Belcher and Ryan extend lead on second day of 470 Worlds

Mat Belcher and Will Ryan at the 2015 Worlds. Photo AQUAZOOM/Ronan Topelberg.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan at the 2015 Worlds. Photo AQUAZOOM/Ronan Topelberg.

Racing got underway in around 8-10 knots, decreasing to 6 as racing wrapped up. Different sides paid at different stages of the race, mixed up with a reasonable amount of current. Six races and just four OCSs showed the restraint from teams, with no mistake worth making at this stage of the Championship.

ISAF President Carlo Croce caught up with teams in the boatpark this morning, before presenting leader bibs to the top three 470 Men and Women teams.

470 MEN
Four different leaders across the races in each of the 470 Men Yellow and Blue fleets, with wins to Pavel Sozykin/Denis Gribanov (RUS) and Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP) in the yellow fleet, and Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox and Lucas Calabrese/Juan De La Fuente (ARG) in the blue fleet.

Mat Belcher/Will Ryan continue to dominate, but all change in the leaderboard line-up behind. Points are close, including a four-way tiebreak for teams in third through to sixth on 16 points apiece, and a three-way tiebreak for the teams in seventh through ninth on 17 points each.

With the qualification series now complete, the thirty boat gold and twenty-nine boat silver fleets are decided and the nations in the hunt for World Championship podium places and Olympic Qualification slots are determined.

Shifting up to second pegging is Croatia’s Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic, ousting Luke Patience/Elliot Willis (GBR) to third. Fantela/Marenic have finished on the podium at every 470 Worlds they have contested since 2009, with the exception of the 2013 Worlds.

“It was tricky light wind with big oscillations,” said Marenic. “Luckily we understood the first beat quite well and played OK with the shifts so were at the front of the fleet in both upwinds. After that it is easier when you are in front. Overall we are happy with our position and the day.”

Focusing further down the leaderboard to South Africa’s Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson, the situation is a bit different from where they found themselves in the Olympic qualification mix at the 2012 470 Worlds. Back then, the pair were the last unqualified nation for London 2012 in gold fleet when the split was decided, so having guaranteed their slot the pressure eased somewhat. Now, with 8 nations gunning for six Olympic slots, there will be no let-up over the next 6 races.

“Yesterday was a little difficult with a 15 and 12, and then the 18th was a problem for us,” explained Hudson on the challenge that loomed today to balance their scoreline. “We were in 8th around halfway through the first race today and we had some mistakes, so it put on a lot of pressure. We really had to deliver and in the first race we were really at the back, but caught up to 13th which was key. Then we had an 8th in the second race which put us in gold fleet, which is the first step. We need to keep doing what we did today. We enjoyed the conditions today. It is all about consistency and sailing smart, seeing things clearly and staying fast. We managed to achieve that today and we need to keep doing that and keep building as we go.”

Asked about their evolution as a team in the past two and a half years, Hudson explained, “It is not just about the two of us as a team actually, but we have a whole lot of young guys that are part of our team. Especially the young crew that we are preparing to take over as Asenathi’s team mate. We have done about 5 events with him, so we have evolved a lot as a team. And we are trying to plan for the future and have a plan after Rio to smoothly splice these future team mates into this project. From our side, we have had some really nice results along the way and managed to win the 2014 Delta Lloyd Regatta, which was the first win in a circuit event for South Africa in about 10 years. Everyone is experiencing ups and downs, good form and down, and we are the same. But we just keep on building.”

Joining South African in the hunt for Rio 2016 Olympic Qualification are teams from Argentina, Finland, Germany, Israel, Korea and Turkey. China is also in the mix, as although they qualified to Rio 2016 at the recent ISAF Sailing World Cup in Qingdao, based on the hierarchical order of the Olympic Qualification System their result at the 2015 470 Worlds will take precedence.

Brothers Deniz Cinar/Ates Cinar from Turkey suffered injury setback, which ruled them out of competing at the first Olympic qualification event last year. A recovery period of 18 months saw them return to the race track in December 2014, and they end the day in 16th overall. Counting an all top ten scoreline after discarding a 17th in race two, on their current score they have hold of Turkey’s ticket to Rio 2016.

“This is the 18th or 19th event for us this year, so we are pushing really hard,” commented Ates. “At the last qualification event for London 2012, the 2012 470 Worlds in Barcelona, we were in gold fleet and that was enough to qualify. Now the level is getting higher and higher and we are still fighting. It will be a good Championship and we hope we will qualify. We came here one month ago for 10 days and we saw it was really light wind here, so we lost some weight and that has helped and I think that is why our results are higher.”

The 470 Men gold and silver fleets will have two races on Wednesday 14 October, starting after the 470 Women.

Final Results after 5 Races
1. Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS 11) – 5 pts
2. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO-83) – 15 pts
3. Luke Patience/Elliot Willis (GBR 868) – 16 pts
4. Pavel Sozykin/Denis Gribanov (RUS-5) – 16 pts
5. Matthias Schmid/Florian Reichstaedter (AUT 3) – 16 pts
6. Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanski (GER 10) – 16 pts
7. Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP 44) – 17 pts
8. Stuart McNay/David Hughes (USA 1713) – 17 pts
9. Johan Molund/Sebastian Östling (SWE 348) – 17 pts
10. Joonas Lindgren/Niklas Lindgren (FIN 7) – 19 pts

Overnight leaders Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrozek Gliszczynska of Poland hold firm in the lead, able to discard their 36th from race 4. Defending World Champions Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) up their game to score a 2,1 and accelerate to second overall, whilst Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) maintain third place on the scoreboard.

Catching up with defending 470 World Champions, Vadlau/Ogar, after racing gave a small insight into some of the rituals which help them get in the zone for Championship success.

“We always have a Championship song,“ laughed Vadlau. “Here it is an Israeli song. I heard it in a restaurant and I said to Jola ‘this will be our World Championship song.’”

“It is a cheesy song,” chipped in Ogar. “But it makes us smile and it is our song.”

For Ogar, the day starts with an energising run, accompanied by track of choice, Iron Maiden’s “Run to the Hills”.

“I need energy in the morning and then when I am here I need to cool down. If I am too motivated, it is not good,” explained Ogar.

Today’s 2,1 scorecard on the race track was clearly aided by Ogar brushing off most of yesterday’s illness.

“Oscar was up in the first race, which meant no coffee break for me,” smiled Ogar. “It was a lot easier than yesterday’s racing. Yesterday I was totally out of energy, but today I feel much, much better. Today was much more about brain than muscles.”

“We want to defend our title, but it is just the second day,” said Vadlau. “We are happy with our day, but we need to keep it simple and keep it boring.”

Clarifying the boring statement, Vadlau added, “Our coach said please keep it boring in the races!”

Translated, it is about playing it safe and working the percentages.

2012 Olympic Gold Medallists, Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie move up to fourth, with Aleh describing the day as, “Rather tricky sailing today. We made things about as hard for ourselves as we could with some truly terrible first beats, but we held our composure and had some great catch ups.

“We ended up with a 10th and a 5th, not a great day, but from where we were half-way up the first leg each time it still felt pretty good to finish with those two results.”

A display of genius from Israel’s Tsuf Zamet/Stav Brokman gave them the first race win of the day, in complete contrast to the rest of their high scoreline. They are one of five Israeli teams all intent on securing their nation’s qualification to Rio 2016. In tenth overall, Noya Bar-Am/Rimon Shoshan, the 2014 470 Junior World silver medallists, are currently the highest placed team.

Preferring the lighter airs, Finland’s Niki Blässar/Mikaela Wulff stamped a march up the leaderboard, moving up to 16th overall from an overnight 31st placing as they also attempt to lay claim to Rio 2016 Olympic qualification.

In the 470 Women, 13 nations are gunning for 3 Olympic Qualification places: Australia, Canada, Chile, Spain, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland and Turkey.

Two races on Wednesday 12 October for the 470 Women, with a scheduled starting time of 1300 hours.

Final Results after 4 Races
1. Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrozek Gliszczynska (POL 11) – 8 pts
2. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT 431) – 9 pts
3. Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR 118) – 13 pts
4. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL 75) – 17 pts
5. Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA 1712) – 21 pts
6. Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED 216) – 23 pts
7. Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA 9) – 26 pts
8. Marina Gallego/Fatima Reyes (ESP 33) – 27 pts
9. Annika Bochmann/Marlene Steinherr (GER 72) – 30 pts
10. Noya Bar-Am/Rimon Shoshan (ISR 11) – 32 pts

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