Gold and Silver fleets decided at 2011 420 Open and Ladies Europeans
No real surprises on Monday's final day of qualification, just more solid sailing from those at the top.
No real surprises on Monday's final day of qualification, just more solid sailing from those at the top. Monday was crunch day at the 2011 420 Open and Ladies European Championships, with the close of racing determining the teams making the cut to the Gold Fleets. Six races made up the opening qualification series, with a further six in the final series which gets underway on Wednesday 27 July.
Racing didn't start until after 1600 hours this afternoon, as the Race Committee's prediction of light winds in the morning came true, before improving to 12-12 knots over a flat sea to hold one race in the Ladies division and two in the Open.
The one discard in the 12-race series came into play after race 5 today and re-shuffled the pack as teams could drop their worst score, which for many was a black flag penalty (BFD) that they could now forget. No further mistakes can be made for these teams as any bad result will remain on their scorecard.
The biggest team gain from the discard is awarded to Mike Wood/Hermione Stanley (GBR) who lose their BFD from day 1, which turns their otherwise solid results into a second overall on the leaderboard with 27 points, only a 6 point deficit behind the Greek leaders. The same outcome for Xavier Antich/Ramon Lleonart (ESP) whose now discarded BFD puts them in third overall.
Another great day for the Kavas brothers, despite a BFD penalty in race 5. Always modest in their achievements, big brother George described their day as “not so good,” despite still being in first overall. His comment refers to the BFD picked up in race 5.
Recent exposure at the ISAF Youth Worlds in Croatia where they finished seventh overall seems to have given some solid confidence to the performance of Craig Dibb/Charlie Cox. Commenting on today's races, Cox said, “It was about 12+ plus knots and we got a good start off the pin end and sailed well finding pressure on the left and rounded in the top three and then sailed the rest of the series like that.” However, it was not quite so simple as Cox made out, as the fitting on the end of their spinnaker pole had snapped off and they had to keep re-connecting the pole to the mast. The pair gained another place just before the line, as the boat ahead of them got yellow flagged for breaking a propulsion rule. Commenting on the friendly rivalry with their British team mates, and particularly the mixed team of Mike Woods/Hermione Stanley who ended day 3 ahead of them, Dibb said, “It's a bit annoying. They are really good and we just want to beat them.”
Next step for this pair is to consolidate their position and avoid picking up big results in the gold fleet. Woods/Dibb still have a discard up their sleeve, as their scoreline is impressive and they will now plan to push the start a bit harder in the final races.
2011 ISAF Youth Worlds Champion Jordi Xammer is pleased to have moved up the leaderboard today with an 11, 3 posting to close the qualification series in eighth overall. Xammer said, “The first race was not so good. On the second race we gained six places in the downwind to finish third. We are very happy with how we sailed.” Their aim is for a top 5 or 7 position, but as Xammer anticipated, “We must see what the wind does, it is always shifting. We must check every day whether it is right or left.”
The top 39 boats of the 77 boat fleet proceed to the gold fleet, with the remaining 38 in the silver fleet.
It has been almost total dominance now across the qualification series in the Ladies fleet for France's Jennifer Poret/Louise Chevet who remain at the front of the pack, and today added another race bonus to their stunning scorecard with a race 6 win. Poret/Chevet have sailed together for two years and Chevet puts their success down to the conditions being good for them as they are a light team who also enjoy the shifty wind. But she went on to acknowledge that the gold fleet racing will deliver a different environment, “It will be difficult because we know that the other boats in the fleet will put pressure on us and all the good teams will be together in one fleet.”
Continuing to remain on pace with the French are Paulina Rothlauf/Madlen Geisler (GER) who are in second overall going through to the gold fleet after a second place finish in race 6. Looking ahead to the final series, Rothlauf comment, “I don't think we will take a different approach, we will do the same as we have already done.” Their preference is for light winds and on their performance so far, Rothlauf admitted that, “We are feeling very confident and we are very happy,” and is planning to relax on the lay day with extra sleep and time on the beach. Rothlauf also credited their success to the great spirit in the entire German team and that her sailing is also motivated by her boyfriend, Adrian Hoesch, who is racing here in Tavira, but not doing quite as well. Hoesch, with helm Julian Stuckl has just made the cut for the gold fleet despite two BFD penalties yesterday!
Cristina Celli/Silvia Morini (ITA) move back to third overall with a second place in race 6.
One of the most improved performances of the day goes to Nia Jones/Molly Frost (GBR) who as they put it were “in the zone” and notched up their best race result of the series. Unfortunately their third in race 6 was just too little too late on the scorecard for them to make the cut to the gold fleet by 4 points.
The top 31 boats in the 62 boat Ladies fleet will now go through to the gold fleet.
|Alexander Kavas/George Kavas
|Mike Wood/Hermione Stanley
|Xavier Antich/Ramon Lleonart
|Clovis Leroux/Aymeric Paruit