With lights winds forcing no racing on Saturday, it looked as though it might be a repeat situation on Sunday’s final day at the 2012 420 World Championship.
2012 Ladies World 420 Champions Rachel Lee and Cecilia Low
After a tense wait ashore filled with uncertainty as to whether the forecast breeze would fill in, it did and just in time for the 1700 hours cut off by when the Race Committee had to get a race started. Another day of unpredictable wind, which eventually turned good and delivered a solid breeze to complete race 10 for all fleets.
Stunning final race action delivered the titles to Alex Kavas and George Kavas in the 420 World Championship and Singapore’s Rachel Lee and Cecilia Low in the 420 Ladies Championship.
The 2012 420 Junior World Championship titles were awarded to Kimberly Lim/Savannah Siew (SIN) in the 420 Ladies fleet and Alex Kavas/George Kavas in the 420 Open fleet, as the highest placed teams with both the helm and crew aged 18 or under.
Twenty eight nations and 179 teams competed at the 2012 420 World Championships. ‘Challenging’ was the general consensus of sailing on the shifty and unpredictable Lake Neusiedl, which threw everything from 5-22 knots at teams. Outside of the leading pack of boats in each fleet, it was a real snakes and ladders scoreboard with teams trading positions as they posted vastly differing scores from one race to the next.
In a performance which can only be described as exceptional, brothers Alex and George Kavas from Greece outclassed the fleet to claim Gold, marking their third successive podium finish at 420 Championships.
During the first five races of the qualification series, the leaderboard was close as David and Alex Charles (ESP) and the Greek brothers matched each other’s overall points in their respective fleets. But when the two sets of brothers came head to head in the final series, the situation unfolded differently. Speed was the name of the game for the Greeks, and they had the edge whatever the conditions. Described by their coach as sailing ‘like computers’ after two race wins on the first day of the Championship, the pair continued with the same approach, scoring a total of seven wins from the ten race series.
'It was our last regatta in the 420 and we are really pleased,' said older brother George. The brothers also secured the 420 Junior World Championship title.
Alex and George won the 2011 420 European Championships and claimed bronze at the 2011 420 Junior European Championships, so it is fitting they retire from the 420 Class with the ultimate gold medal honour. Next up for the brothers is the 470 Junior European Championship in Italy, where they will face many other former 420 stars.
On their goals at the 470 Junior Europeans, George continued, 'I don’t know. There will be strong winds and it will be tough!'
The turning point for the Charles brothers’ assault on the World Championship title came after equipment failure forced them out of race 9, and added unwanted points to their scoreline.
'We are really happy with this result, third is a good place,' said Alex Charles.
Astonishing that last year the brothers didn’t event qualify for the 420 Worlds and this year have won gold at the ISAF Youth Worlds and bronze at the 420 Worlds; podium finishes to cap a great year of racing so far. We can expect to see more from them at the 420 Junior Europeans later this week.
A steady scoreline for France’s Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan delivered them the silver medal, to match the silver they secured at the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds, and silver at the 2011 420 Junior European Championship.
Pirouelle was relatively relaxed going into the final day of racing, commenting, 'It depended whether there were three races or one, but with just one race, we were confident as we didn’t have a bad race, so could have a discard.'
Sipan added, 'I feel very happy and it is recompense for all our hard work.'
The Spanish and French will re-meet at the 2012 420 Junior Europeans in Italy, where racing is likely to be in stronger wind conditions than Austria. Sipan continued, 'Yes, we like it when it is windy and we have trained on Lake Garda. We will do our best.'
Lighter of the cauldron at the 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony, Callum Airlie (GBR), got his focus into racing after the heady heights of the Opening Ceremony and finished 31st in the silver fleet, with crew Joseph Butterworth.
Winners of the silver fleet were Taylor Burn/Oscar Rorvik (NZL) and Hugo Sloper/James Dodd (GBR) won the bronze fleet.
420 World Championship - Top 10 Overall
1. KAVAS Alex/KAVAS George (GRE) - 18 pts
2. PIROUELLE Guillaume/SIPAN Valentin (FRA) - 29 pts
3. CHARLES David/CHARLES Alex (ESP) - 36 pts
4. MAS Santi/MAS David (ESP) - 50 pts
5. FRANKLIN Josh /GOUGH Alexander (AUS) - 67 pts
6. DERBYSHIRE Harry/LOVESEY Tom (GBR) - 69 pts
7. MPAKATSIAS Fratzekos/TIMOGIANNAKIS Evangelos (GRE) - 72 pts
8. DIBB Craig/COX Charlie (GBR) - 73 pts
9. ZENETZIDAKIS Michail/VASILIS Kontakis (GRE) – 82 pts
10. PINHO Goncalo/HIPOLITO Miguel (POR) – 83 pts
An overwhelming delivery from Singapore’s 420 Ladies team, with three of the four teams competing at the Worlds finishing in the top four and Rachel Lee/Cecilia Low stepping up to collect the ultimate prize of World Championship gold.
'We had to finish in front of Chile by two positions. It was nerve racking waiting ashore. We really hoped there would be wind and a race, but just didn’t know,' explained Lee. Lee/Low finished 17th at the 2011 420 World Championship.
Out on the water the team supported each other, as Low explained, 'We tried to calm ourselves down by talking to each other. The wind was light at the start, and we were a bit worried as we are on the heavy side, but it turned out OK. It feels really, really great.'
Modest about the achievements of the Singapore 420 Ladies team, they seemed surprised to have collectively delivered such an impressive outcome. 'We didn’t dream this would happen. It was really unexpected. The level here is very, very high and the fleet is very competitive. It has been difficult to stay on top,' said Lee.
By the time racing got underway, it was certain there would only be one race contested, so Lim/Low knew they had to finish ahead of the Chilean pair and with two boats between them, to secure the gold medal. A great start saw Lee/Low lead to the first mark first, with the Chileans in third. After the reaching leg, the Chileans started catching up on Lee/Low, and then gybed off away from the fleet. Strategically the Singaporeans chose to cover the Chileans, so followed them and went on to secure victory.
It was a tough final day for Chile’s Nadja Horwitz/Sofia Middleton, who had been leading the World Championship from the outset, but after the nailbiting final race had to settle for the silver medal. Understandably emotional about the outcome, Horwitz was equally graceful to the Singapore team’s skills on the race track, saying, 'They raced really, really well. They didn’t give us a chance and sailed better than us, so they deserved the gold. It was so hard waiting for so many hours, and we didn’t know if we were going to race or not. You had to prepare yourself mentally and we didn’t know what was going to happen.'
Sixteen year old Horwitz finished fourth at the recent ISAF Youth Worlds with another crew and feels the two World Championships are quite different. 'There are so many teams here, and teams that you don’t see at the ISAF Youths and everyone is so well prepared. With so many teams competing, when you have a bad race you rack up the points and it is hard to get back up high again.'
Looking ahead to developing their performance, Horwitz concluded, 'We have to prepare more in our heads for the big decisions on the last day of racing. The pressure adds a lot, like having the yellow dot on your sail.'
With the exception of wins by a Chilean team at past Lightning World Championships, the silver medal by Nadja Horwitz/Sofia Middleton is the best ever result for Chilean sailors at a World Championship in any class, and will certainly act as a motivator. Worth taking note that only last year, the team of Benjamin Grez/Diego Gonzalez finished third at the 420 World Championships in Argentina, and this year qualified to the Olympics in the 470 men event.
Horwitz has several more years ahead of her at the ISAF Youth Worlds and in the 420 fleet. For her next Championship however, Horwitz is making a step up to the 470. Unable to compete in the 420 Junior European fleet as Middleton is older than the age limit, the pair will be trying their luck in the 470 fleet at the 2012 470 Junior European Championships where racing gets underway on Lake Garda on 11 August.
A win in race 10 provided the bronze medal to Griselda Khng/Shu Xian Lee (SIN), 'I am really happy with the results. We did better than expected as we are a new partnership,' said Khng. 'We understand each other and have both sailed with lots of different partners so have experience of what works well and have similar ideas and thoughts,' added Lee.
Tsuf Zamet/Stav Brokman of Israel topped the 420 Ladies silver fleet.
420 Ladies World Championship - Top 10 Overall
1. LEE Rachel/LOW Cecilia (SIN) - 28 pts
2. HORWITZ Nadja/MIDDLETON Sofia (CHI) - 29 pts
3. KHNG Griselda/SHU Xian Lee (SIN) – 54 pts
4. LIM Kimberly/SIEW Savannah (SIN) - 55 pts
5. PETERNOSTER Ilaria/DI SALLE Bernedetta (GBR) – 57 pts
6. LAVERY Jessica/MOTHERSELE Georgina (GBR - 63 pts
7. OMARI Carlotta/CIRILLO Francesca Russo (ITA) - 69 pts
8. MIQUEL Aura/CANO Marina (ESP) – 70 pts
9. PORET Jennifer/CHEVET Louise (FRA) - 74 pts
10. ROSSI Camille/VILETTE Aurelie (FRA) - 83 pts
The 420 Junior World Championship titles were awarded to the top placed teams where both helm and crew are aged 18 or under. Kimberly Lim/Savannah Siew (SIN) won the 420 Ladies Junior World Championship title and Alex Kavas/George Kavas (GRE) won the 420 Open Junior World Championship title.
The Huck Scott Memorial Trophy was awarded to Eduard Fiala/Jan Fiala (CZE) as the youngest team competing in the Championship.
The William Sanchez Trophies were awarded to Wade Waddell/Henry Fernberger (USA) in the 420 Open and Kimberly Lim/Savannah Siew (SIN) in the 420 Ladies as the highest placed team, with both crew members aged 16 or under.
Spain won the Francis Mouvet Trophy as top nation, narrowly clinching it ahead of Singapore.
The 2012 420 World and Ladies World Championships were hosted by the Austrian Sailing Federation in conjunction with the Austrian 420 Class Association and the International 420 Class Association.
The 2012 420 Junior European Championships is taking place from 9-17 August in Riva, Italy. More here