For the third day in row competitors at the 2016 Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik had another different set of conditions to contend with. Early morning glassy water slowly changed into an onshore 7-12 knots. With all classes now including drop races, the form for the week is taking shape. In the 2016 Para Sailing World Championship, there are new leaders in the 2.4 Norlin OD and Sonar classes, while some of the favourites made great strides closer to the top across all three fleets.
The day started with a calm and windless IJsselmeer and definite prospects of lengthy postponements. In the end the first classes, the Laser, 2.4 Norlin OD, 49er and the Skud were released just after 12.00, some of them already nearly three hours behind schedule. Everyone knew it was going to be a long day. The Moth class didn't even start racing until after 17.00
In the Para Sailing World Championships, Helena Lucas (GBR) the London 2012 gold medalist in the 2.4 Norlin OD won the day and nearly won both races to move up to fourth and close the gap on the leader, Heiko Kroger (GER), to just six points. Matt Bugg (AUS) is still second with Damien Seguin (FRA) down to third. It's getting very close at the top with just three races to sail.
Lucas said, “Much better day today. I had a bit of a slow start to the regatta. I had a few breakages on the first day in the big wind. Slowly getting my teeth back into it.”
“The second race was tough. Really, really close racing, right from the word go at the top mark. I went round first but I had everyone hot on my heels and it remained like that for the whole race, and unfortunately down the last run a couple of boats managed to soak inside me on a bit of pressure and I went from first to third. Great racing, really, really tight. It was a case of one mistake and that was it.”
In the SKUD18, the Polish pair of Monika Gibes/Piotr Cichocki (POL) continue to lead, but the day belonged to the defending World Champions Daniel Fitzgibbon/Liesl Tesch (AUS), who leapfrogged up the results to second overall with a first and a second place.
Tesch commented, “It’s amazingly exciting. It’s good to see how tight the fleet is getting. The start is getting messy out there which is great and very challenging. We had a much better day on the water today, thank goodness. We dug deep and it's quite exciting to come back after a few disasters. We learn a lot when we lose and we have a lot to improve on when we win.”
In the Sonar fleet, the race wins went to the London 2012 bronze medalists Aleksander Wang-Hansen/Marie Solberg/Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR) and John Robertson/Hannah Stodel/Stephen Thomas (GBR). The British team move back to the top again with Alphonsus Doerr/Hugh Freund/Brad Kendell (USA) dropping to second. Lasse Klotzing/Jens Kroker/Siegmund Mainka (GER) are third. This fleet is incredibly close with just four points separating the top five boats. It will be an exciting finish.
In the Laser fleet, Juan Maegli (GUA) smashed the fleet with two race wins, but after a starting penalty for Jeemin Ha (KOR) in the second race, Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) has taken the overall lead for the first time.
Maegli, who is about to head to his third Olympic Games said, “The last couple of days I have been making lots of mistakes, but today I just tried to sail as clean a race as I could. And I had two really good races. I was just keeping it simple and I got a little bit lucky. It was so shifty. I was just in the right position at the right time, and took advantage of the opportunities.
“The key was just being in the pressure. It was very patchy and if you were in a couple more knots than the other guys you were quite a lot faster, so you just had to be in the pressure, especially on the first beat. And once you were in front just cover everybody.”
“I've had a back injury so haven't done that much this year until now, but it seems to be better, so I am happy with that. This is my first event this year.”
van Schaardenburg said, “I want to win here. I just came back from the Worlds, but I can’t do things half way. If I do that, I get frustrated and I don’t want that. I’m glad with my results today, but with these conditions the performance of Maegli is also very strong.”
In the RS-X Women, Lillian de Geus (NED) took the lead with a second and seventh place. Maja Dziarnowska (POL) who has led all week had a poor day to drop to fourth. “Dziarnowska is a specialist in rough conditions, but for me this weather is better. I have never won the Delta Lloyd Regatta. It’s on my list, maybe it’s gonna happen this year,” said De Geus.
Giacomo Ferrari/Giulio Calabro (ITA) won both races in the mixed 470 class, to close the gap on Simon Sivitz Kosuta/Jas Farneti (ITA), who had won the first four races this week.
In the 49er Diego Botin/Iago Lopez Marra (ESP) continued to cement their lead with another solid performance while in the RS-X Men Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED) is dominating the fleet and has extended his lead to 28 points. The Moth class also joined the fleets on the water today. Ben Koppelaar (NED) had the best day to take the early lead with two wins and a second place.
For the Olympic classes, Friday is the last day of qualification before Saturday's medal races, while the Paralympic classes have two more races before Saturday's final race.
The races can be followed live through the event website www.deltalloydregatta.org.