At the 420 and 470 Junior Europeans, from very little wind to gusts of up to 28 knots, mixed up with rain storms and thunder challenged the 390 teams on the final day of racing here in Gdynia, Poland on Monday 18 August. A 12 race series for the 108 boat 420 fleet, with a 10 race series followed by a double-points Medal Race for the 470 Men and Women fleets.
Ewa Romaniuk and Katarzyna Goralska (POL-55326)
Spain's Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp won the 470 Junior European Championship title with a day to spare on Sunday after 10 races, so Monday's final day of racing was all about who would claim silver and bronze from the double-points Medal Race.
But Xammar/Herp were never going to let the medal race pass without making their mark on the fleet, and a cheeky and bold move saw them start at the pin end and cross the entire fleet on port. Impressive maybe, but that move positioned them on the right-hand side of the track, where there was less pressure and ultimately they could never recover to the front of the pack. No worries for them though as the gold was already safe.
All the teams placed second through to fifth were in contention for silver, and even the sixth placed team had a long shot at bronze, so an intense battle unfolded. Germany's Malte Winkel/Matti Cipra knew they were the hunted team, as in silver medal position they could only fall off the leaderboard, so covering the fleet was critical for them. Perfect execution with a third place finish rewarded them with the silver medal, an achievement marking a career best.
Commenting on the torrential rain which greeted teams as they arrived on the medal race track, Cipra said, 'It was a crazy day. We were the second boat out of the harbour and the rain was unbelievable. During the race the wind was so shifty and so gusty. Our goal was to defend silver and to stay close to the Italians.'
With the Junior worlds bronze medal already in their bag earlier in the Summer, the pressure had eased, as Winkel continued, 'I think our main aim was to be good at the Junior Worlds which was a great performance. So here we had no stress and just sailed having a bit more fun, and I think this was good for us.'
Sitting in fourth on the leaderboard and just six points off third, twin brothers David and Alex Charles of Spain had all to gain from their performance today, and worked their way through the fleet to finish in third overall and claim bronze on tiebreak advantage over Italy's Giacomo Ferrari/Giulio Calabro (ITA). Disappointment for the Italian pair, who had the bronze medal in their hands for most of the race, just letting it slip to the Spanish in the final downwind leg.
'We started really well,' said Alex, 'but we needed to put two boats between us and the Italians. By the first mark we had four boats between us, but then he took a shift and he moved up to second place in the downwind and we were wow, we were sailing well and now he is sailing well. In the second upwind we managed to cover him and then on the downwind put the two boats between us. We are really, really, really happy.'
After two years campaigning the 470, preceded by numerous podium finishes in the 420 fleet, a best result so far and a strong recovery from the brothers' performance at the 470 Junior Worlds, where three UFD penalty scores stalled them back in 14th place.
470 Men - Top 10 Overall
1. Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP-44) - 34 pts
2. Malte Winkel/Matti Cipra (GER-13) - 52 pts
3. David Charles Vila/Alex Charles Vila (ESP-1) - 68 pts
4. Giacomo Ferrari/Giulio Calabro (ITA-757) - 68 pts
5. Matthes Waack/Matthias Rummel (GER-31) - 84 pts
6. Fabrice Rigot/Guillauume Rigot (SUI-2) – 89 pts
7. Simon Diesch/Patrick Aggeler (GER-11) – 98 pts
8. Kristian Check/Maxim Cherenkov (RUS-10) - 109 pts
9. Francesco Rebaudi/Matteo Puppo (ITA-99) – 112 pts
10. Filip Florek/Dominik Janowczyk (POL-34) – 114 pts
Defending 470 Junior European Champions Anna Kyselova/Anastasiya Krasko (UKR) won the gold medal on Sunday, ahead of Monday’s double points medal race. So all they had to do was start and finish the medal race, but their performance around the track was all about winning as they knocked out yet another epic performance. An OCS penalty to Tsuf Zamet/Saar Tamir (ISR) who crossed the finish line first, put the Medal Race win to the Ukraine pair in a stylish domination of the fleet.
It was only after the Medal Race that their Gold Medal success really sunk in for the team, 'We are really happy with the win. We really wanted to do this and it was our plan for this year and we did it. Yesterday when we finished and saw the results, we didn’t feel the success as it wasn’t the end of the Championship,' said Kyselova. 'We were really nervous before the Medal Race and then when we finished, it was like it’s over and then we really became the winners.'
'We weren’t really fast today, but we were in a fight with the other boats and the competition was really good,' said Krasko. 'We enjoyed the race.'
Teammates on the water and great friends the pair are taking a holiday together before heading down to Santander for the ISAF Worlds.
Just a swap in positions behind the winners, as Israel's Noya Bar-Am/Rimon Shoshan managed to upgrade their third overall going into the day to seal the silver medal as they finished just a metre behind Kyselova/Krasko. A perfect continuation from their bronze medal at the 470 Junior Worlds in early July.
'It feels great, it is nice to have a medal. But we are always thinking about how to improve and do well in Santander,' said Bar-Am referring to the ISAF Sailing World Championships which is the pair’s next event in Spain.
Shoshan, 'I didn’t sail last year’s Junior Europeans because I was sick, and this year is just a great improvement for us. All year we have worked so hard and finally we have got our reward.'
Reliving the Medal Race, Bar-Am said, 'We were always focused on looking ahead to the wind and deciding where we wanted to position our boat. We saw on the first upwind that the right side had no wind, so we went to the left and kept our wind. Then the downwind was easy as the wind shifted left and in the second upwind we went left again and found puffs and a shift and it was worth it.'
Germany's Frederike Loewe/Anna Markfort made their debut appearance in a Medal Race in what also marked their first 470 Championship together, keeping their cool to finish the race in seventh and hold onto the bronze medal.
'We have connected perfectly and have the same ambitions. We are pretty happy,' grinned Loewe. The pair have competed at past 470 Junior Worlds and Junior Europeans, just in different partnerships.
Markfort added, 'I think it is quite surprising how well we have done as we only had 2 days of training before Gdynia. No-one thought we would do this well. Our goal before the championship was just to qualify to the Medal Race!' she laughed.
Next event for many of the teams is the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in September, where Olympic Qualification is on the tick list for some.
470 Women – Top 10 Overall
1. Anna Kyselova/Anastasiya Krasko (UKR-93) - 23 pts
2. Noya Bar-Am/Rimon Shoshan (ISR-11) - 49 pts
3. Frederike Loewe/Anna Markfort (GER-26) - 56 pts
4. Jess Lavery/Megan Brickwood (GBR-838) - 64 pts
5. Cecilia Zorzi/Bianca Caruso (ITA-20) – 68 pts
6. Jeanine Speelman/Marchien Speelman (NED-75) – 74 pts
7. Fabienne Oster/Alexandra Lauber (GER-95) - 77 pts
8. Benedetta di Salle/Alessandra Dubbini (ITA-74) – 96 pts
9. Eva Peterneli/Valentina Baruca (SLO-18) – 106 pts
10. Tsuf Zamet/Saar Tamir (ISR-77) - 112 pts
Having led the Championship all week, Hippolyte Machetti/Sidoine Dantes (FRA) lost out to Switzerland’s Kilian Wagen/Gregoire Siegwart on the penultimate day of racing as they slipped to second on the leaderboard.
Things were not looking good for the French after their 16th place finish in the penultimate race 11 positioned them seven points behind the Swiss. Their target was to put seven boats between themselves and the Swiss in the final race to get back into gold medal position.
A close-run win for the French, as Machetti explained, 'After Sunday, we were a bit disappointed but today we were ready to do better and just do our best. After the race 11 it was difficult, as the Swiss were still ahead, but luckily we won the final race.'
With Wagen/Gregoire Siegwart finishing back in 14th – it was a gold to France, silver to Switzerland.
A phenomenal summer of 420 results for Machetti/ Dantes; fourth at the ISAF Youth Worlds, silver medallists at the 420 Worlds combined with the 420 Junior World crown as the top placed team aged 18 and under, and to top off their season gold at the 420 Junior Europeans.
'It was our objective to achieve this,' said Dantes, 'It has been a really good summer for us.'
Last year the pair won the silver fleet at the 420 Worlds in Valencia, so a massive rise up the leaderboard. They were also EUROSAF Youth Sailing Champions in the 420 Class.
Their next challenge, sees Machetti/Dantes step up to the 470 Class in September this year and the 2015 470 Junior Worlds and 470 Junior European Championships are next year’s targets.
A massive leap up the leaderboard by Alexandre Demange/Maxime Roux (FRA) who changed gear to score a 1,2 in what was their best day of racing so far and secured the bronze medal, up from sixth on the leaderboard at the start of the day.
The home team of Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska (POL) finished fourth overall and as the top placed ladies team won the 2104 420 Ladies Junior European Championship title. Ladies Junior European Championship Silver medals to Paula Barcelo/Margarita Alba (ESP) who finished in eighth overall and bronze medals to Great Britian's Sarah Norbury/Mari Davies in 12th overall.
Silver Fleet victory went to Ireland's Robert Dickson/Sean Waddilove, second to Salome Rouiller/Louise Thilo (SUI) and third to Maxime Bachelin/Philippe Pittet (SUI).
A team tally of 108 boats representing 20 nations competed at the 2014 420 Junior European Championships, with teams from the Hong Kong, New Zealand and USA joining the European line-up.
420 - Top 10 Overall
1. Hippolyte Machetti/Sidoine Dantes (FRA-55096) - 86 pts
2. Kilian Wagen/Gregoire Siegwart (SUI-52967) – 92 pts
3. Max Clapp/Joseph Burns (GBR-55242) – 110 pts
4. Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska (POL-55326) - 128 pts
5. Russell Clarida/Henry Fernberger (USA-54068) – 131 pts
6. Max Clapp/Joseph Burns (GBR-55242) - 140 pts
7. Thomas Ponthieu/Quentin Paturle (FRA-55095) – 151 pts
8. Paula Barcelo/Margarita Alba (ESP-53162) - 157 pts
9. Nitai Hasson/Yoav Shpilman (ISR-54144) - 160 pts
10. Jan Borbet/Lea Borbet (GER-55233) - 170 pts