Qualification series completed on day 3 of 420 Junior Europeans
Racing got underway in about 16 knots on the 420 course area for race 5, increasing for race 6 to around 25 knots. A wind shift just before the start of the last 420 start for race 6 meant a half hour delay to re-set the line, but for some that was opportune as the wind decreased to a more manageable 17-20 knots.
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Another superb day for the series leaders with continued impressive performances in the conditions. The discard coming into play after race 5, delivered overall equal points to the top two teams after the end of the qualification series, with Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan (FRA) and Angus Galloway/Alexander Gough (AUS) on 7 points each; advantage France on tie-break. The leaderboard could have been the other way around had the Australians not capsized in race 5 and lost the race lead to Israel's Gal Cohen/Hadar Moran who went on to take the race win. Moving on up to end the day in third overall are Tim Gratton/Ed Riley (GBR) after a 3,2 race scores.
“It was a good day, another windy one,” said Galloway, before adding, “but it then lightened off up the first beat and went kind of fluky, dropping from 15-20 to 10-15 knots in the first right. It then picked up about five minutes before race 6. It was a really roly swell today with waves a little bit further apart than yesterday and a little bit easier to sail through.”
All top teams are in a strong position going into the final series, but as Gough highlighted, “we are only halfway through and the event effectively starts again from Friday.” The 420 fleet is now split into gold, silver and bronze for the finals. “We can expect much closer racing now, and you won't be able to recover as well from any mistakes because all the boats will be a lot better in the gold fleet and there won't be any second chances,” concluded Galloway.
Israel's victory in race 5 could not be repeated in race 6, where Cohen/Moran scored an unlucky 13 as Moran explained. “It was a good day and we didn't take any risks in race 5. We were patient for our opportunity and we managed to move from fourth to first in the second upwind and went on to finish first.” Cohen continued, “In these conditions it is great to be first as you can then sail the race alone and not try to be risky.” Their more lacklustre performance in race 6 was due to capsizes in the downwind and upwind legs, which they put down to insufficient focus. For this pair the layday will bring sleep, boat checking and a look around Nieuwpoort.
A risk averse move from the Kavas brothers of Greece saw them decide to not hoist the spinnaker in race 6. With one DNF from yesterday, they didn't want to risk anything and had assessed that on the plus side a spinnaker hoist would only gain them two places in the fleet but potentially see them fail to qualify for the gold fleet if anything went wrong. A wise move from this young pair which has put them in 11th overall going into the final series.
Three women's teams have qualified through to the gold fleet, with Jessica Lavery/Georgie Mothersele (GBR) clawing back to become the top qualifying women's team in 19th overall, followed by Marlenn Lemaitre/Aloise Retornaz (FRA) in 25th and Annabel Vose/Megan Brickwood (GBR) in 27th. Each of these teams will now aim to punch higher up the leaderboard in the next 6 races and overtake the men, and also to claim the more valuable of the gold, silver and bronze medals which between them they are already guaranteed.
Top 10 Overall after 6 Races
1. Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan (FRA) - 7pts
2. Angus Galloway/Alexander Gough (AUS) - 7 pts
3. Tim Gratton/Ed Riley (GBR) - 9 pts
4. Floris van de Werken/Laurens van de Werken (NED) - 13 pts
5. Jordi Xammar/Alex Claville (ESP) - 13 pts
6. Gal Cohen/Hadar Moran (ISR) - 14 pts
7. Adrian Barcelo/Pedro Terrones – 14 pts
8. Tim Fischer/Sebastian Ziegler (GER) - 19 pts
9. Goncalo Pires/Caetano Lacerda (POR) – 21 pts
10. Craig Dibb/Charlie Cox (GBR) – 21 pts
Friday 12 August is a layday for the 420 fleet and racing will resume on Saturday 13 August with races 7 and 8 scheduled.
The 2011 420 Junior European Championships are taking place together with the 2011 470 Junior European Championships in Nieuwpoort, Belgium from 7-15 August 2011.