Glorious opening day
Girls rule in the 420 Open fleet - which pitches all ninety-six girls, boys and mixed teams against each other - after the first 2 races of the qualification series, with Poland's Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska taking a 2 point lead over the Italian girls team of Illaria Paternoster/Benedetta di Salle in second place.
Racing got underway at 1400 hours on Cardigan Bay for the first day of racing at the 420 and 470 Junior Europeans taking place in Pwllheli, Great Britain. The teams couldn’t have asked for better conditions, with 10-12 knots, glorious sunshine and light waves which slowly built as racing progressed. The breeze started out at 240 degrees, then veered left to about 215 degrees for the second race.
The 420 teams were split into two fleets of 48 boats, racing in yellow and blue groups, for the first three days of qualification, before advancing to gold and silver for the final three days and 6 races of final series.
Impressive to see 420 girls teams outpacing the boys with a crushing performance to claim the top two positions after the first day of qualification. Poland's Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska scoring a 1,3 to lead and Italy’s Illaria Paternoster/Benedetta di Salle finished in 4,2 to end their day in second place.
Paternoster/di Salle, claimed the bronze medal at the ISAF Youth Worlds this year, and won gold at the previous year’s Championship in 2012, but are yet to convert this success to the 470 World or Junior Europeans podium steps – this may be their year.
The Polish combination of Romaniuk/Goralska are racing their first season together and recently finished 9th at the ISAF Youth Worlds.
“These are our conditions and we really like them,” said Romaniuk. “We just sailed well today.”
Goralska added, “We trained here for two days before the Championship. Today it was easy, as it was perfect conditions for us. We only had a good start in the second race, but we won the first race because of a bit of luck. We chose the left and it was the right decision.”
The top boys' team on the leaderboard are Portugal's Diogo Pereira/Pedro Cruz who make an appearance in third overall and also delivered a top performance at the ISAF Youth Worlds, securing bronze and then finishing in 6th at the 420 Worlds. But they are sandwiched either side of girls teams, with 4th and 5th places also belonging to the fairer gender. The top 10 leaderboard is an equal split of 5 girls and 5 boys teams.
“We are happy,” said Pereira. “Just a small mistake in the last race and I took a swim which made us lose a lot of places in the upwind as I slipped when hiking. Our goal is to win, because we know we can do it. But for all our Championships our goal is top three.”
A busy summer of racing for the pair, with appearances at the ISAF Youths, 420 Worlds, Pereira also raced the 470 Worlds in La Rochelle with a different crew, and now the 470 Junior Europeans.
Pereira raced with Paulo Manso at the 470 Worlds in La Rochelle, “At the 470 Worlds, I got a lot of experience and now coming back to the 420 I realise I have learnt some things I didn’t know and it helps.”
420 Open – Top 10 Leaderboard
1. Ewa ROMANIUK/Katarzyna GORALSKA (POL) Female - 4 pts
2. Ilaria PATERNOSTER/Benedetta DI SALLE (ITA) Female - 6 pts
3. Diogo PEREIRA/Pedro CRUZ (POR) Male - 7 pts
4. Marie SOLER/Laura PEBRIER (FRA) Female - 9 pts
5. Mara CABA/PILAR CABA (ESP) Female - 9 pts
6. Will LOGUE/Bram BRAKMAN (USA) Male - 10 pts
7. Scott WALLIS/Josh VOLLER (GBR) Male - 12 pts
8. Kilian WAGEN/Gregoire SIEGWART (SUI) Male - 17 pts
9. Silvia MAS/Nuria MIRO (ESP) Female - 18 pts
10. Taylor BURN/Henry GIBBS (NZL) Male - 19 pts