Hat trick deliveries on race day 1
The shifty breeze varyied from 8-14 knots. One hundred and seventy-nine teams from 28 nations took to the water, in the first day of the twelve race series being held on Austria’s Lake Neusiedl.
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A hat trick day for Spain’s David Charles/Alex Charles (ESP) and Alex Kavvas/George Kavvas (GRE) in the 420 Open fleet with three race wins each in their respective fleets.
Over in the 420 Ladies division, Jennifer Poret/Louise Chevet (FRA) delivered a 2,1,2 to have the most consistent day and lead the series so far.
The battle at the front of the 420 Ladies fleet was between Chile’s Nadja Howitz/Sofia Middleton and Jennifer Poret/Louise Chevet of France, who were both seeded to the yellow fleet.
It started with advantage to Nadja Howitz/Sofia Middleton who wrapped up a win in race 1 today, followed up with a second place in race 2.
A beaming Howitz reflected on her 1,2,3 opening day, “Yes, I liked the day. We are happy with what we did today. The French were really fast. I have competed against them at two events previously, so I knew they were going to be up there and really fast. It was hard.”
Howitz/Middleton do most of their training in Argentina, and Howitz credits much of their success to date to their coaches and the level of training they do. Howitz is fresh from a fourth place at the ISAF Youth Worlds, although with a different crew.
It was close though, as battling throughout in the yellow fleet were Jennifer Poret/Louise Chevet who delivered the opposite scoreline in the first two races - a 2, 1. Race 3 broke the tie with Poret/Chevet finishing ahead of the Chileans to end the day in first overall. Poret/Chevet are the 2011 420 European Champions and 2011 420 European silver medallists.
Chevet said, “It was a little bit hard. The Chileans were very close to us, but it was quite easy over the rest of the fleet. There was more wind than the other days, but it was very shifty, and really different pressure over the course. The first day is very important for the Championship, because there is only one discard and it is important not to have bad races at the start. So a good day is a good day. We want to at least achieve a podium finish here.”
Singapore teams dominated the 420 Ladies blue fleet. Rachel Lee/Cecilia Low (SIN) took the wins in races 1 and 3, with teammates Griselda Khng/Shu Xian Lee (SIN) securing victory in race 2.
Twenty-one year old Griselda Khng first made a name for herself when she finished as top girl at the 2006 Optimist World Championships.
Lee commented, “It is a good start for us today. Definitely we are quite motivated right now for getting such good races.” Race wins was not exactly what the pair had anticipated, as Lee continued, “We were just going out and doing our best. We had good starts and played the shifts well. It was shifty and unpredictable.” This is their second appearance at a 420 Worlds, having previously finished 17th at the 2010 420 Worlds in Israel.
Rachel Lee/Cecilia Low (SIN) © Paul Szimak - derpaul.at
Sailing like computers was the description coach Nick Drougas gave to his protégés, Alex and George Kavas of Greece, who delivered three race wins in the 420 Open red fleet. Alex laughed when hearing this comparison, saying, “Yes it was a good day and the wind was very good for us,” but admitted it was hard racing. The pair didn’t have the best starts in each race, but pushed up through the fleet to achieve their goal of being in the top five by the first windward mark and then geared up from there.
The second race was particularly tough as they found themselves sandwiched between two boats who were over the line, forcing them back to the second row. An escape off the line as quickly as possible, a few good tacks and they were up to second at the first mark.
In the 420 Open yellow fleet, recently crowned ISAF Youth Sailing World Champions, brothers David and Alex Charles from Spain put in a matching performance of three race wins. Responding to whether this was a first, Alex wryly said, “No we did the same on the first day of Kieler Woche!” At Kiel, they were eventually beaten by Nadja Horwitz/Francisca Fuentes (CHI).
“We are really, really happy. We sailed really good,” said Alex. “In the first race we were third at the first mark and then in the reach we had the best speed and we finished first. In race 2 we were at the first mark second and again had fast reaching and downwind speed and were really fast. In the third race until the last downwind leg we were third, but then we found some shifts and finished first.”
Astonishing to think that the Spanish brothers didn’t even qualify to the Spanish team for last year’s 420 World Championships, so 2012 is their first ever appearance at a 420 Worlds!
420 Men Fleet © Paul Szimak - derpaul.at
In the 420 Open blue fleet, three different teams claimed victories with Ian Barrows/Ian Coyle from the US Virgin Islands taking race 1, Reiner van Dijk/Spencer McDonough (USA) winning race 2 and Italy’s Francesco Rebauldi/Pietro Canepa dominating race 3. The teams could not repeat their form across the other races.
Reflecting on his win, Coy said, “It was kind of a surprise, but we know we have it. It wasn’t too hard to win as although we had a bad start, we went right and found some shifts. We only won the race in the last two legs after gaining with great speed in the downwind.” A progressively downward outcome though for the team, with an eighth in race 2 and a 22nd in the last race due to a ripped spinnaker.
A solid performance from France’s Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan placed them in third overall from a 4,3,3 scoreline. Pirouelle/Sipan finished in silver behind the Charles’ brothers at the recent ISAF Youth Worlds, and are the reigning 420 Junior European Champions.
The fleets have been reseeded (see online Noticeboard for details) based on today’s overall position on the leaderboard and racing will resume tomorrow with the first scheduled starts at 1100 hours.
Top Image: Nadja Howitz/Sofia Middleton (CHI) © Paul Szimak - derpaul.at