Published on Jul 31, 2015
Welcome to the final day of the 2015 Junior World Championships in Thessaloniki, Greece. The podium battle was set with the leaderboard top 10 in the women and men ready for the Medal Race, and the rest of the teams facing off in a “last race”. An intense day, where a single mistake could cost a podium place. The double points medal race was the last chance to make the break.
Lavery and Brickwood executed their plan masterfully, leapfrogging Chile’s Horwitz and Middleton to seize bronze. Italy’s Di Salle and Dubbini wrapped up World Championship victory yesterday, but still proved their edge over the fleet by winning the medal race. Greece’s Bozi and Klonaridou raced a safe 7th place result, to hold onto 2nd place and claim silver medals.
In the men’s fleet, France’s Pirouelle and Sipan went into the medal race with a significant points advantage, over Germany’s Winkel and Cipra. Disaster struck, as they faced a problem with their spinnaker in the last downwind, dropping back to finish in last place. Fortunately for them, the Germans 4th place finish was not enough to take the advantage. So Gold to France, silver to Germany. Italy’s Ferrari and Calabro knew they needed to be smarter and tougher than their Spanish rivals to claim bronze. Their perfect race strategy gave them a 2nd place finish, to overtake the Spanish and claim the final spot on the podium.
At the Closing Ceremony, teams enjoyed an evening of celebrations and massive applause for the podium finishers.
Action now moves to Bulgaria for the 2015 470 Junior European Championships next week.
Even Alinghi skipper Morgan Larson could barely comprehend his team’s level of dominance in today’s racing at the Bullitt GC32 Sailing Cup Kiel. Six wins from eight races was unthinkable in such tricky and variable conditions in the narrow confines of the Kieler Fjord.
“It was one of those magical days where we did nearly everything right,” said Larson. “The conditions were hard on all the teams. Even when we weren’t doing so good, the guys kept on pushing for every boat length here and there on the race course. We probably had some extra luck with some of the bigger wind shifts, but we also put ourselves in some good spots, and the team’s boathandling was superb in the tight situations.”
Alinghi’s performance was the perfect way to bounce back from their capsize the previous day, from which both crew and boat emerged unscathed. The only two teams to take a race off the Swiss were Team ENGIE winning race 4, and Spindrift racing fended off Alinghi in the 8th and final race of a very long day on the water. Although there is no doubt who tops the leaderboard in Kiel, the points are very tight between 2nd and 4th place.
Yann Guichard’s victory in race 8 puts Spindrift just a point in front of Sultanate of Oman, with Team ENGIE 4 points further back. “It was good for our team spirit to win the last race, it was a tricky day for everybody,” said Spindrift’s skipper. “The race course is small, narrow, and very challenging, especially with the GC32. I did a few bad starts earlier on, but then we started to race well. For sure we are a better team at the end of the day than we were at the beginning.”
Racing on such short courses in such fast boats is a steep learning curve for everyone here, but none more so than for offshore racer Seb Rogues helming Team ENGIE. “We were very pleased to win a race today. The starts are difficult for me. I’m used to racing for 25 days, not just for 15 minutes! But I am here in the GC32 to learn. It’s perfect for me, to learn how to sail and race multihulls for the first time. We are pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone, and we are enjoying it.”
The forecast for Saturday is much lighter, so there may not be many opportunities to wow the crowds with the hydrofoiling of today. Guichard believes light winds will make the field more open. “It will be harder for one boat to dominate,” he said. The regatta leader was the first to agree with Guichard’s assessment. “Light winds have been one of our weaknesses at past events,” said Larson. “We’ve watched video of some of the good teams in the light airs, like ARMIN STROM and Sultanate of Oman, and hopefully it will be our turn to be fast in the light tomorrow!”
Saturday’s racing for the Bullitt GC32 Sailing Cup Kiel is scheduled for a 11am (local time) start.