Girls' showcase at Junior Euros
Two more races for all fleets today and the girls steal a march on the 420 Junior European Championships leaderboard, claiming 4 out of the top 5 places in this open fleet.
Not much fun for the boys who are being well and truly outsailed, with Poland’s Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska continuing to hold the lead. A breeze of around 10-12 knots delivered another day of great racing conditions in Cardigan Bay, justly recognizing Pwllheli Sailing Club’s status as the Welsh National Sailing Academy and one of four Royal Yachting Association national sailing academies.
Races 5 and 6 wrapped up the qualification series for the 420 Junior European Championships and cut the ninety-six boat fleet in half, with 48 teams advancing to gold fleet and the remaining 48 going through to silver. The series discard kicked in after race 5, with a bit of a counting game for teams aspiring to gold fleet as they calculated the race positions they needed to deliver in race 6 to make the grade.
There was the potential for some big changes in the leaderboard after the discard, but it did not unsettle the series leaders Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna of Poland. Despite a poor performance by their racing standards so far - two double-digit results - they continue to hold tight at the front of the fleet.
“I am really happy and we are sailing well. We are a little bit surprised that we are leading,” said Romaniuk. “For me this is our best regatta.”
Moving on up to join them in the top three today are Italy’s Ilaria Paternoster/Benedetta di Salle, who recently won the bronze medal at the SailFirst ISAF Youth Worlds and secured two race wins, along with France’s Marie Soler/Laura Pebrier.
The girls’ advance up the leaderboard has knocked Portugal’s Diogo Pereira/Pedro Cruz, ISAF Youth Worlds 420 boys bronze medallists, down to fourth.
Tomorrow’s first day of finals is likely to be a showdown as the Portuguese will come face to face with the Polish leaders for the first time.
“We haven’t sailed against the Polish girls yet and now the fleets are divided into gold and silver we will just try to do our best to race against them. I didn’t know this team before and they are really good,” smiled Pereira. The pair seemed to struggle in the conditions today as Pereira explained, “The wind was clearer before, but today it was really shifty and it was a bit difficult. But overall the wind here is very good.”
Joining the top three girls’ teams are Silvia Mas/Nuria Miro from Spain and the 420 Ladies World Champions Annabel Cattermole/Bryony Bennet-Lloyd of Great Britain in 5th and 9th respectively. Look a bit further down the leaderboard and nine of the top twenty teams are girls.
Cattermole/Bennet-Lloyd have had to bring themselves back down from the heady heights of their gold medal high to focus back on the race track.
“It has been tricky getting back into our routines,” explained Cattermole. “Yesterday was a really tough day, we were rounding the windward mark in around 35th after poor starts. So yes we were moving forwards really well in the races, but we shouldn’t have been back there. We were not really punching out from the starts and giving ourselves the options. We are not as sharp here as Valencia, I don’t know why. We are holding back and not being as confident I guess. It is going to be hard to catch the Polish girls though.”
Six more races over the next three days will make up the final series of races to ultimately crown the Junior European Champions, with races 7 and 8 scheduled to get underway at 1300 hours on Tuesday 20 August.
420 Open – Top 10 Leaderboard
1. Ewa ROMANIUK/Katarzyna GORALSKA (POL) - Female - 18 pts
2. Ilaria PATERNOSTER/Benedetta DI SALLE (ITA) – Female – 20 pts
3. Marie SOLER/Laura PEBRIER (FRA) – Female – 20 pts
4. Diogo PEREIRA/Pedro CRUZ (POR) – 26 pts
5. Silvia MAS/Nuria MIRO (ESP) – Female – 32 pts
6. Scott WALLIS/Josh VOLLER (GBR) – 36 pts
7. Bart LAMBRIEX/Philip MEIJER (NED) – 39 pts
8. Pedro MARTÃNEZ/Luis BUGALLO (ESP) – 44 pts
9. Annabel CATTERMOLE/Bryony BENNET-LLOYD (GBR) – Female – 46 pts
10. James TAYLOR/Tom LOVESEY (GBR) – 47 pts