Leaderboard shuffles on the first day of gold and silver fleet racing features Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Symanski (GER) and Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) sitting pretty at the front of the fleets. Another unpredictable and challenging race track with the breeze nudging 7 knots at best, in conditions that benefited the light wind specialists. Two races were completed for all fleets.
The heat is on here in Aarhus, Denmark – as teams are pushed to raise their game and an intense sun beats down on the race track.
Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanski (GER) are firmly in the lead as the only 470 men team to count an all top ten scoreline. A win in the opening race of gold fleet racing pushed them up to second overall, and their 5th place in the next race secured their position at the front. The pair also have a card to play, as their discard race is an 11th, whereas every other team in the top 10 is already discarding a double-digit score and counting a double-digit score. So whilst the Germans will not be looking to make any mistakes, they know they hold a useful safety net.
“We are super happy,” said Gerz. “It was very, very difficult today as the wind was really light. But we finally managed somehow to read the pressure on the water quite good.”
In the fickle breeze, strategy was all important. “We had two good strategic decisions in the first race on the upwind. In the first race we were going to the left after a bad start, like really far left, which brought us first to the top mark already. And then we were able to keep this advantage until the finish, and we had a good lead. In the second race we were a bit in a pack close to the pin end boat. Then after the start we were forced to tack to the right and we soon saw that pressure on the right started to increase, and on the left decrease. So we changed plan and stuck right.
“There’s still a long way to go, with 4 final races and a medal race,” acknowledged Gerz. “Until now our scoreline is incredibly good, but we will try to focus on each race and do our best every moment.
“It’s extremely exciting racing here,” with the tricky breeze. “The game is never over and even if you are back in the pack at the beginning of the race, you still know that there’s everything to gain. On the other hand it makes life for the leading boats quite difficult, especially on the downwind, as sometimes you have to wait for the pressure, which the boats behind you already have. But it’s good. We have been training here the past week before the Europeans to try to figure out something and so far it has worked quite well.”
Stuart McNay/David Hughes (USA) drop to 2nd overall, with Pavel Sozykin/Denis Gribanov (RUS) in 3rd. Defending 470 European Champions Luke Patience/Elliot Willis (GBR) climb up to 5th overall, edging closer to the front of the fleet.
Mat Belcher/Will Ryan’s domination of the 470 fleet has been all consuming, and understandably some expect them to consistently be at the front of the fleet in each race.
“I think it just shows the company we are in and the conditions we have here,” said Belcher in reference to their 24th place finish today. “It makes it a level field, as it is flat water, extremely shifty and today’s races had significant shifts on the first beat which ultimately determines the entire race. You can see some big names, guys like the Croatians, Greek, British, Kiwis and us back in the fleet. It just shows you that it is really tough conditions and quite variable and everyone is just struggling a little bit, but that’s part of racing, it is the same for everyone.”
“Today’s definitely not my day to go to the casino!” laughed Ryan. “It was pretty tricky out there. The last two days have been really physical from a crew’s perspective, just on the limit of the open pumping rule. But today it was a bit more of a finesse game. It’s hard to pick and once the cards get dealt, it is hard to respond to it. You just have to deal with it as best you can and claw back as best you can. It is tricky racing and we have four races to go still, so plenty of opportunities that’s for sure.”
The Australians' 24th result is discarded, and they advance into the leaderboard top 10, along with Antonio Rosa/Joao Rosa (POR) and Sofian Bouvet/Jeremie Mion (FRA), whose overall positions also improved.
In the 470 Men Silver Fleet, Matteo Capurro/Matteo Puppo (ITA) lead, over Gal Cohen/Ayal Hamburger (ISR) and Julian Autenrieth/Philipp Autenrieth (GER).
470 Men Provisional Results after 7 Races
1. Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanski (GER-10) – 24 pts
2. Stuart Mcnay/David Hughes (USA-1713) – 36 pts
3. Pavel Sozykin/Denis Gribanov (RUS-5) – 37 pts
4. Tetsuya Matsunaga/Yugo Yoshida (JPN-12) – 38 pts
5. Luke Patience/Elliot Willis (GBR-868) – 43 pts
6. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE-1) – 43 pts
7. Lucas Calabrese/Juan De La Fuente (ARG-7) – 43 pts
8. António Rosa/João Rosa (POR-7) – 47 pts
9. Sofian Bouvet/Jérémie Mion (FRA-27) – 49 pts
10. Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS-11) – 50 pts
Super consistent racing from 2012 Olympic Champions and world #1 pairing Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) rewards them with first overall from a 4, 5 score today. Things weren’t so bright for overnight leaders Gil Cohen/Danielle Maman (ISR) who struggled to find their groove in the change of conditions, posting a 22,22 to career down the standings and sit on a 34 point deficit behind the Kiwis, in 14th overall.
Moving up to second overall are Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA) from a 1, 12. Japan’s Akiyo Yamaguchi/Eri Hatayama continue to boost their international profile as they hold firm in the top three and are looking like serious contenders to hunt down Rio 2016 selection for Japan.
Yamaguchi has notched up four years of experience competing on the Japanese University circuit, a highly competitive 470 league series pitching over 80 universities around the country against each other. Yamaguchi partnered up with Hatayama, also a University sailor, eight months ago, and their debut appearance on the international circuit was Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia this year. In contrast to being University Champion in Japan, these first few events were really tough, as they found themselves right at the back of the fleet in Hyeres. Up next was Delta Lloyd Regatta, ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland, in a packed few months of European based racing.
All change in Aarhus though, as the conditions perfectly suit Yamaguchi, who explained, “I have surprised myself here, but these are my ideal racing conditions.
“Part of our training here has been not to worry about the Olympic and World Champions, and remember they are just sailors like everyone else,” said Yamaguchi as she reflected on being a bit overwhelmed to race in a fleet packed full of 470 stars. “But inside I still feel a bit scared, and I feel a bit nervous if I find myself next to them. But, I just try not to worry.”
A standout performance was delivered by the 2014 470 Junior World Champions, Maelenn Lemaitre/Aloise Retornaz, who posted 2,2 and climb twelve places up the leaderboard to 8th overall.
The change in weather conditions suited the pair. “It was very different weather today and we liked this lighter wind, so it was easier for us,” said Lemaitre. “We had good speed and we didn’t make big mistakes.”
As with many of the teams competing here, their eyes are on Rio 2016. France has already secured its place on the startline in Rio, so it is now all about the selection process, which will be based on results at the 2015 470 World Championships in Haifa, Israel. If a French team wins the Worlds, that team guarantees their place in Rio 2016. Otherwise, selection will be based on a decision by the French selectors.
The pair acknowledges they don’t have as much experience as rivals Lecointre/Defrance and lack consistency in stronger breeze, so know where they need to focus. Lemaitre added, “We train a lot with the French team and we race at a lot of senior events so we are learning all the time.”
In the 470 Women Silver Fleet, Marjaliisa Umb/Elise Umb (EST) lead, Barbara Cornudella/Sara Lopez (ESP) in second and Jessica Lavery/Megan Brickwood (GBR) in third.
470 Women Provisional Results after 7 Races
1. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL-75) – 13 pts
2. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA-9) – 25 pts
3. Akiyo Yamaguchi/Eri Hatayama (JPN-3) – 27 pts
4. Nadine Boehm/Ann-Christin Goliass (GER-24) – 28 pts
5. Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO-64) – 30 pts
6. Annika Bochmann/Marlene Steinherr (GER-72) – 34 pts
7. Marina Gallego/Fatima Reyes (ESP-33) – 35 pts
8. Maëlenn Lemaître/Aloïse Retornaz (FRA-39) – 39 pts
9. Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA-1712) – 40 pts
10. Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Gliszczynska (POL-11) – 40 pts
Nations represented at the 2015 470 Open European Championships are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, United States.
Racing Schedule for Thursday 2 July 2015
Two races are scheduled for all fleets. The 470 Women and Men silver fleets will race first, with the women on a scheduled start time of 1200 hours, followed by the men. The 470 Women and Men gold fleets are scheduled to start at 1400 hours with the women, followed by the men.
– 470 Class Media