Racing got underway early at 1000 hours on Monday 30 June at the 470 Junior Worlds to make the most of the breeze and improve the chance of completing the scheduled three races for each fleet in a demanding day of racing. Conditions were again a tricky and testing on the race course, as leftover clouds from last night’s thunderstorm caused some massive windshifts. Otherwise stunning conditions, with breeze, blue sky and sparkling sea.
Eleven races are scheduled in the opening series, after which the top ten in each fleet advance to the Medal Race. So some jostling around the track, particularly at the start, as we head towards the halfway stage of the Championship. Disaster for eleven teams in the opening race for the men/mixed fleet, including those with their eyes on the podium, as they started too early to record a BFD penalty. The women’s fleet held their nerve and just two boats took penalty scores. The race throw-out came into play from race 5, which also helped to shuffle up the leaderboard.
After three races, the leaderboard ended the day where it started with defending Junior World Champions Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP) holding onto their yellow leader bibs in the men and Maëlenn Lemaitre/Aloïse Retornaz (FRA) still controlling the women’s fleet. But, whilst the Spanish are walking away from the rest of the fleet and increasing their points advantage, the French pair are being closed in on by Great Britain’s Jess Lavery/Megan Brickwood (GBR).
Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP) have now won three of the seven races held and are the only team to count an all top 10 scoreline. Their closest rivals continue to be Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan, although the points distance for the French to catch the Spanish increased dramatically by the end of today compared to yesterday.
'We won races 6 and 7 with a big difference, as we were controlling the fleet,' explained Xammar. 'In race 5 we did not have a good start, but managed to make some good decisions in the first part of the upwind and get close to the first boats, particularly the French. They did a really good start and we wondered if he was OCS and they were, so bad luck for them.'
The teams are the utmost rivals, but know each other well and respect each other’s sailing pedigree. They consistently stood on the same podium at 420 and 470 Championships and competed in the ISAF Youth Worlds together. Xammar won the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds with Herp, and repeated in 2011 with a different crew. In 2011 Pirouelle/Sipan finished fifth. Rock forwards to 2012 and the ISAF Youth Worlds 420 gold belonged to Spain's Charles brothers, with the French in second. The rivalry between the two nations’ sailors is ongoing.
At last year’s 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds, the French Spanish domination had moved on to the 470, leaving the opening for some new faces. From last year’s crop of sailors competing at the ISAF Youth Worlds who are now in the 470, the top placed team were Matteo Pilati/Michele Cecchin (ITA) who collected silver and Argentina’s Agustin Romero/Fermin Jacobs finished in 10th - and so it goes on.
Matteo Pilati has now been racing with crew Francesco Rubagotti for six months and are currently the top placed Italian team at fifth on the leaderboard.
'It was a very difficult race day as we had two different kinds of winds and it was very difficult to understand,' said Pilatti. 'The races have been good and really competitive. We had a difficult first race but managed a 13th, which is not that bad for us after some big mistakes. We simply tried not to lose touch with the top teams and we just never gave up.'
Similar to many of the teams, Pilatti comes from an Optimist background and has represented Italy at the 2010 Optimist Europeans and 2009 Optimist Worlds, before stepping up to the 420 and now the 470.
'It is an amazing boat,' were Pilatti’s words on the 470. He has been partnered with new crew Rubagotti for six months now and the 470 Junior Worlds are their first major competitive test. 'I chose the 420 because it prepares you for the 470 and I chose the 470 because it is a difficult and ambitious class. In the 470 you really learn how to race and become a top sailor.'
Today’s bounceback team award goes to twin brothers David Charles/Alex Charles (ESP). They opened their assault on today’s racing in 13th overall and after discarding their black flag in the first race of the day, had solid 5,5 finishes to wrap up in third overall. 470 Men/Mixed – Top 10 Overall
1. Jordi Xammar/Joan Herp (ESP 44) - 12 pts
2. Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan (FRA 76) - 33 pts
3. David Charles/Alex Charles (ESP 1) – 40 pts
4. Malte Winkel/Matti Cipra (GER 13) - 43 pts
5. Matteo Pilati/Francesco Rubagotti (ITA 27) - 46 pts
6. Antonis Tsimpoukelis/Vasileios Kontakis (GRE 4) - 49 pts
7. Simon Diesch/Patrick Aggeler (GER 11) – 51 pts
8. Balder Tobiasen/Magnus Jung Johansen (DEN-164) – 52 pts
9. Giacomo Ferrari/Giulio Calabro (ITA-757) – 53 pts
10. Fabrice Rigot/Guillaume Rigot (SUI 2) - 63 pts
Top performance today from Jess Lavery/Megan Brickwood (GBR), who claimed their first ever race honours at an international event. Consistency proved elusive for some, but the pair read the conditions well to take a determined lead and start to close the points gap to the leading French team and defending Women’s Junior World Champions, Maelenn Lemaitre/Aloise Retornaz.
Lemaitre/Retornaz have the Junior World title as an important target for their season and going into the day had made their goal look easy, with four back to back victories secured so far, leaving the of the fleet behind. But today proved that the French are not going to have this Championship all their own way.
The British have been partnered since September 2012 and are one of many talented British 470 women’s teams, an environment which motivates Lavery/Brickwoon to success, as Brickwood explained. 'There is so much competitiveness with the UK that you are always striving to be better than the other Brits in a healthy competitive way, because there is always that standard, which is really good.'
Lavery continued, 'When you are training in the UK, you get the opportunity to train with some of the best in the world. Sail for Gold was a great opportunity for us, particularly to race against Sophie Weguelin/Eilidth Mcintyre. Yes, we race against them at World Cup events, but they are in a different league and at the front.'
'It is really tricky racing here and lots of teams are pushing in some really good results and average results, but it is really high quality racing and there is a lot of competition,' Brickwood concluded.
Israel’s Tsuf Zamet/Saar Tamir move up to third on the leaderboard, 14 points behind the British from their consistent 6,4,4, scoreline.
Arch rivals to the French, Anna Kyselova/Anastasiya Krasko from the Ukraine have not had the best of starts to their Championship, with two penalty scores pushing them towards the back of the leaderboard. Today, no risky racing from their pair as they won race 5, following up with 10th and third to place themselves on an upwards march back to the podium places.
The race 3 win went to Maria Bozi/Anna Passa from Greece who move themselves into the top 10.
The name Benedetta di Salle is well known in 420 circles. Her credits include bronze at the 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds, gold at the 2012 ISAF Youth Worlds, gold at the 2013 420 Junior Europeans, to name just a few recent championship titles. Her successes were from a longstanding partnership with helm Ilaria Paternoster, but at the end of last year the partnership was forced apart as they were too light to optimize their team performance on the senior circuit, which left the petite di Salle with no choice but to become a helm. After two months trying to identify a suitable partner she linked up with 15 year old Alessandra Dubbini, and they are currently the top Italian women's team in ninth overall.
'She is tall, focused and fast in the boat so I am really happy with my crew,' said di Salle. 'My goal is to be in the top 10 and so far we have made it. But, I have no expectations as we are so new to the boat and I will be happy with whatever we do.' 470 Women - Top 10 Overall
1. Maelenn Lemaitre/Aloise Retornaz (FRA 39) – 12 pts
2. Jess Lavery/Megan Brickwood (GBR 838) - 23 pts
3. Tsuf Zamet/Saar Tamir (ISR-77) – 37 pts
4. Yahel Wallach/Stav Brokman (ISR 12) - 41 pts
5. Fabienne Oster/Alexandra Lauber (GER 95) - 45 pts
6. Anna Kyselova/Anastasiya Krasko (UKR) – 47 pts
7. Noya Bar-Am/Rimon Shoshan (ISR-11) – 47 pts
8. Greta Markfort/Anna Markfort (GER-26) – 47 pts
9. Benedetta di Salle/Alessandra Dubbini (ITA-74) – 52 pts
10. Maria Bozi/Anna Passa (GRE-13) – 56 pts
Two races are scheduled for each fleet on Tuesday 1 July 2014. The 470 Women race first with a warning signal scheduled for 1400 hours, followed by the 470 Men. Event website