420 Open, Riccardo SEPE/Tommaso IACCHIA
420/470 Junior European Championships 2018 Sesimbra, Portugal
It was a totally different weather pattern that greeted the 396 sailors, with a tricky, shifty and unpredictable breeze delivering the most brutal race track challenge of the Championship so far.
Two races for each of the 420 Open, 420 U17, 470 Men and 470 Women with rollercoaster scores unseating some teams as they struggled to find their groove in the change of conditions.
Racing continues on Tuesday 10 July, with a scheduled start time of 1400 hours and two races for all fleets. In the 470 Men and Women, Tuesday's two races will decide the top ten teams advancing to Wednesday's medal race, with the rest of the fleet contesting a final race 12.
First day of the six race gold fleet finals, with the Championships' top 49 teams now facing each other. The experienced partnership of Enzo Balanger/Gaultier Tallieu Gueydan (FRA) move up to take the lead, with Spain's Martín Wizner Pérez-Lafuente/Pedro Ameneiro Amezaga just 4 points behind. These two hold a safety net of 17 points over the next team, Niamh Harper/Ross Thompson (GBR) in third.
"Today it was very windy and it was a good day for us, with a 4th and 3rd," said Tallieu Gueydan. "We like these conditions and in France we train a lot with strong wind. It was very shifty, but we are very fast downwind. Going forwards, we will just sail like today and keep it simple."
With four races to go over the next two days, and both the French and Spanish holding low discard scores compared to the rest of the chasing back, they have plenty of room to manoeuvre and consolidate their positions.
Day by day France's Hugo Le Clech/Zachary Le Bris have been improving their pace, outshining the gold fleet today with scores of 1,2 to move up to 8th overall.
Also in the 420 Open gold fleet, Clara Olive/Solenza Mariani (ITA) keep their place as top women in 14th overall, followed by and Ariadni-Paraskevi Spanaki/Myrto Papadopoulou in 21st place, and Michelle Lahrkamp/Gabriella Del Bello (USA) in 23rd.
Switzerland's Florian Geissbuehler/Livio Erni sit atop the 49 boat silver fleet from scores of 2,1.
420 Open - Results after 8 Races
1. Enzo BALANGER/Gaultier TALLIEU GUEYDAN (FRA 56030) - 17 pts
2. Martín WIZNER PÉREZ-LAFUENTE/Pedro AMENEIRO AMEZAGA (ESP 55163) - 19 pts
3. Niamh HARPER/Ross THOMPSON (GBR 56106) - 36 pts
4. Gabriele ROMEO/Giulio TAMBURINI (ITA 56045) - 42 pts
5. Riccardo SEPE/Tommaso IACCHIA (ITA 56031) - 43 pts
6. Florian BÜSCHER/Maximilian BÜSCHER (GER 56285) - 46 pts
7. Pablo RUIZ PONCE/Miguel MARTÍNEZ-FORTÚN GROIZARD (ESP 56471) - 52 pts
8. Hugo LE CLECH/Zachary LE BRIS (FRA 55985) - 54 pts
9. Amit BILIA/Guy SASSON (ISR 56460) - 64 pts
10. Tommaso CILLI/Bruno MANTERO (ITA 56570) - 69 pts
Australia and the USA now control the 420 U17 top three, headlined by Cole Tapper/Tyler Creevy (AUS), who reclaim the top spot they had on day 2. Team mates Ryan Littlechild/Jack Ferguson (AUS) move up to 2nd, with the USA's Oliver Hurwitz/Ethan Froelich gaining five places to end the day in third overall from a scorecard of 7,2.
Making their debut at a 420 Championship, Hurwitz/Froelich's leaderboard promotion was aided by a stylish port tack of the fleet off the race 8 start line, as Hurwitz explained.
"Off the start, we were about 5th and crossed the fleet immediately and kept going to the right. We saw a lot more pressure there and it had been paying earlier in the day, and as soon as we got there we got a huge header, tacked on that and then were already crossing everybody on the left side because we were pretty much furthest left. And from that point on we were in 2nd.
"We were trying to stay in the pressure, and it really worked," continued Hurwitz. "There was really a great difference on different sides of the course, and my crew was always looking out of the boat and making sure we were always in the pressure, otherwise you would be going extremely, extremely slow."
The day's best performance award goes to Germany's Florian Krauss/Jakob Lanzinger who scored 3 and then won race 8 with a massive margin, to leap up to 12th overall.
Resilience is key in sailing, and misfortune again hit overnight leaders Jakub Go??biowski/Filip Szmit from Poland just as they were leading race 8.
"In the second race we were first after the upwind, but we ripped our spinnaker," explained Szmit. "We don't know how it happened and we couldn't do anything."
The pair kept focused, but were forced to race two downwind legs with no spinnaker, as other teams just sailed on past. In race 2 of the series a broken rudder, at the point they were placed 2nd, forced them to retire. When everything goes right, the pair is phenomenally good.
"We have had really bad luck in this Championship, so we will just try our best," continued Szmit. "It is really hard now, and we need to concentrate and focus to check every day that our equipment is OK, and try to get back in the lead tomorrow."
"We are really fast and our sailing is really clever, because we control our fleet, and we find the shifts and stronger wind," added Szmit. "Even if in the first upwind we are about 10 at the mark, after the downwind we can be up in 5, and when the wind is strong we are really fast."
In the women's line-up, Greece's Melina Pappa/Maria Tsamopoulou hold firm as top placed women in 6th overall, with Poland's Zofia Korsak/Karolina Cendrowska in 19th, and Spain's Marina Garau Bosch/Blanca Cabot Sancho in 24th.
420 U17- Results after 8 Races
1. Cole TAPPER/Tyler CREEVY (AUS 56615) - 32 pts
2. Ryan LITTLECHILD/Jack FERGUSON (AUS 56448) - 37 pts
3. Oliver HURWITZ/Ethan FROELICH (USA 56266) - 47 pts
4. Jakub GO??BIOWSKI/Filip SZMIT (POL 56008) - 48 pts
5. Nikolaus CLODI/Vincent WENGER OEHN (AUT 56456) - 52.57 pts
6. Melina PAPPA/Maria TSAMOPOULOU (GRE 56340) - 55 pts
7. Odysseas SPANAKIS/Konstantinos MIXALOPOULOS (GRE 54484) - 61 pts
8. Jacobo GARCÍA GARCÍA/Antoni RIPOLL GONZÁLEZ (ESP 56656) - 64 pts
9. Haydn SEWELL/William HEATHCOTE (GBR 54483) - 76 pts
10. Vincent BAHR/Lars KLEINWÄCHTER (GER 56431) - 85 pts
Performance of the Championship so far to Marina Lefort/Lara Granier (FRA), with back to back wins propelling them up to 5th overall in the women's leader board. The pair sealed last year's Junior European silver medal and, if these, their preferred light wind conditions persist, there is every opportunity still to match or improve on that colour. But, they will need to maintain today's form.
"We had good speed, so it was easier for us today and these are the kind of conditions we like," said Lefort. "We were more open today to see the wind and shifts and understand better the wind."
"We are so happy and feeling more confident about our choices and decision making in tactics and strategy," Lefot concluded.
"It was quite hard to go into the race and stick to our plan," continued Granier about the continually changing weather conditions. "We tried not to look at the other teams and stick to our plan until the end, but it was hard to keep the mind focused. We like it when it is 12 knots and choppy waves."
Up front, Theres Dahnke/Birte Winkel (GER) continue to lead, extending their advantage to 16 points. There is only 10 points separating the teams placed 2nd to 8th and with conditions forecast to be as unpredictable for the next 2 days as they were today, there is plenty of opportunity to make gains.
Singapore's Elisa Yukie Yokoyama/Cheryl Teo ended their day on a high, with a 2nd place in race 9.
"We didn't have a great start," laughed Yokoyama, "but at the upwind mark the whole fleet compressed because the wind died and we managed to get closer to the leaders."
"Then we sailed together as a whole pack," continued Teo, "and while the leaders went to the left in the downwind, we opened up to the right with another boat. And then both of us crossed the whole fleet after we gybed."
The 'other boat' was Lefort/Granier who won the race, followed by Singapore.
"If feels good to know that we made the right tactical move. It also happened to us yesterday, we did the same thing with the same result," said Teo in reference to their 3rd place finish in race 7.
Next up for this pair is the Asian Games, 20-31 August in Jakarta, Indonesia, where they will face the continent's best 470 teams.
"The fleet there will be quite tough, particularly with the Chinese and Japanese," anticipated Yokoyama. "It is an honour to race with them and we hope we can learn as much as possible."
Reflecting on the takeaways from Sesimbra to boost their assault on the Asian Games' podium, Yokoyama said, "I guess the conditions here are very tricky, so for us it is very important to consolidate whenever we can and know when to take risks, which will be really useful in the small fleet racing of the Asian Games because every position will count."
470 Women - Results after 9 Races
1. Theres DAHNKE/Birte WINKEL (GER 20) - 27 pts
2. Yahel WALLACH/Omer BILIA (ISR 12) - 43 pts
3. Luise WANSER/Helena WANSER (GER 69) - 45 pts
4. Paola AMAR/Marine RIOU (FRA 19) - 45 pts
5. Marina LEFORT/Lara GRANIER (FRA 7) - 48 pts
6. Maria Vittoria MARCHESINI/Cecilia FEDEL (ITA 54) - 52 pts
7. Theresa LÖFFLER/Lena STÜCKL (GER 50) - 52 pts
8. Elisa Yukie YOKOYAMA/Cheryl TEO (SGP 12) - 53 pts
9. Linoy KORN/Shahar TIBI (ISR 3) - 58 pts
10. Antonina MARCINIAK/Hanna DZIK (POL 80) - 59 pts
In the 470 men, series leaders Maor Abu/Yoav Rooz (ISR) scored their discard, an 8th in race 9, but knocked out a win in the first race of the day to escalate their advantage to 10 points. The pair has virtually demolished the opposition, and it will be hard to stop them hitting their gold medal target.
The only teams realistically capable of doing so are Nitai Hasson/Tal Harari (ISR) and Balázs Gyapjas/Zsombor Gyapjas (HUN), in second and third. But the combination of points advantage Abu/Rooz hold, and the fact these three teams are mainly batting the top three finishes between them, means the likelihood of reeling in Abu/Rooz in the next 3 races is virtually impossible. But Hasson/ Harari and Gyapjas/ Gyapjas will be unfazed by that challenge and remain in fight mode to the end.
Behind the Hungarians is a 31 point gap to Jules Ducelier/Clement Michel (FRA) in 4th.
470 Men - Results after 9 Races
1. Maor ABU/Yoav ROOZ (ISR 10) - 16 pts
2. Nitai HASSON/Tal HARARI (ISR 15) - 26 pts
3. Balázs GYAPJAS/Zsombor GYAPJAS (HUN 1) - 32 pts
4. Jules DUCELIER/Clement MICHEL (FRA 81) - 63 pts
5. Maciej SAPIEJKA/Dominik JANOWCZYK (POL 32) - 65 pts
6. Alexandre DEMANGE/Aurélien BARTHELEMY (FRA 85) - 73 pts
7. Thomas PONTHIEU/Eliott MICHAL (FRA 95) - 75 pts
8. Diogo COSTA/Pedro COSTA (POR 21) - 87 pts
9. Enric NOGUERA/Fernando DÁVILA PONCE DE LEÓN (ESP 73) - 89 pts
10. Tanguy RULLEAU/Ange Loup STIMBRE (FRA 34) - 95 pts