Oman: The gold medals have been decided in five of the 11 events at the 2021 Youth Sailing World Championships presented by Hempel.
The 420 girls along with both windsurfing and kitefoiling divisions have been wrapped up before Friday’s final races.
With the warm wind touching just over 10 knots, this was the best breeze of the regatta so far. The ever reliable Oman sun shone brightly on the sailors, and on Thursday’s gold medal winners in particular.
Female Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+
Manon Pianazza (FRA) has won windsurfing gold with an unbroken 11 race wins. “I’m super happy, very pleased with my performance this week,” said the French sailor who is looking to campaign the iQFOiL windsurfer for the Olympic Games in Paris 2024. Kristyna Chalupnikova (CZE) needs to sail a solid day on Friday to make sure she retains silver ahead of Zoe Fernandez de Bobadilla Ramos (ESP) and Lucy Kenyon (GBR).
Male Windsurfer Bic Techno 293+
Federico Alan Pilloni (ITA) was mobbed by his Italian team mates as he landed at Mussanah Beach after sealing windsurfer victory with a day to spare. His fans raised him above their heads on his Bic Techno 293+ board and carried him across the sand chanting Italian football anthems. “What a welcome! I am so lucky to be part of this team,” smiled Pilloni. “It’s been a great week and a lot of fun to be here.”
Boris Shaw (GBR) scored a string of seconds to wrap the silver medal for Great Britain and Ozan Turker (TUR) will be hard to beat for the bronze.
Male Kiteboarding FormulaKite
The usually calm and collected Max Maeder (SGP) went crazy as he crossed the finish line this afternoon. The Singaporean had bounced back from a difficult start to the competition, dominating the latter stages and winning the gold medal with a day to spare. “That wasn’t easy. The first day was a blunder I never want to repeat. I overestimated myself, I guess, and maybe I was complacent. To come back was hard, I had to give it everything but now it feels great. Today completely neutralises that first day. It feels phenomenal. This is a feeling that will never get old.”
In the 50 year history of the Youth Worlds, this is kitefoiling’s first time in the event, and it’s by far the fastest and most furious form of sailing ever seen at youth level. “You need high reaction speed, and a certain level of physical courage because you have no protection from a hull,” said the 15 year old. “It’s just you and the board. When you get, like, two metres close to someone, you’re like body to body with them with the razor sharp foil right beneath you, doing 32 knots through the water.”
Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) congratulated Maeder but promised he would make his rival work harder for victory next time. The Italian picked up a U Flag disqualification for starting too soon in one race today, meaning Pianosi can’t afford any slip-ups on the final day as he bids to defend silver from Mikhail Novikov (RUS) in third place.
Female Kiteboarding FormulaKite
Gal Zukerman (ISR) has won gold with a sensational 16 straight race wins. Following a 10th place in a 420 three years ago at the Youth Worlds, the Israeli switched to kiteboarding two years ago and kitefoiling just over a year ago.
“I have loved every moment of this week,” she smiled. “Kitefoiling is so much fun. I can’t remember when I started sailing, I’m too young to remember that moment. But I have always been sailing boats and now I am loving the kitefoiling.”
Julia Damasiewicz (POL) sits in silver but with two retirements currently being discarded from her scores, the Polish sailor can’t afford any slip-ups in case she gets passed by Héloïse Pégourié (FRA) who lurks in third.
Female Two Person Dinghy 420
Neus Ballester Bover and Andrea Perello Mora (ESP) have won the gold medal with a race to spare. Vanessa Lahrkamp and Katherine McNamara (USA) won the last race of the session and now move into silver position ahead of Manon Pennaneac’h and Victoire Lerat (FRA). “It’s great to win in this strong fleet,” said Perello. “The Americans are the World Champions in the class and there are so many strong teams, the French, the Italians.”
Ballester revealed the secret to their success: “We felt relaxed all week. We enjoyed ourselves and really liked the conditions in Oman. Super tricky and hard to read the wind, but I was head out of the boat all the time, looking around for the best wind.”
Neus is the daughter of José Luis Ballester who won a medal for Spain in the Tornado catamaran in Atlanta 1996. She couldn’t remember what colour though. “Gold,” her crew reminded her, rolling her eyes. “Your father won gold!” Perello shouted, exasperated but laughing. Now Perello and the next generation of the Ballester family have won their own gold.
Male/Mixed Two Person Dinghy 420
Kaito Ikeda and Shun Shigematsu (JPN) sailed a good day to rise to fourth place overall in the Mixed 420 class. However, the medals look most likely to go to the current top three of Spain, Israel and Germany. With such a narrow points gap, it could go either way but it’s still Ian Clive Walker March with Finn Dicke (ESP) who are looking to match the gold medal winning performance of their female 420 team mates. Roi Levy and Ariel Gal (ISR) are just three points off the lead, and Florian Krauss and Jannis Summchen (GER) are two points off silver.
Female Skiff 29er
Emily Mueller and Florence Brellisford (GBR) snatched back the yellow jersey from Charlie Leigh and Sophie Fisher (USA), a race win giving the British a 5 point advantage going into the final day. Alja Petric and Katja Filipic (SLO) hold third overall ahead of Denmark.
Male Skiff 29er
Hugo Revil & Karl Devaux (FRA) looked likely to wrap up the boys’ 29er fleet today but an 11th in the last of three races will mean they will have to fight for their gold on Friday. The French are within striking range of their closest rivals in Friday’s concluding race. Ian and Noah Nyenhuis (USA) had the best day and have risen up to silver medal position, displacing to third another sibling team from Spain, Mateo and Simon Codoñer Alemany (ESP).
Female One Person Dinghy ILCA 6
After two individual race wins by Emerging Nations sailors on Wednesday, another EN competitor from Peru, Florencia Chiarella (PER) has turned on the afterburner on her Ziegelmeyer ILCA 6 dinghy. Scores of 4 and 3 have rocketed the Peruvian up to first overall, with a 15 point buffer on Anja von Allmen (SUI). However Chiarella can’t afford any major errors on the final day because she’s currently discarding a UFD disqualification worth a hefty 47 points. Zulal Alev Erkan (TUR) is in bronze medal position but still within a shot of gold if Peru and Switzerland slip up on banana skins.
Male One Person Dinghy ILCA 6
José Gomes Saraiva Mendes (POR) extended his advantage over Sebastian Kempe (BER) after the Bermudian became one of many to fall foul of the dreaded black flag at the start. Kempe bounced back from black flag disappointment with a bullet in the next race and maintains silver position with a four point lead over Przemyslaw Machowski (POL). Two points off the podium and with a better discard than Bermuda and Poland is Luka Zabukovec (SLO).
Mixed Two Person Multihull Nacra 15
Kay Brunsvold and Cooper Delbridge (USA) have taken the yellow jersey off the French team, Thomas Proust and Eloïse Clabon (FRA). With a single point’s advantage to the Americans, watch out for a match race between USA and France. That said, the Nacra 15 fleet still has two races to run on Friday. Waiting in the wings are the Netherlands, Switzerland and Belgium who are still able to pounce on gold.
The final day of competition for the 335 sailors from 59 nations takes place on Friday 17 December, starting at 1200 hours local time. To look back through the tracking from today’s races, and to follow live racing for the rest of the regatta, go to https://youthworlds2021.sapsailing.com
For full results, go to: https://worldsailingywc.org/results/