Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 40+ 728x90

Open Europeans 2011 - A light and shifty testing day

by Kurt Lönnqvist on 12 Jul 2011
470 Women - Open Europeans 2011 Thom Touw © http://www.thomtouw.com
At the Open Europeans 2011 taking place in Helsinki, Finland, conditions seem to be constantly changing. Sailors had to deal with tricky and light winds which forced the race committees to postpone or cancel races. However, sailors have been provided with a good mix of conditions so far and this year's European winners will have shown their ability to perform in all circumstances.

With quite the opposite conditions from yesterday, today’s racing required skills for light air finesse. 49er sailors in light air show the delicate nature of keeping the high performance skiff well balanced while attaining maximum speed.

The race committee on both courses had high hopes and sent the fleet out on time only to see a dying breeze and send them back to shore. After a three hour postponement both courses were able to get two races off for the day in maximum wind of seven knots.

British sailors Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign mastered the light air technique by winning both races of the day. Catching up with Fletcher while putting his boat away he commented, 'After a long wait, we launched at 3:00. We’ve sailed every day on this course and that was a bit of an advantage for us so we knew what worked.

Alain was really on it at the start and he kept my head down as he makes the decision, and we were going fast and starting well. In the second race we started a little bit evenly, mid-line, held our lane and it happened that we were quite quick. For our tactics we kept it really simple with a 2-tack beat. Downwind our strategy was to sail to the layline and cover the boats behind and lead the group back out.' When asked about tomorrow’s plan, Fletcher commented with a smile, '..same again would be nice! it’s our best ever day...ever!'

The two bullets now put Fletcher/Sign (GBR) in the lead with 48 points followed by previous regatta leaders Delle Karth/Resch (AUT) with 52 and the Nielsen brothers, Emil and Simon, (DEN) in third with 55. 2008 gold medallist Jonas Warrer with crew Soren Hansen (DEN) had the second best day posting a 3-3 to move them to sixth overall.

In the silver fleet, Lukasz Przybytek/Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) lead the 40 boat fleet. This team was clocked at 18.9 knots in yesterdays sailing through the TracTrac data. The final series continues tomorrow with gold and silver fleet racing culminating with the medal race to be held on 13 July.

Conditions on Course Area D for the first races of the day for the 470 fleet were tricky with the wind shifting and with seven knots, before decreasing to four knots as the fleets finished race five. After going back ashore to wait for an improvement in the wind, it was decided to abandon racing for the 470 women, whilst the 470 men were sent back out to race in a more stable 6-8 knot breeze to complete their qualification series.

Compared to yesterday's disappointments, world ranked number six Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) got themselves back on track to lead race nine from start to finish. Disappointment can often deliver success, as Mills explained, 'Today we had to start the event again in our minds and put the last two days behind us. All we wanted was space at the start line and we got that. We had good upwind speed, good downwind speed and having gained the lead were able to extend it.'

Recognizing the challenge facing them Clark continued, 'We've got a big climb ahead of us. We have reassessed where we are and reassessed our goals for the week and the goal is top ten.' But that statement was made before the pair knew that redress has been granted for race one, which now gives them a three point score rather than 44 points, and they now go into Tuesday's racing in fourteenth overall.

Spain's Tara Pacheco/Berta Betanzos continue to lead the fleet overall, with Fernanda Oliveira/Ana Luisa Barbachan (BRA) in second. Moving up into third are Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) after a sixth place in race five.

There are 43 teams competing in the 470 Women fleet from 10 nations, including seven of the world's top 10 teams.

One of the happiest teams in the boat park tonight are Canada's Luke Ramsay/Mike Leigh who qualified to the gold fleet on a countback decider after tying on equal points in thirty-seventh overall with Vianey Guilbaud/Mathieu Fountaine (FRA). Only the top 37 boats qualify to the gold fleet and a stab at the Medal Race, with the rest qualifying to the silver fleet.

It was their second place in race five which gave the Canadians their opening and with the results yet to be published when they came back ashore after race six, Ramsay wasn't predicting certain qualification. 'We knew it would be 50:50 getting into gold,' before adding, 'It would be really, really great to get into gold and race with the top guys.'

Positioning themselves safely in the top 10 of the 470 men going into tomorrow's final series are Stuart McNay/Graham Biehl (USA) who posted a 4,2 to move up into fifth overall. Biehl gave his thoughts on their preparations for the final series, 'We are just having fun, enjoying sailing and being here. All the racing has been awesome even though we are out on the water pretty late every day. We are pretty happy with the way things are going and we are going to continue doing what we have been doing.'

Australia's Mat Belcher/Malcolm Page (AUS) remain in first overall, with Israel's Gideon Kliger/Eran Sela now taking over the second place slot. Moving up into third are Luke Patience/Stuart Bithell (GBR).


The charge for the 470 Men and Women European Championship titles continues tomorrow with three races planned for the 470 Women to get back on schedule and two races for each of the men's fleets. Racing is scheduled to get underway tomorrow at 1155 hours.

In the Finn class the defending European Champion Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic (CRO) moved into the overall lead after a first and a second in Monday's two light wind races.

In race four Kljakovic Gaspic capitalised on a big left hand shift after starting at the pin and led at each any every mark to win his second race of the championship. Fellow Croatian Marin Misura (CRO) emerged from the chasing fleet to cross in second, while Thomas Le Breton (FRA) took 12 places on the final downwind by sailing round the pack on the left to finish third.

After a long wait and a big shift in the wind, race five was sailed in 5-6 knots with Daniel Birgmark (SWE) leading from start to finish. Kljakovic Gaspic moved from third at the top mark to second at the finish and at one point nearly caught the Swede. The regatta leader this morning, Andrew Mills (GBR) spent most of the race in third, but lost out to Rafal Szukiel (POL) on the approach to the finish and now sits in second overall. After a fifth and a 21, Pieter Jan Postma (NED) drops to third overall.

Kljakovic Gaspic said, 'You know how it goes in light winds, so it was tricky, and always difficult. But I had really good starts in both races and had quite good speed. It was risky at times, to make calls and decide where to go and what to do so I am pretty happy with what I did today.'

Racing for the Finns continues on Tuesday, with more wind, and rain on the forecast. Full fleet racing scheduled until Wednesday, with the medal race for the top 10 and the final race for the rest on Thursday 14 July.

Open Europeans 2011 website

Colligo Marine 660x82Wildwind 2016 660x82Bakewell-White Yacht Design

Related Articles

J22 World Championship - More Day 3 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J22 World Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 action. Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J22 World Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 action.
Posted today at 7:18 am
2016 J22 World Championship - Day 3 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J22 World Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 action. Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J22 World Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 3 action.
Posted today at 7:16 am
Rio 2016 - Plain speaking by triple-medalist on Olympic sailing moves
Triple Olympic medalist, Santiago Lange has been on the sharp end of changes made to Olympic classes and formats Santiago Lange, a six-time Olympian and Bronze medallist in the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, won his third medal – Gold sailing in the Nacra 17 class. With that length of experience at an Olympic level, having sailed the Laser, Tornado and now Nacra 17 classes his comments on the future shape of the Olympic regatta was one of the highlights of the Medallists Media Conferences.
Posted today at 5:58 am
Rio 2016 - Unless you're continuously improving, you're falling behind
The Olympics displayed the reality of elite sport - that unless you are continuously improving, you are falling behind. Mark Orams, World champion sailor and now a Professor of sport and recreation looks at some lessons from the 2016 Olympics, he says you need to be improving faster than the opposition to succeed at the Olympics. Britain did just that with a staggering haul of eleven medals in track cycling, six of them gold, bettering their performance at their home Olympics four years earlier.
Posted on 24 Aug
Rio 2016 - Images from the NZL Sailing Team return home
On Wednesday morning, the NZL Sailing Team returned to New Zealand from the Rio Olympics. On Wednesday morning, the NZL Sailing Team returned to New Zealand from the Rio Olympics. First up was a reception for the whole Olympic Team in The Cloud. A second function was held at the NZ Maritime Museum, under the hull of NZL-32, the 1995 America's Cup winner, with just the Sailing Team members and some of the coaches.
Posted on 24 Aug
J22 World Championship - More Day 2 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J22 World Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action. Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J22 World Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action.
Posted on 24 Aug
2016 J22 World Championship - Day 2 action-shots by Christopher Howell
Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J22 World Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action. Photographer Christopher Howell was on water at 2016 J22 World Championship and provided this gallery of images from Day 2 action.
Posted on 24 Aug
Michael Marshall excels in wind and waves on J/22 Worlds Day 2
The day before J/22 Worlds began Mike Marshall led a panel discussion focused on techniques for heavy breeze and waves. 2016 J/22 World Championship - The day before the J/22 World Championship began at Cork/Sail Kingston in Ontario Canada, Mike Marshall led a panel discussion focused on techniques for heavy breeze and waves.
Posted on 24 Aug
Spring into summer with NCYC’s Inner Spring Regatta
Entry is open 2016 NCYC Inner Spring Regatta to be held over the 10th and 11th of September. Entry is open 2016 NCYC Inner Spring Regatta to be held over the 10th and 11th of September. With six on the entry list in the first 24 hours this will be a regatta not to miss.
Posted on 24 Aug
Rio says goodbye to its Olympic Games 2016
The Olympic Games will leave Rio de Janeiro a much better place, International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach says. The Olympic Games will leave Rio de Janeiro a much better place, International Olympic Committee Thomas Bach says.
Posted on 23 Aug