist once again dominated. She was followed by Rio silver medalist Anna-Marie Rindom (DEN) with Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE) in third.

The radial men's line up was Marcin Rudawski (POL) followed by Marcelo Cairo Assenza (GRE) and Dimitris Papadimitriou (ESP).

The young Irish team had some exceptional performances in a fleet dominated by seasoned campaigners. The championship consists of the Europeans (European sailors only) and an open event. This event is considered significant by Sport Ireland and sailors are judged on this European result. In Gold Fleet, Aoife Hopkins, who has yet to turn 19, from Howth Yacht Club finished in 21st (23rd open event) with a 6th position in her first race of the day. 22–year–old Rio Olympian Finn Lynch in the men's standard rig division finished in 33rd in the Europeans (37th open event) and also had a good first race scoring a 12th. Ronan Wallace in the men's radial division finished in 43rd (42nd open).

In the silver division (men's standard rig) 18–year–old Ewan McMahon from Howth Yacht Club in his first senior event finished up 4th silver (61st Europeans and 67th open). Aisling Keller from Lough Derg following an unfortunate protest that pushed her from the bottom of gold fleet into the silver fleet sailed at the top of the fleet and finished up 2nd silver (41st Europeans and 47th open). Sally Bell had a better day today scoring an excellent 15th in her first race today and finished 79th in the Europeans (87th open).

This is a critical year in the Irish teams development and they will be training hard all winter in preparation for the Olympic Qualifying event in Aarhus next summer.

Published in Laser

19–year–old Aoife Hopkins from Howth Yacht Club started the her first day in gold fleet at the Laser European Championships in Barcelona with a mid-fleet result in race one followed by a 31st (discarded) in race two. Hopkins currently lies 20th overall in the 90 boat fleet.

Today’s racing started with a postponement, as the gradient wind that had been there from early morning died away. The sailors settled in and waited for the thermal wind to come in eventually launching at 2:30pm to light shifty conditions.

The Irish sailors that had made Gold fleet discovered that the rumours are true – it is indeed tough at the top! 

Rio Olympian Finn Lynch from the National Yacht Club in the Men’s standard rig fleet scored a 54th (discarded) and 33rd and currently lies 31st overall in the 125 boat fleet. Ireland only other gold fleet competitor Ronan Wallace in the men’s radial division is currently scored DNC on the score sheet.

A protest yesterday pushed Aisling Keller from Lough Derg Yacht Club into silver fleet in the women’s radial. Aisling scored a 38th and an 18th leaving her 59th overall. Sally Bell in her first senior European event scored a 45th and 44th . In the men’s standard rig Ewan McMahon also in his first senior event enjoyed some racing at the top of silver fleet to score a 12th and a 4th bringing him up the score sheet nicely to 65th overall.

Results are here.

Published in Laser

The scoreline's impressive but it belies the fact that on the water the National Yacht Club's Finn Lynch is not getting things all his own way at Royal Cork Yacht Club's Laser National Championships. A string of wins came to an end in race six this morning when Tokyo 2020 rival Liam Glynn, the former Topper World Champion, took the gun but it was business as usual in races seven and eight as Lynch built a six–point advantage over the Ballyholme YC man. Royal Cork's own Nick Walsh is third but some 17–points off Glynn.

Although Johnny Durcan made the tough decision to sit out the Laser Radial Worlds in Medemblik, Holland after day two (he was lying thirteenth after the first day) the Cork helmsman, who is recovering from injury after a capsize in California, was in fact back in action at the Nationals today, on the third day of competition in the full rig division, and counted a 3,4,2 to be right up there with Olympic trialists, Lynch and Glynn. See the standard rig results here

Race officer Peter Crowley sailed the combined fleets in a westerly breeze outside Cork Harbour today.

Laser Nats 17 2923Sean Craig moves up to second overall in the 32-boat Radial fleet after eight races sailed Photo: Bob Bateman

Royal Cork's Luke McGrath stays top of the Radials and he has 20–point margin over Sean Craig, a recent Radial rig convert, who has moved into seconf place. The Royal St. George multi–champion is now four points clear of club mate Patrick Cahill on 36 points. Read the Radial results here.

In the 4.7 fleet, Jack Fahy also maintains his overall lead with a seven point cushion and in a show of strength for the Royal St. George Yacht Club, another George helmsman is second with Tom higgins counting 18–points. Third is Michael Carroll from Kinsale YC. 4.7 results are here.

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Published in Laser

The National Yacht Club's mens Laser dinghy ace, Finn Lynch was hit with a U Flag penalty today that keeps him 23rd of 25 at the end of the second day of World Cup Final racing in Santander, Spain. Royal Irish Yacht Club sailor Saskia Tidey, also from Dun Laoghaire, but now sailing for Team GB, leads the 49erFX fleet after six races sailed with partner Charlotte Dobson. Results are here.

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.

Saskia tidey SantanderTeam GB's Charlotte Dobson with Dun Laoghaire crew Saskia Tidey lead in Santander. Photo: Jesus Renedo/World Sailing

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.

Racing resumes at 12:00 local time on Thursday 8 June. The week of racing will culminate in the Live Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June.

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under

The World Cup Final kicked off in Santander, Spain today (6 June) with one Irish Olympic sailing squad sailor in attendance. Finn Lynch of the National Yacht Club in Dun Laoghaire is 23rd from 25 of the world's top Laser sailors. Another Dun Laoghaire sailor, Saskia Tidey of the Royal Irish Yacht Club, who is now sailing for Team GB, took an opening race win and now lies sixth overall after three races in the Womens' 49erFX with Charlotte Dobson.

Check out the overall results here.

It's a common phrase in sailing, you cannot win on the opening day, but you could lose it. Therefore the 260 competitors from 41 nations racing across the ten Olympic and open kiteboarding fleets strived to put good results on the board and lay the foundation for the week ahead.

A 10-13 knot westerly breeze enabled sailors to complete all their races across a cloud covered Bay of Biscay and Santander Bay.

The top five teams in the Women's Skiff, 49erFX, are split by three points after a day where each of them put three 'keepers' on the board. Argentina's Victoria Travascio and Maria Branz occupy the first place followed by Great Britain's Kate Macgregor and Sophie Ainsworth and Brazil's Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze.

Singapore's Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low are tied with the Brazilians and for their first-time racing in Santander, came off the water with smiles on their faces. "It was a pretty good first race, we were easing into it,” said Low. Lim continued, "We got a good understanding of the race area from our first race and that helped with the rest of the day.”

The pair recently finished third at the Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma de Mallorca, Spain and ninth at the French World Cup and they're enjoying their sailing together, "We have been competing together for two years. Cecilia is five years older than me, so I just finished youth and then we jumped into sailing together. It's been an awesome partnership,” explained Lim.

Low added, "We have been able to gel together and communicate very well. It's going very well.”

Although they're close to the podium after day one, the Singaporeans know there's nine fleet races remaining ahead of the Medal Race and their plan, for now, is simple, "We're looking into our processes and seeing how we can improve,” concluded Low.

In the Men's Skiff, 49er, Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) are tied on five points with James Peters and Fynn Sterritt of Great Britain. Three races were held with wins going the way of the Polish pair, Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas (GBR) as well as Argentinean brothers Yago and Klaus Lange.

Switzerland's Mateo Sanz was prepared for a final day Men's Windsurfer, RS:X, duel with Louis Giard (FRA) at the French leg of the World Cup Series to decide the honours. However, after failing to keep clear of a rival competitor ahead of the final day, Sanz received a disqualification and dropped completely out of contention.

Fast forward to the World Cup Final and Sanz has erased the French headache from his memories and knows what he must do to perform in Spain.

"I will try and avoid those situations,” he said through a smile, "I need to be more consistent. That is in the past and now I am focusing on this competition and trying to do my best.”

Sanz certainly brought his best on the opening day of racing. He finished second in the opening race, backed it up with a first and solidified it with a fourth, which he discards. He holds an early advantage over Thomas Goyard (FRA) but the Frenchman discards a 16th so will have to be cautious this week.

In the Women's Windsurfer fleet, Katy Spychakov (ISR) is first overall. Emma Wilson (GBR) and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Peina Chen (CHN) follow.

Home nation favourite Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) got better as the day went on in the Mixed Multihull, Nacra 17. A third, followed by a second and then a first puts them in control at the early stages of the event. John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) and Tom Phipps and Nicola Boniface (GBR) trail the Spaniards by one point.

French World Cup winner Nico Parlier (FRA) was the form rider in the Foiling Formula Kite. Five races wins out of six in the yellow fleet hand him the overall lead. Guy Bridge (GBR) won three races in the blue fleet and is second overall.

Defending World Cup Final champion Oliver Bridge (GBR) is down in sixth place.

In the Two Person Dinghies, 470, Japan's Ryo Imamura and Jumpei Hokazono controlled the men's division, snatching up a 1-2. Four Japanese Men's 470 teams are racing in Santander, working as a team to make gains and improvements. Although Imamura and Hokazono lead, the remaining three crews will be piling on the pressure in the coming days.

The second win of the day in the men's fleet went to Italy's Giacomo Ferrari and Giulio Calabro. However, before racing started the Italians received a discretionary penalty as their boat did not weigh-in the specifications laid out in the class rules. They therefore received a 40% penalty to their days scores and are ninth overall.

Spain's Barbara Cornudella and Sara Lopez sailed consistently, picking up a third and a second in the Women's fleet. Silvia Mas and Patricia Cantero (ESP), Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Hannah Mills, sailing with Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) and pre-regatta favourites Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) follow, tied on seven points.

Great Britain's Ed Wright has the early lead in the Men's Heavyweight Dinghy, Finn, but the pack of racers behind him are all tight. Just ten points split the top eight. Henry Wetherell (GBR) and Alex Muscat (ESP) took the day's race wins.

Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) and Charlie Buckingham (USA) share the Men's One Person Dinghy, Laser, lead. Both racers were consistent on the opening day and are level on five points. The Frenchman recorded a race win and a fourth and the American picked up a 3-2 scorecard.

2016 Youth World Champion Dolores Moreira (URU) opened her Santander account with a fifth in the opening race but moved to the top of the Women's One Person Dinghy, Laser Radial, leaderboard after a bullet in the final race of the day.

Moreira is three points clear of Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE), gold medallist at the 2017 World Cup Series event in Miami, USA. The opening race win went the way of Evi van Acker (BEL) who is seventh overall.

The discard kicks in after three races in the Laser, Laser Radial, 470s and Finn so changes are to be expected after Wednesday's action.

Racing resumes at 12:00 local time on Wednesday 7 June. The week of racing will culminate in the Live Medal Races on Saturday 10 and Sunday 11 June.

Published in Tokyo 2020
Tagged under
Page 4 of 13

William M Nixon has been writing about sailing in Ireland and internationally for many years, with his work appearing in leading sailing publications on both sides of the Atlantic. He has been a regular sailing columnist for four decades with national newspapers in Dublin, and has had several sailing books published in Ireland, the UK, and the US. An active sailor, he has owned a number of boats ranging from a Mirror dinghy to a Contessa 35 cruiser-racer, and has been directly involved in building and campaigning two offshore racers. His cruising experience ranges from Iceland to Spain as well as the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, and he has raced three times in both the Fastnet and Round Ireland Races, in addition to sailing on two round Ireland records. A member for ten years of the Council of the Irish Yachting Association (now the Irish Sailing Association), he has been writing for, and at times editing, Ireland's national sailing magazine since its earliest version more than forty years ago

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