On day five of the Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships, predominantly blue skies, sunshine and light to moderate winds greeted sailors. Competitors in four classes put aside the disappointment of Tuesday’s postponements by asserting themselves in the fleet racing.
There were clean sweeps for Great Britain’s Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell in the blue fleet and Australia’s Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page in the yellow with Great Britain and Australia both on equal points at the top of the board in the Men’s 470 event.
With racing cancelled on Tuesday due to electrical storms, Wednesday’s competition became crunch time for gold and silver fleet allocations.
World No.1 Belcher (AUS) said he and Page couldn’t complain about their result after racing in near perfect sea breeze conditions. 'We are really looking forward to the finals,' he said.
The scheduled showdown between the 2011 and 2010 European champions in the blue fleet didn’t disappoint.
It was a constant battle between 2011 champions Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) and 2010 champs Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE), with the Croatians finishing the day in third overall and the Greek duo now fourth.
The men’s 470 races are scheduled to begin at 1400 Perth time on the Success course on Thursday.
Finn world number two Giles Scott (GBR) continued his impressive form on the water, moving from fourth to second overall in the rankings with two wins and a second on Wednesday.
Racing in the Yellow fleet, Scott was followed closely for most of the day in the 18-20 knots sea breeze by Pieter-Jan Potsma (NED), who managed to edge him in race 5. After discarding his worst result, Postma took the overall lead by one point ahead of Scott (GBR), with Ben Ainslie a further point behind. Ainslie has dropped from first to third in the overall rankings after collecting nine points for the day.
Disqualifications dominated the first Blue fleet race of the day, with 11 contestants receiving Black Flag Disqualifications. They included world number one Ed Wright (GBR), day-one winner Rafael Trujillo (ESP), and Olympic silver medallist Zach Railey (USA).
Four sailors in the Yellow fleet’s third race were also disqualified for the same reason. The mass disqualifications gave Jonathan Lobert (FRA) his only win so far in the competition. Trujillo also put his earlier penalty behind him, placing well for the rest of the day.
Finals Series racing in the Finn class is scheduled to begin at 1400 local time Thursday on the Leighton course.
The women’s RS:X competition opened in testing conditions on the Centre Course off Bathers Bay on Wednesday, 7 December, proving a challenge to athletes who had not experienced 15 knot winds for some days.
Published on 07/12/11
But after three races for both fleets, Israel’s Lee Korzits holds the lead from Bryony Shaw (GBR) and Marina Alabau (ESP).
World number one Blanca Manchon sits in thirteenth place overall and veteran windsurfers Alessandra Sensini (ITA) and Jessica Crisp (AUS) are in 15thand 16th places respectively.
The Yellow fleet started with Europeans dominating the top five in race 3, including a surprise climb from Marina Alabau (ESP), who shot from 12th place to first.
The star of Monday’s racing – Lee Korzits (ISR) – maintained her stronghold in second place, only eight seconds behind Alabau.
But Alabau’s win was only temporary. She ended race four 18 seconds behind Korzits, the winner.
Race 5 saw some different athletes take the lead, including Sigrid Rondelez (BEL), Laerke Buhl-Hansen (DEN) and Zhu Hali (CHN).
Race 3 saw a battle between some of the biggest names in women’s windsurfing.
Bryony Shaw (GBR) claimed victory over world number one Blanca Manchon (ESP) who came second, with Alessandra Sensini (ITA) third.
Also right up there were Charline Picon (FRA) and Maayan Davidovich (ISR) in fourth and fifth places.
A wind shift in race five saw a dividing line of sailors. While Shaw continued to starboard, Picon made a daring move in the opposite direction. Blanca Manchon followed Picon, a move which paid off handsomely with a win for Manchon.
The world number one was in good spirits after the race, vowing her change of tactics had been a success.
'Before race three, I spoke to my coach to work out a plan for the wind direction and considered the possible options. I was the only one who saw the wind in the direction it was in, so I just had to concentrate on my mark and get ahead,' Manchon said.
The women’s RS:X Finals Series racing is scheduled to begin on the Centre course at 1200 Perth time on Thursday.
Sailors on the water for Day 5 of the Laser Radial competition enjoyed perfect conditions but encountered dramatic changes in fortunes. Race 3 started in 11-15 knots which picked up to a 20 knot sea breeze by Race 5, with swell and chop to contend with.
In the first race of the Yellow fleet, the winner of the last two world championships, Sari Multala (FIN) was back to winning ways in race 3 for the Yellow fleet. Alison Young (GBR) worked her way up from fifth place to second while Ashley Stoddart (AUS) finished a creditable third, after rounding the first leg in tenth place. Sari Multala also won the second race of the day. 'In the first two races I had a really good start,' she said.
'I could do what I wanted to do. There were some speed differences in the winds which helped,' Multala said. Evi van Acker (BEL) and Paige Railey (USA) were back on form finishing second and third. Alison Young (GBR) saved her best for last to win race 5 in the Yellow fleet. 'The first two races weren’t too great. Today I had three good races and I am happy with it,' she said.
In the Blue fleet, Charlotte Dobson (GBR) put her first day’s 34th behind her and posted her first win of the series. Annalise Murphy (IRL) and Veronika Fenclova (CZE) came from outside the top eight to finish second and third respectively in race 3.
World number one, Marit Bouwmeester (NED), did not have a good start and chose the wrong side of the course. However, she managed to claw her way back into race to take tenth place after rounding mark one in 33rd position. 'I tried to forget about it and sail how I normally do,' Bouwmeester said about her comeback. In race 4, world number thirteen, Annalise Murphy (IRL) won her second race of the series.
'I was leading from start to finish and pulled out quite a lot and it was a good feeling to get so far ahead,' Murphy said.
World champion Marit Bouwmeester (NED) came second with Charlotte Dobson (GBR) third. It took Marit Bouwmeester five races to score her first win in Perth 2011, race 5 for the blue fleet. Claire Blom (NED) and Hannah Snellgrove (GBR) took the minor places. Annalise Murphy’s win saw her skyrocket from 26nd to second in the overall standings. Marit Bouwmeester (NED) remains in third place.
Finals Series racing for Laser Radial is scheduled to begin on the Parmelia course at 1200 local time on Thursday.
Sailing conditions of between 13 to 18 knots proved a challenge for some of the Women's Match Racing crews in Group B despite earlier wind shifts that enabled the first four flights to engage in tactical racing.
Throughout flights 34 to 43 some crews struggled to clear and fill their spinnaker while others used the windward marks to make strategic advances in the final downwind run.
Flight 35 was highlighted by the tense match between defending world champion Claire Leroy (FRA) and Spain’s Silvia Roca. Leroy was unable to ward off a well-executed jibe from Roca, forcing the French crew to sail in ESP-2’s backwind.
Despite the loss, Leroy’s crew leads the Women’s Match Racing round robin with seven wins and a single loss.
The tactical sailing in flight 36 was marred by a collision between DEN-2 and BRA-1 which caused damage to Trine Abrahmsen’s DEN-2 tweaker block. The block was replaced in the water but the crew was unable to pick up the pace against the Brazilians.
During the afternoon flights teams began sailing at higher angles to keep their sails in full motion as the wind decreased in Fremantle’s Inner Harbour.
In Flight 40, GBR and NED-1 were tacking up the middle of the course but GBR skipper Lucy Macgregor was unable to overcome the last leg and finished one second behind NED-1. The loss leaves Lucy Macgregor’s crew with six wins and two losses.
Spanish skipper Tamara Echegoyen also finished the fifth day of Women’s Match Racing with six wins and two losses. Buoyed by the crew’s success against Leroy during flight 35, ESP-2 powered through the harbour to record its second win of the day in flight 40 against DEN-2.
Australian sailors seemed to benefit from the high angles with AUS-2, led by Olivia Price, outsailing SWE-1 and NED-2 respectively to post a tally of seven wins and three losses.
Women’s Match Racing is scheduled to continue at 1000 on Thursday on the Inner Harbour course.
Perth ISAF Sailing World Championships website