by Luissa Smith
Teams from twenty-nine nations have gathered in Riva, Italy for the 2012 470 Junior European Championships.
Sivit-Farnetti (ITA)- 470 Junior European Championships
The first day of racing for the teams, all of whom have to be aged 21 or under in the year of the Championship, showcased some of the 470 Class’ youngest talent.
Racing took place in a variable 10-15 knot breeze and the 79 boat 470 Men teams have been split into yellow and blue fleets for the six race qualification series.
The 29 boat 470 Women teams will be sailing as one fleet for the entire Championship. After the six race qualification series, the 470 Men fleet will be allocated to gold and silver fleets.
Greece’s Alex and George Kavas have dominated the 420 fleet, are fresh from claiming the gold medal at the 420 World Championships which finished last week in Austria, and could possibly to do the same here in Italy if their opening race is anything to go by. They led off the start and just held on and extended their lead to take a win in the opening race of the 470 Men blue fleet.
Chasing hard, but a fair distant behind were Italy’s Francesco Falcatelli/Gabrielle Francioli and Simone Spina/Matteo Bernard. Greece extended their lead on the final downwind leg even further as they went on to the finish. The brothers literally fly in the lighter breeze, which they will be hoping continues for the duration of the Championship. Introduce the challenge of a stronger breeze, combined with their lighter weight, and it is likely to be a struggle for them to match the performance of the heavier and stronger 470 teams
France’s Kevin Peponnet is the defending 470 Junior European Champion and is here competing with new crew Baptiste Berthier. The pair were up in the mix of the top three in the early stages of race 1 in the blue fleet, going onto finish in seventh. Despite only having trained together for one week, the pair set the pace in race 2 and delivered a posted a win.
'Yes, it is a good day for us. It was very shifty, not so wind, 10 knots and no more,' said Peponnet. 'We were very good in the first race. We finished seventh, having lost two places in the last downwind. In the second race we were in the first three boats and won the race in the last upwind.'
Dirk Bennen/Rogier Weijers (NED) had the advantage in the first upwind leg of blue fleet race 2, with Jordi Xammar Hernandez/Joan Herp (ESP) in pursuit and Peponnet/Berthier in third. Downwind the pressure was to the right of the track and the top three gybed off with Peponnet/Berthier securing the best track and taking the lead, with the Dutch in second and Israel’s Dan Froyliche/Yoav Levi up into third. The same three teams went on to cross the finish line in the same order.
In the 470 Men yellow fleet, Croatia’s Lovro Ivanov/Marko Caric (CRO) were the stars of race 1, literally leading from start to finish. A touch of nervousness going round the last mark to the finish as the Netherland’s Floris van de Werken/Laurens van de Werken tried to get the inside edge, but it was not to be with the Dutch finishing second and Austria’s Benjamin Bildstein/David Hussl in third.
Ivanov/Caric were delighted with their opening race win, which marked their first ever race victory at this level of Championship. Ivanov explained, 'It was a very easy race, because the start was very good and the only thing we had to do was tack on the right side and just to drive our boat fast. After the first mark everything was pretty easy and we were 15 metres ahead of the next boat, although in the last downwind we made a mistake and they passed us, but we fixed it up pretty fast.' The fix up was possible as the Dutch put in a gybe which enabled the Croatians to take over again.
A bad start in race 2 and decision to take the wrong side of the track in the downwind pushed the Croatians to an 11th in race 2.
The Race 2 win in the yellow fleet went to Mike Wood/Hugh Brayshaw (GBR) with Floris van de Werken/Laurens van de Werken (NED) in second and the hot favourites Simon Sivitz Kosuta/Jas Farneti (ITA) in third.
Kosuta/ Farneti are one of the most experienced junior teams competing. Carrying a world ranking of #40, a 28th at the 2012 470 World Championships, gold medal at the 2012 470 Junior World Championships and bronze medal at the 2011 470 Junior European Championships, on paper they are the favoured team competing in Riva.
470 Men – Top 10 Overall
1. Floris VAN DE WERKEN/Laurens VAN DE WERKEN – 4 pts
2. Francesco FALCETELLI/Gabriele FRANCIOLII – 7 pts
3. Simon SIVITZ KOSUTA/Jas FARNETI – 7 [ts
4. Kevin PEPONNET/Baptiste BERTHIER – 8 pts
5. Mike WOOD/Hugh BRAYSHAW – 9 pts
6. Lovro IVANOV/Marko CARIC – 12 pts
7. Alexander KAVAS/George KAVAS – 13 pts
8. Benjamin BILDSTEIN/David HUSSL – 13 pts
9. Pablo VÖLKER/Agustín CUNILL MARTINEZ – 13 pts
10. Max DECKERS/Duko BOS – 14 pts
A great pin end start in race 1 for Annika Bochmann/Elisabeth Panuschka (GER) saw them cross the fleet on port and it appeared they had the race in their pocket from the first upwind. But the race win went to Poland’s Ewa Szczesna/Irmina Mrozek Gliszczynska, with Joanna Freeman/Katie Tomsett (GBR) in second and Bochmann/Panuschka in third.
Szczesna credited a wind shift for their success, saying, 'We went to the right side where there was a big shift and we were able to just tack for the mark.' That was effectively it and the Polish pair led from that point with a significant lead.
'In the second race it was the same. We went to the right side, made three tacks and were then straight to the mark and were first again,' said Szczesna.
Sasha Ryan/Jaime Ryan (AUS) finished in second with Bochmann/Panuschka posting another third place.
Post-race Szczesna admitted they had even surprised themselves, laughing, 'Yes. I thought we would do good, but not so good. We are happy.' The pair have been sailing together for two years and finished 11th at last year’s 470 Junior Europeans.
At the end of day 1, the Polish lead overall, Freeman/Tomsett in second and Bochmann/Panuschka in third. Bochmann/Panuschka and Freeman/Tomsett last faced each other at the 2012 470 European Championships in Largs, Scotland last month. There it was advantage to the Germans who picked up the bronze medal with the British finishing in fifth overall.
Fresh from a bronze medal at the 2012 420 World Championships which ended on 5 August in Austria, Chile’s Nadja Horwitz/Sofia Middleton have had only a short time in their 470, but potted a solid 15th in race 1 and followed up with a 16th in race 2 to end day one in 15th.
470 Women – Top 10 Overall
1. Ewa SZCZESNA/Irmina MROZEK GLISZCZYNSKA – 2 pts
2. Joanna FREEMAN/Katie TOMSETT – 6 pts
3. Annika BOCHMANN/Elisabeth PANUSCHKA – 6 pts
4. Linda FAHRNI/Maja SIEGENTHALER – 9 pts
5. Amy SEABRIGHT/Eilidh MCINTYRE – 12 pts
6. Maëlenn LEMAÎTRE/Aloïse RETORNAZ – 13 pts
7. Sasha RYAN/Jaime RYAN – 16 pts
8. Fanni PECH/Eszter HEJJ – 18 pts
9. Frederike LOEWE/Henrike PEPIN - 20 pts
10. Courtois JEANNE/Parlier EMMANUELLE – 21 pts
470 Junior European Championships
470 Junior World Championship website