470 European Championships day 3.
Conditions on Course Area D for the first races of the day were tricky with the wind shifting and with seven knots, before decreasing to 4 knots as the fleets finished race 5. 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.
In a turnaround compared to yesterday's disappointments, Hannah Mills/Saskia Clark (GBR) got themselves back on track to lead race 5 from start to finish and build up a significant gap of more than one minute over the pack at the gun. The team consider that the past two days' challenges have only served to support their advancement, 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 ahead Clark emphasized, '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 Clark made her statement before the pair knew that redress had been granted for race 1, which now gives them a three point score rather than 44 points, and they will go into Tuesday's racing in fourteenth overall. A happy ending to the day.
After a postponement on the water, the fleet were then sent ashore to wait for an improvement in the breeze, before racing was abandoned for the day. The 43 boat strong 470 women are sailing as one fleet so no rush today to secure places in the gold fleet! However, with only four days of racing left and every team counting at least one double digit result, it is proving to be a high scoring regatta.
The introduction of the discard after race 5 has moved the scoreboard around a bit, but 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 overall are Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) after a sixth place in race 5.
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 5 which gave the Canadians an opening to the gold fleet and Ramsay put their success down to his crew.'My crew really liked the left on the first beat, so we started about a third down from the pin and stepped out to the left. We then rounded the bottom mark in third and made some gains up the beat and sailed a clean race the rest of the way around.'
With the results yet to be published when they came back ashore after race 6, Ramsay wasn't predicting their qualification to the gold fleet.'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.' Their wish has come true and there is definitely a new Canadian 470 talent emerging out of these two former Laser sailors.
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. 'We had two really good starts today and that made a big difference. We were able to see the course pretty well and do what we wanted to on the course and from there it was just following the wind shifts and basic tactics.'
Looking ahead to the coming days, Biehl continued, '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 470 Men's fleet is now split into Gold and Silver fleets, with an equal number of 37 teams qualifying to each fleet.
Get the latest update on the 470 Men racing - including blog, results and live tracking via the dedicated Class Page.
The charge for the 470 Men and Women European Championship titles continues tomorrow with a 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.
At the time of writing, there are a number of protests being heard.
For more info; Open Europeans website