The renowned Bay of Palma delivered shifty racing conditions, proving to be nirvana for some and a challenge for others. The sea conditions started flat and then got a bit choppy, with the marginal trapezing conditions making the day particularly interesting.
Two races down on day 1 in the 470 Women sees Austria’s formidable pairing of Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar control the two races with back to back wins. Three races in the 470 Men put Argentina’s Lucas Calabrese/Juan De La Fuente at the front of the leaderboard.
There is a distinct air of unfinished business at the 470 Europeans, as the Championship marks the largest gathering of 470 sailors ahead of Rio 2016. Making your mark here is a key performance indicator and equally a campaign boost. For those teams on their last attempt to secure national team selection, silencing any doubters and claiming the Olympic ticket is the goal.
The 5 race qualification series concludes tomorrow, with 3 races for the 470 Women who kick off at 1130 hours and 2 for the 470 Men at 1200 hours. From Saturday, the fleets split into gold and silver for the 6 race final series, ahead of the top ten Medal Race.
Argentina’s Lucas Calabrese/Juan De La Fuente headline the 470 Men’s fleet from a super consistent 2,6,1 scorecard. The pair faced a disappointing home performance at the 2016 470 Worlds earlier in the year in Argentina, but judging by today’s form seem to be back on track, as they seek to defend and upgrade their London 2012 Olympic bronze medal in four months’ time.
“It’s been the first time in a long time that we actually started well,” smiled Calabrese. “Compared to Argentina and previous ones, so we are pretty happy. It’s going to be a long week and challenging, but we are happy to start with some good finishes. It was really hard, but between the two of us we made pretty good choices. We had really good starts today and I think that really helped.”
Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom sandwiched a disqualification in race 2 for failing to keep clear of another boat, between a win and third place. With the discard kicking in after 3 races, their DSQ is discounted and they end the day in second place, and equal points with the third and fourth placed teams.
“We just made too many bad decisions,” explainedDahlberg on their race 2 finish. “There were really big shifts out there and if you didn’t position yourself correctly you were at the back. We were a bit lucky in the last race and caught a big shift.”
Defending Open European Champions, Stu McNay/Dave Hughes launched their defence of the 470 Open European title with a determined race win, following up with a 7,3 to sit in tiebreak second overall with the Swedes, and on an equal 11 points with Spain’s Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp in fourth.
Spanish rivals, Xammar/ Herp versus Onan Barreiros/Juan Curbelo will finally see their duel conclude here at the Europeans, as they vie at the last chance to secure national selection for Spain.
Lying further back in 16th, Barreiros commented, “At the end the goal is the Olympic Games, but today is the first day. The first two races were really good, the last one not so. We are relaxed.”
From the front to the back of the fleet, and a challenging opener for Chile’s Olympic team of Andres Ducasse/Francisco Ducasse. For the brothers, the Championship is all part of their training to deliver their best in Rio.
“It is a really, really cool thing for us,” said Andres on securing the South American continental qualification place during Sailing World Cup Miami. “We are brand new in the 470 and we are proud that we are going to the Olympics in Rio. Today was a really, really bad day, I think the worst day racing,” as he referenced their 60th place. “But it doesn’t matter and I think we had a good chance to stay with the best, so it’s a good opportunity.”
The pair will race Sailing World Cup Hyeres, before returning to Chile to train with the 470 Women Olympic team Nadja Horwitz/Sofia Middleton, and then onto Rio.
An untypical day for world #1 pairing Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) pitches them in 11th overall from 8,6,22.
470 Men – Provisional Results after 3 Races
1. Lucas Calabrese/Juan De La Fuente (ARG 7) – 3 pts
2. Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergström (SWE 349) – 4 pts
2. Stu Mcnay/Dave Hughes (USA 1) – 4 pts
4. Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP 44) – 4 pts
5. David Bargehr/Lukas Mähr (AUT 437) – 5 pts
6. Carl-Fredrik Fock/Marcus Dackhammar (SWE 350) – 6 pts
7. Ferdinand Gerz/Oliver Szymanski (GER 10) – 7 pts
8. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO 83) – 9 pts
9. Deniz Cinar/Ates Cinar (TUR 890) – 10 pts
10. Simon Sivitz Kosuta/Jas Farneti (ITA 29) – 10 pts
No surprise to see the 470 Women leader board top 10 featuring teams from nine different nations after the opening day. The depth of talent around the world is immense with numerous players capable of top results. Just two races for the 470 Women, as the wind faded towards the end of the day.
Mastering the tricky shifts gave early domination to Austria’s Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar.
“They were our conditions,” explained Vadlau on their two race wins. “We love this kind of sea breeze wind and we made everything we could do today.”
The pair came into the Europeans fresh, opting out of competing at Trofeo Princesa Sofia, in order to focus their energies on the European Championship.
“We feel well prepared and we love it again to race. And we are hungry to race and I think that is the most important thing.”
Sitting in second are Brazil’s nominated Olympic team, Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan. Hugely experienced, Rio marks the pair’s second Olympic appearance, and the fifth for Barbachan.
In third are Spain’s Silvia Mas/Paulo Barcelo, who made a strong punt for Olympic selection today, scoring an impressive 5,2 to end the day in third. When you have nothing to lose, you have everything to gain. Mas has come a long way since winning the 2014 ISAF Youth Worlds. Their ultimate goal is Tokyo 2020, but still proved they are more than capable of giving the leading Spanish contenders Barbara Cornudella/Sara Lopez a run for their money around the race track.
Asia's Japan and China both sit inside the top ten, marking a particularly pleasing day for China’s Xiaoli Wang/Lizhu Huang. The pair are well up in the Chinese trials to be selected for Rio 2016, with Sailing World Cup Hyeres marking the final selection event. Since returning to the campaign trail in September 2015, the pair has enjoyed a solid performance, as Wang aims for her second Olympic appearance, after finishing 11th at London 2012.
Back to racing for Israel’s Gil Cohen/Nina Amir after last week’s high of qualifying their nation and themselves to Rio 2016. A steady start to the opening day of the Europeans gave them results of 2,11 and 10th overall. Speaking about their success last week in Trofeo Princesa Sofia, Cohen said, “We trained alone in Israel, so all the time we did not know exactly how well we were sailing, we just had a feeling. And then we came to Trofeo and the training before the regatta was very good. I believed we could do it, but it was also so far from the mind. But we did our best and got success.”
Cohen only hooked up with crew Nina Amir in December 2015, so a mere three months of training shows the natural talent they each brought to the partnership. Seventeen year old Amir counts four years of 420 sailing, whilst Cohen already has one Olympics to her credit, finishing 15th at London 2012 with her former crew.
“We have worked hard and put a lot of energy into it. Everyone has pushed us to train and they believe in us, which is a big motivation,” Cohen concluded.
Continuing the USA selection trials, Annie Haegar/Briana Provancha opened with two top ten results placing 7th overall and continue to hold their advantage over Sydney Bolger/Carly Shevitz.
Further down the leaderboard in 32nd overall, but having enjoyed a superb day at their first ever 470 Championship are Malaysia’s Nuraisyah Jamil/Norashikin Mohamad Sayed. They both earned their sailing wings in the 420, with Jamil claiming impressive results of 6th at the 420 Worlds and 11th at the ISAF Youth Worlds in 2014. The pair were delighted to finish race 2 in 10th place, sitting right on the tail of the recently crowned 2016 470 World Champions, Camille Lecointre/Helene Defrance (FRA).
470 Women – Provisional Results after 2 Races
1. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT 431) – 2 pts
2. Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Barbachan (BRA 177) – 6 pts
3. Silvia Mas Depares/Paula Barcelo Martin (ESP 18) – 7 pts
4. Noya Bar-Am/Rimon Shoshan(ISR 11) – 9 pts
5. Xiaoli Wang/Lizhu Huang (CHN 1221) – 10 pts
6. Ai Kondo Yoshida/Miho Yoshioka (JPN 1) – 11 pts
7. Annie Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA 1712) – 11 pts
8. Michelle Broekhuizen/Marieke Jongens (NED 6) – 11 pts
9. Nadine Boehm/Ann-Christin Goliass (GER 24) – 11 pts
10. Gil Cohen/Nina Amir (ISR 311) – 13 pts
About the 2016 470 Open European Championships
The 2016 470 Open European Championships is organized by Club Nàutic Arenal in co-operation with the Real Federacion Espanola de Vela and the International 470 Class Association. The racing format is an 11 race series scheduled for the 470 Men and 470 Women fleets, with 5 qualifying series races, before the gold and silver fleet split for the 6 final series races. The top 10 teams will then advance to the final Medal Race on Tuesday 12 April 2016. Titles will be awarded in the 470 Men and Women for the overall Open European Championship leaderboard and the European Championship for European nations.
Nations represented at the 2016 470 Open European Championships are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Turkey, Ukraine, United States.
A performance racing machine, the 470 rewards agility, tactics, tuning, sailing skills, strategy and mental astuteness. Teamwork is crucial and the pressure is high, with European titles and Olympic selection at stake.