8 Races Completed, 4 to go at 2014 420 Junior Europeans
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Two races for the 420 gold and silver fleets and three races for each of the 470 Men and 470 Women on a breezy race day four at the 420 and 470 Junior Europeans in Gdynia, Poland.
A mix of cloud, sun and squalls across the race track on a day which despite starting bright, soon saw rain and big shifts, with a breeze of around 12 knots as racing got underway building to 20 knots.
Sunday marks the penultimate day of racing, so teams will strive to consolidate positions and climb up the leaderboard.
A brief turn of fortunes after race 7 as Poland’s Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska moved up to claim the overall lead, as a 37th place finish forced series leaders until that point Hippolyte Machetti/Sidoine Dantes off pole spot.
Explaining their change of form, Dantes said, “We were at the right of the track on the second upwind leg and the wind did a 60 degree wind shift to the right and we were stuck on the left of the track.”
The French were back on form for race 8, finishing in 2nd place and swiftly regaining the Championship lead. Boosted by their silver medal and finishing as the top placed team aged 18 and under at the 420 Worlds, the French team look set for a second appearance on the podium at the Junior Europeans.
“We are really pleased with how we are performing and we have really good speed like at the 420 Worlds. The English team are doing really well here too,” before concluding, “It is a great Championship.”
Acknowledging the talent of Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska, Dantes continued, “I didn’t know their level, as during this summer we only raced against guys during the ISAF Worlds and the 420 Worlds, so this is the first time we have raced against them. They are really, really good.”
Moving into second overall, as the Polish girls team drop to fourth, are Switzerland’s Kilian Wagen/Gregoire Siegwart who finished 5th in race 7 and ended their day with a win in race 8.
Holding onto leaderboard third for the second day running after their 14,8 scorecard today are Great Britain’s Max Clapp/Joseph Burns. A 32nd place finish earlier this month at the 420 Worlds was not reflective of usual form, which includes wins at the 2013 Palamos Christmas Race and 2nd at the French Nationals in an 86-boat fleet in July 2014.
“The 420 Worlds just didn’t click for us,” said Burns. “There were some pretty non-tactical races with just one shift per beat and if we were on the wrong side of the track there was nothing we could do to get back. Everyone was the same speed at the Worlds, so it was very hard to catch up.”
Burns credits their about-turn to front of fleet racing at the Junior Europeans to good starts and shifting conditions, saying, “Our starts have now improved and it is really shifty and incredibly gusty here, so even if you do have a bad start there are definitely ways of catching up. We have found we know how to use that quite well and that has been the biggest thing.”
A crushing lesson for Ireland’s Harry Whittaker/Grattan Roberts who won the day’s opening race, but then managed to lose 22 places in the last downwind of race 8, catapulting from 3rd to 25th as they chose the wrong track downwind. Regardless, their win sees them move up to 14th overall from 24th going into the day.
The girls teams have all been explicit that they enjoy racing in the open fleet and going head to head with the boys, and for many the format is the same as their usual racing back home. So no surprise to see four girls teams in the top 10 leaderboard. Joining the 4th placed Polish team are Great Britain’s Sarah Norbury/Mari Davies in 5th, Aikaterini Tavoulari/Fotini Koutsoumpou (GRE) in 8th and Italy’s Clara Addari/Arianna Perini in 10th.
Bronze medallists at this year’s 420 Ladies World Championships, Tavoulari/Koutsoumpou are the top placed team from the Worlds competing here at the Junior Europeans.
Just four more races on Sunday and Monday to decide the 2014 420 Junior European titles. Trophies will be awarded to the overall Junior European Champion and the top placed all-girls team, with medals to the top three in each division, as well as prizes to other top placed teams.
420 - Results after 8 Races
1. Hippolyte Machetti/Sidoine Dantes (FRA-55096) - 44 pts
2. Kilian Wagen/Gregoire Siegwart (SUI-52967) – 55 pts
3. Max Clapp/Joseph Burns (GBR-55242) – 56 pts
4. Ewa Romaniuk/Katarzyna Goralska (POL-55326) - 58 pts
5. Sarah Norbury/Mari Davies (GBR-54849) - 69 pts
6. Alexandre Demange/Maxime Roux (FRA-55288) - 74 pts
7. Will Logue/Bram Brakman (USA-55175) - 77 pts
8. Aikaterini Tavoulari/Fotini Koutsoumpou (GRE-54484) - 78 pts
9. Thomas Ponthieu/Quentin Paturle (FRA-55095) – 81 pts
10. Clara Addari/Arianna Perini (ITA-55101) – 87 pts
Racing Schedule for Sunday 17 August
The 470 fleets will start racing first on Echo Course with a 1200 hours warning signal for the 470 Women who will sail 3 races, followed by the 470 Men who will sail 2 races. The 420 Gold and Silver fleets will race on Delta Course with a 1300 hours warning signal for the 420 Gold, followed by 420 Silver.
Check out the Live Race for updates from the race course throughout the day.