by Lindsey Bell
At this week's Santander City Trophy, British Sailing Team Manager Stephen Park believes his charges have learned some valuable lessons, which will stand them in good stead ahead of next year’s ISAF Sailing World Championships in the northern Spanish venue.
CIUDAD DE SANTANDER Trophy, Isaf sailing World Championships test event. Prize giving - RS:X FRA-6 Julien Bontemps"; GBR-1 Nick Dempsey"; NED-8 Dorian van Rijsselberghe
Conditions for Sunday’s final day of racing at this Worlds test regatta (15 September) proved impossible as the wind failed to materialise across the harbour.
British sailors were eager to seeing some racing across a number of classes where the points were delicately poised in the hunt for the podium spots, but Mother Nature had other ideas and thoughts of racing were eventually abandoned and medals instead awarded on the standings at the close of play on Saturday (14 September).
CIUDAD DE SANTANDER Trophy, Isaf sailing World Championships test event. Prize giving - RS:X Women ESP ESP-1 Blanca ManchoÌ?n"; "RS:X Women FRA FRA-4 Charline Picon"; "RS:X Women GBR GBR-94 Bryony Shaw
Windsurfer Bryony Shaw and the Nacra 17 multihull duo of Ben Saxton and Hannah Diamond added silver medals to the two golds and a bronze already won by the British 470 teams on Saturday, while there were bronze medals also for Nick Thompson in the Laser, Chloe Martin in the Laser Radial, RS:X windsurfing World Champion Nick Dempsey and the Nacra 17 duo Rupert White and Nikki Boniface.
For the teams competing here, though, the event was as much about learning for the main Worlds regatta next year as it was about the results, and team manager Park feels that they’ll return in 12 months’ time more comfortable in their surroundings.
'It’s been a really interesting week here in Santander,' Park explained.
CIUDAD DE SANTANDER Trophy, Isaf sailing World Championships test event. Prize giving - Laser Standard GBR GBR-201402 Nick Thompson"; "Laser Standard GUA GUA-192384 Juan Ignacio Maegli"; "Laser Standard SWE SWE-204666 Jesper StaÌŠlheim
'I think the sailors have really enjoyed coming here, getting a view of the venue and getting the opportunity to get some time on the water and actually see what the environment that they’re going to be operating in is like for when it really matters at next year’s World Championships.'
'The conditions here in Santander would be best described as changeable,' the Scotman continued.
'Today we’ve got bright sunlight, hot conditions and light winds to the point where we didn’t actually race, but just a week ago there was a good 20 knots of breeze and it was pouring down with rain, so it’s certainly very changeable in northern Spain at this time of year.
'There’s also quite a lot of tide here. The tide can get up to in excess of one and a half knots at times particularly on the medal race course.
'It’s going to be quite tricky but certainly some of those conditions and challenges are challenges we’ll face in Rio in 2016.'
CIUDAD DE SANTANDER Trophy, Isaf sailing World Championships test event. Prize giving - Laser Radial GBR GBR-201124 Chloe Martin"; "Laser Radial JPN JPN-199066 Manami Doi"; "Laser Radial TUR TUR-201111 Cagla Donertas
For a number of classes, this event wraps up their main competition season, with the focus now switching to both domestic and warm-weather training over the autumn and winter.
'It’s been a great opportunity for learning for everyone and it’s been a great way for a lot of our sailors to round off their season and just finalise what they’ve got to work on now over this next training period through the winter which they’ll be kicking off in a few weeks’ time.'
'We’ve just got a few World Championships left, but our performance has been pretty good in this first year of the cycle,' Park surmised.
'We’ve seen a lot of our young sailors making some really good progress, we’ve hit all our funding targets with UK Sport which of course is very important for us, but most important is seeing the progress of a number of sailor and of course setting ourselves up well for year two of the cycle.'
British Sailing Team medal winners at the Santander City Trophy:
Luke Patience-Joe Glanfield (470 Men)
Hannah Mills-Saskia Clark (470 Women)
Bryony Shaw (RS:X Women)
Ben Saxton-Hannah Diamond (Nacra 17)
Sophie Weguelin-Eilidh McIntyre (470 Women)
Nick Dempsey (RS:X Men)
Chloe Martin (Laser Radial)
Nick Thompson (Laser)
Rupert White-Nikki Boniface (Nacra 17)
The 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships in Santander will form part of the country qualification process for the 2016 Olympic Games.
British Sailing Team