Australians Swoop Into 420 Girls Pole Position
Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship
Dublin Bay, Ireland
Mother Nature was not content merely to throw more testing westerly offshore winds at the 343 future Olympians racing at the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
For day three’s two races, the under 19-year-old sailors from 61 nations faced additional challenges of torrential rain and reduced visibility.
With seven races now sailed and a layday tomorrow, the Youth Worlds have reached their halfway stage with still three days of competition left on Dublin Bay.
Results remains closest among the 420 Girls leaders where, after they sailed “a blinder”, scoring two bullets today, Australia’s Carrie Smith and Ella Clark are now tied on 20 points with yesterday’s leaders, Annabel Vose and Kirstie Urwin (GBR), in turn two points ahead of Italy’s Ilaria Paternoster and Benedetta Disalle.
Clark described how they managed this, “We just stuck at it, tried to focus on defending our second, but at the same time when we got the opportunities to come up to first, we just took them. It was really tricky today, really shifty again.”
As forecast, the wind veered west and built this afternoon, affecting their second race. “We felt more comfortable in the second race when it picked up, but we’re happy for anything – we just enjoy sailing. Any weather’s fine.”
Smith and Clark come from Perth, where they sailed the Olympic 470 at the ISAF World Championships last year. This is their second Youth Worlds having finished fourth in Croatia and they have another left before they get too old. “We weren’t expecting anything last year and we ended up doing really well, so we thought we’d give it another crack, try harder again this year and its all working out at the moment…” says Clark.
They have had the considerable benefit of having two 470 Women’s gold medallists coaching them – first Belinda Stowell and for the last six months, Tessa Parkinson.
Holding fourth place, 14 points off the leaders are Chileans Nadja Horwitz and Francisca Fuentes, coming fresh from victory at Kieler Woche. This is Horwitz’s second Youth Worlds, “It is really important, the most important event of the year,” she says. They are one of only two 420s from Chile sailing all years around. “It is difficult to sail over there. We don’t have a big fleet or much skill, so to stay good we have to travel a lot and that means we have to find money and it is not easy.”
Unlike the Girls, among the 420 Boys, France’s Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan have extended their lead to 16 points over Pieter Goedhart and Lars van Stekelenborg (NED), despite the Dutch duo having the best day, posting a 1-3.
“Today we had some good starts,” said Pieter. “I thought the conditions were really good. The first day it was a little bit light, but today the second upwind was really hard because the wind fell off and then it came up from the right and there was big current too. In the second race, there was more wind, and we like more wind.”
As to the French leaders Lars reckons they’re fast. “And their tacks are really good on the shifts.”
From the picture postcard island of St Johns in the US Virgin Islands, Ians Barrows and Coyle struggled, scoring a 8-18, although they remain 10th in the 30 strong 420 Boys’ fleet. “It was kind of puffy, not really consistent, and at the end though, it got really windy,” said Coyle of the conditions. “And it’s cold…really cold.”
The largest class at the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships is the Laser Radial Boys with 58 competitors. At the front here a America’s Mitchell Kiss is two points clear of Russia’s Maxim Nikolaev.
Kiss, who heralds from Michigan on the Great Lakes, scored a 8-5 today. “I felt today went good. We are just trying to bang out top 10s and get to the end of the regatta – it is a long way but I’ll try my best. The conditions were really challenging at the beginning, lots of puffs, lots of shifts, etc,” said Kiss.
Kiss says he is pleased he is leading and having finished third at the Laser Youth Worlds in Australia knows he has the potential to win. “I have to work hard and try and maintain it and not get distracted. The conditions are pretty challenging here. The shifts and the puffs coming from every side is really tough.”
The results remain more open in the Laser Radial Girls at the half way stage with Norway’s Line Flem Höst still holding first place, followed, three points back, by Pinar Kaynar of Turkey with Sweden’s Julia Carlsson another point adrift and the top seven boats within 11 points of the leader.
The RS:X Women’s class has a runaway leader in Britain’s Saskia Sills who added a 1 and a discardable fourth to her impressive scoreline that includes four bullets in seven races, leaving her on 9 points, 13 adrift of Belarus’ second placed Anastasiya Valkevich.
Fighting hard in third is Israel’s Naomi Cohen, five points behind Valkevich. “It is strong wind all the time, but sometimes it is really strong,” she said of racing here. “In Israel we get the wind, but not the rain or the clouds…” Israel has traditionally been a strong sailboarding nation with Shahar Zubari scoring bronze in Beijing. “I guess it’s because we can sail all year round and we have good coaches and a good system,” explains Cohen, who finished third at last year’s Youth Worlds.
Sills is jockeying with teammates Rupert White and Tom Britz who scored two more bullets in the SL16 catamaran, to add to their two yesterday. They are now six points ahead of Australians Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland. “In the first one, it was us, the Belgians and Australians – a really close race between us all. We just got a nice gust towards the end and managed to sneak in front, we all finished within four seconds. Then in the second race, we had bad start, but we managed to pull it back up – just eyes out of the boat. We managed to get up to fourth at the top mark and just found the pressure to sneak up to first,” said White.
In the RS:X Boys, the results have taken a little longer to settle down after several boats were black flagged on the opening day and a few more called OCS in yesterday’s first race. However consistent Korean Cho Wonwoo, scored a 8-1 today giving him a seven point cushion over Italy’s Mattia Camboni at this half way stage. Like Camboni, Britain’s Kieren Martin had a black flag disqualification in race one of the series as his discard and wasn’t impressed with his 9-16 score today, his worst results to date, leaving him sixth overall, “It was pretty tough. My speed wasn’t as good as all the other guys. It wasn’t that it was really windy – it was that the chop was really close together.”
Finally in the 29ers Spain’s Carlos Robles and Florian Trittel continue to lead, but after a 4-5 today are only a point in front of France’s Lucas Rual and Thomas Biton. However it was third placed Argentinians Klaus Lange and Mateo Majdalani who had the best day posting a 2-1. Lange is son of Santiago Lange, the Athens and Beijing Tornado bronze medallist.
Majdalani said, “These conditions are good, because it gives a possibility to make great comebacks with the shifts, but it is very difficult to stay at the top.” This is the Argentinians’ second Youth Worlds, having finished ninth in Croatia last year.
Sailors enjoy a day of rest tomorrow before racing resumes at the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships on Wednesday when two races are scheduled, starting at 12:00 local time.