Big waves challenge 420 fleet on day 1 of 420 Junior Europeans
Two races were completed on day one of the 2011 420 Junior European Championships in fairly challenging sea conditions with waves up to 2 metres and wind of 20-22 knots, decreasing to around 15 knots for race 2.
Two races were completed on day one of the 2011 420 Junior European Championships in fairly challenging sea conditions with waves up to 2 metres and wind of 20-22 knots, decreasing to around 15 knots for race 2. The fleet has been split into three divisions for the 6-race qualification series, and will be re-seeded after each day's racing, before being split for the 6-race final series into gold, silver and bronze fleets.
Bronze medallists from the 2011 ISAF Youth Worlds Angus Galloway/Alexander Gough (AUS) came out on top today with a 2,1 scoreline, chased hard by the gold medallists from the Youth Worlds, Spain's Jordi Xammar/Alex Claville on scores of 3,1.
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Galloway said, “We have just been training since the ISAF Youth Worlds. It was good to finally have some wind to race in, although tomorrow looks to be a bit lighter.” Whilst the Aussies couldn't have asked for a better opening day, at the moment they are mindful of the need to get through the qualifying series in a good position, and then approach the battle for the top places. “Originally our plan for the summer in Europe was to peak for Kieler Woche and then the Youth Worlds, but we are now focussed on getting a top 10 result here too – it would be great to finish off our campaign with that.” Galloway admitted that the temperatures of northern Europe have been a bit of a shock compared to the sunshine of their more familiar sailing waters in Brisbane.
Rounding out the top three are Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan (FRA), who also competed at the ISAF Youth Worlds where they finished seventh, and ended day 1 in Nieuwpoort with a 2,2 performance.
Top women's team of the day and top British boat are Jessica Lavery/Georgie Mothersele who round off day 1 in twelfth overall.
Two poor starts were to blame for what was declared a “not bad” performance from Belgium's home team of Quinten Lootens/Stijn Van Hoye. But despite, as they put it, “strange wind and waves” they were able to punch through the pack to post 11,7 and finish the day in 23rd overall.
Relishing the conditions, recently crowned 2011 420 European Champions, Alexander and George Kavas (GRE) finished a solid 6,2.
World class coach Jim Saltonstall is on hand giving morning briefings in the boat park, and videoing racing to give feedback in his hugely popular post-race debrief. Saltonstall's advise to the sailors this afternoon was, “Sailing in these conditions, focus on boat speed, not pointing. Many of the teams needed more power to get through the waves, shrouds were too tight and mainsails too flat.”
Attended by the majority of the 420 fleet, and some of the 470 sailors, Saltonstall continued, “Starting techniques and starting ability had to really focus on the use of the tide on the starting line, which was across the line taking boats from right to left, as well as slightly over the line at start time. For this reason alone there were quite a few black flags especially at the starboard end of the line near the committee boat.” Saltonstall's top advice to the sailors was, “Whenever you cannot get a transit on the starting line under a black flag start, make sure you focus on starting out of one end or the other, so you can more accurately judge the line.”
Saltonstall complimented the boat handling techniques today which were generally very good; tacking the boat, hoisting and gybing. But Saltonstall also had his eye on sailor fitness, noting, “The range of fitness levels, especially with the oscar flag flying, was evident. The front end of the fleet were working very hard and the fitness differences could be seen as you transferred down the fleet, and is an area which sailors need to work on in a continuation training programme.”
For those further down in the fleet, the conditions were certainly proving more of a struggle, as Poland's women's team of Julia Rokosz/Joanna Szopinska, who ended day 1 in 57th overall, after two 18th places in each of the races, experienced. Szopinska explained, “The wind was very strong and the waves really high and big. We like these conditions with big waves, but we are small girls so it was not so easy for us,” before adding, “but it was a lot of fun and that is sailing!”
Used to a warmer climate, the impact of the cold on performance was the primary concern for Singapore's Jia Yun Ko/Shi Xian Lee, who are competing at their first 420 Class Championship. Ko said, “It was cold, I am cold. I have never been this cold. You can't move very well and it's hard to concentrate when you are this cold.” She explained their objectives at the Championships, “This event is mainly for exposure, we have never sailed in these conditions before, so we are not looking for really good results here, but just to build our confidence.” Cold aside, Yun Ko concluded, “It is quite exciting to be here in Europe and Belgium competing.”
Two races are scheduled for Wednesday 10 August 2011, with racing scheduled to start at 1400 hours for the 420 fleet.
Top 10 after 2 Races
1. Angus Galloway/Alexander Gough (AUS) – 3 pts
2. Jordi Xammar/Alex Claville (ESP) – 4 pts
3. Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan (FRA) – 4 pts
4. Goncalo Pires/Caetano Lacerda (POR) – 5 pts
5. Gal Cohen/Hadar Moran (ISR) – 6 pts
6. Xavier Antich/Ramon Lleonart (ESP) – 7 pts
7. Alexander Kavas/George Kavas (GRE) – 8 pts
8. Floris van de Werken/Laurens van de Werken (NED) – 9 pts
9. Guido D'Errico/Gabriele Minelli (ITA) – 11 pts
10. Goncalo Pinho/Miguel Hipolito (POR) – 11 pts