NAIL BITING BATTLE TO END A COPA DE ESPANA
An impressive line-up of 101 teams took to the waters off Real Club Nautico de Palma, Mallorca for the eight race series held over four days, 29 October to 1 November 2016.
Six Championship title were on offer, overall men and women U19 men and women and U17 men and women, with the predominantly Spanish line-up joined by international teams from Germany and Switzerland. Teams representing nine different regional federations, a strong indication of the spread and popularity of the 420 Class across Spain.
The Championship was plagued by light wind, with postponements each days as the Race Committee waited for the thermal breeze to kick in. After an opening 5-race qualification series, the fleet was split into gold and silver for the 3 race finals stage.
Overall winners Carlos Balaguer/Nacho Balaguer went into the final race with a 15 point lead over their closest rivals, the sister pairing of Maria Cabar/Pilar Cabar. Also in the hunt for a podium finish up against the two teams of siblings were Maria Bover/Clara Llabres. The light breeze in the final race 8 favoured the girls, and whilst the Balaguer brothers seemed assured of gold going in the ultimate race, it was theirs only by a 2 point margin. The Cabar sisters dug deep, but couldn’t outpace Bover/Llarbres on the race track, finishing 6th in the final race, compared to their 3rd place finish. For Bover/Llabres that was enough to bring them on equal points with the Cabars and claim the tiebreak advantage from their better position in the final race.
Particular mention should be made of 10th placed finishers who knocked out one of the most surprising performances of the championship, Giulietta Lang and Tess Provencal. The pair finished well ahead of far more experienced teams, and with just 3 months of 420 racing to their credit won the U19 and U17 female categories, as well as the bronze medal in the overall girls’ category.
2015 Optimist World Champion, Aina Colom has partnered up with Vicky Reynés, and finished 11th overall, tied on points with Lang/Provencal. Colom’s natural talent in the Optimist is showing equally impressively in the 420.
With such a pool of talent to draw on, it will be interesting to see which Spanish teams will qualify to represent their nation at next year’s 420 World Championship in Fremantle, Australia.