The 2016 Delta Lloyd Regatta, incorporating the 2016 Para World Sailing Championships, got off to a cold, windy and bumpy start in Medemblik on Tuesday with the full schedule completed in spite of the adverse conditions.
In the morning the Lasers, RS-X Women, 49er and 2.4 mR sailed in the strongest winds of the day, while in the afternoon, the Laser Radial, RS-X Men, 470, Sonar and Skud 18 got in their races. In all 21 races were sailed with mixed fortunes throughout the fleets and many cold fingers and unforced errors.
The Lasers were the first fleet done for the day with several of the fleet fresh from the World Championship in Mexico. Dutch favourite Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED), who placed a career best third at the World Championship last week led both races for a while, but a series of mistakes cost him two wins. “I did well at both starts. I was leading both races, but I made a few mistakes.”
“In the first race I capsized and finished second. In the second race my compass got loose from the boat and I went in the wrong direction. I lost first place and found myself back in seventh. I worked up again to third, but got passed by two boats.”
“I'm not satisfied. I could have done much better. I want to win in Medemblik. The change from the Worlds in Mexico to Medemblik is difficult, but I've got a lot of confidence.”
The first race win went to Luke Elliott (AUS), also just in from Mexico. He explained the attraction of racing in Medemblik. “It's really good racing here. It's my third time here and I really like sailing here. It's always really good fun and it's nice to race somewhere different.”
On the racing, “I had a good first one, good speed and Rutger made an error round one of the marks and capsized to hand me the win. In the second one I was going pretty good but it was my turn to capsize and I dropped my mainsheet and fell over twice which put me back. We've gone from 35 degrees and 26 degrees water to 12 degrees so it's a bit of a change. It's pretty cold out there which is probably why I dropped my mainsheet. But it's good to get to race against Rutger. He is a good benchmark.”
After two races Duko Bos (NED) leads from Jeemin Ha (KOR) and van Schaardenburg, while in the Laser Radial class Marit Bouwmeester (NED) scored two wins to lead from Maxime Jonker (NED) and Emma Plasschaert (BEL).
Maja Dziarnowska (POL) won two races to lead the RS-X Women's fleet from Isis Hoekstra (NED) and Agnieszka Bilska (POL). In the larger RS-X Men's fleet London 2012 gold medalist Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) scored a perfect three wins from three races, while teammate Kiran Badloe (NED) picked up three seconds. Zachary Plavsic (CAN) is third.
Van Rijsselberghe said of his performance, “After the Worlds [where he finished second] we didn't race any more, so it is good to be at the Delta Lloyd Regatta. I have to find the rhythm again. Today I made some mistakes, but Kiran Badloe didn't profit from that. I have to be sharper in Rio and I'm working on that. A lot of the top ten guys are in Rio now, but I have been in Rio quite a lot so to race in this regatta is no problem for me.”
Diego Botin/Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) got off to a good start in the 49er fleet with a 2, 2, 1 to lead from Rory Hunter/Neil Hunter (GBR) and Justus Schmidt/Max Boehme (GER), while in the mixed 470 Simon Sivitz Kosuta/Jas Farneti (ITA) took both wins to lead from Giacomo Ferrari/Giulio Calabro (ITA) and Sosaku Koizumi/Shinnosuke Mitsumori (JPN).
Damien Seguin (FRA) produced a masterclass in the singlehanded 2.4 mR class as he took two race wins, leading both races at every mark. “It was a good day for me. The wind was really good and the waves were complicated, but I won two races so it's a good start for the World Championship. I know in this kind of wind I am really good, but you never know because here in Medemblik it is really difficult to sail and the other guys are all really good, so I am very happy.”
The high quality fleet includes the 2016 2.4 mR world champion Megan Pascoe (GBR) and the 2012 Olympic gold medalist Helena Lucas (GBR) who ended the day in sixth and eighth. After two races, Seguin leads from Heiko Kroger (GER) and Matt Bugg (AUS).
Seguin, who won the 2015 Para World Sailing Championship in the 2.4 mR, concluded, “It was not easy. I had many problems and need to work on the boat tonight but it's OK. It's a good start, but it's only the first day and it will be a long week for us.”
In the Skud 18 class, 2012 bronze medalists Alexandra Rickham/Nikki Birrell (GBR) are in pole position after a 3, 1. They lead from Monika Gibes/Piotr Cichocki (POL), with the current World Champions, Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesch (AUS) in third, after winning the opening race.
Birrell commented, “It's always nice on the first day to not throw in any absolute shockers – we managed to do that with both our results in the top three, so that was good. It was a very cold day today with a lot of hanging around as the race officer struggled to anchor his committee boat but we managed to stay focussed and get two good results in the end. We seem to be going quite well in the breeze at the moment.”
“As always with me, I like to win. The races were quite tight today, the Poles were leading a couple of them. We had a nice little battle with the Aussies and the Poles in the first one, just got the wrong side of that unfortunately. In the second one there were three boats out clear again but we managed to get the right side of it on the second race which was good.”
There was drama on the water as US favourites Ryan Porteous/Maureen Mckinnon-Tucker (USA) got caught on the committee boat at the finish of the first race and broke their boom. They were unable to finish the race and also unable to sail the second race, coming ashore to find a new boom. They carry maximum points for both races today, not the start they had hoped for and they now have some catching up to do if they are to win the US selection trials, of which the Para Worlds is the final event.
John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Stephen Merged Thomas Merged (GBR) are leading the Sonar fleet after two race wins, from Colin Harrison/Jonathan Harris/Russell Boaden (AUS) and Bruno Jourdren/Eric Flageul/Nicolas Vimont Vicary (FRA).
Harrison, who finished seventh at London 2012 is happy to be back in Medemblik. “It's exciting to be back in Medemblik. We've had some good results here in the past. The weather today just seems to be typical cold wild weather off the North Sea but at least it's not raining. Every regatta has some significance in value – it's just a case of getting out there, enjoying the experience and learning.”
Racing in Medemblik continues to Saturday, when the Olympic classes here will sail their medal races. The races can be followed live through the event website www.deltalloydregatta.org.