Waterhouse - Darmanin Take Gold In Thriller
In a somewhat steady 6-8 knot north-easterly breeze, the Nacra 17 Gold went to Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS) in a thrilling medal race batttle between the top 4 in the regatta.
Waterhouse and Lisa ended Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti’s (ITA) winning streak in the Nacra 17 after an intriguing Medal Race – which was not without controversy before the start gun even sounded.
Ahead of the race, Nathan and Haylee Outteridge (AUS) protested the two Italian boats under class rule C.8.1(a), which is all related to foil maintenance. The Jury found that, “the outermost surfaces of the daggerboards of ITA 26 and ITA 5 were sanded” but they concluded that “the essential shape, characteristics and function of the original component were not affected,” therefore the Italian boats did not break a class rule.
Speaking after racing, Waterhouse said, “We feel they do things outside of what you should, but at the end of the day it’s up to the jury. As long as we know we can do the same thing, we’re happy to chase in that way.”
Tita and Banti took a five-point advantage over Waterhouse and Darmanin into the Medal Race, with Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari (ITA) and Nathan and Haylee Outteridge (AUS) in contention in third and fourth.
The two Australian and Italian teams fought hard from the off and a clean start enabled all of the medal contenders to hit the front of the fleet. Tactical duels unfolded as Tita and Banti initially did enough to hold on to gold. However, a lapse of concentration cost them dearly. “On the first downwind we gybed a bit short to the layline and we had to gybe again,” explained Tita. “The other teams had more pressure and they were able to round the mark and that cost us a lot.”
Waterhouse and Darmanin were in control at the front of the pack and the other Italian and Australian teams moved ahead in second and third, pushing Tita and Banti to fourth. This was not enough for gold and they ran out of time to catch up.
Waterhouse and Darmanin crossed the line to take gold with Tita and Banti claiming silver and Bissaro and Frascari bronze.
“We had a game plan before the start,” said Waterhouse. “We knew the left was going to be very strong, so we wanted to lead that way off the pin end. It was tight. We had to do a lot of tactical battling to keep the Italians off behind us. Lisa did a great job by keeping us in the right spot and I made the right tactical decisions.”
Darmanin added, “The Italians have definitely had an edge over the last year and we’ve been chasing to be better everyday. They showed at the beginning of the week that they’re quick and we know we have to go home and work hard to be just as quick or quicker. To have two Italians on the podium goes to show they’re doing well but Nathan and Haylee were fourth. The Aussie squad is chasing them.”
Click here to watch the Nacra 17 Medal Race – https://youtu.be/1erYt_wIbuU
James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) took the 49er gold medal in style by winning the Medal Race. The Brits were locked on 52 points with Poland’s Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski, in front of Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn (NZL) on 56.
As the Brits thrived, the Kiwis and Polish team dropped to the back of the fleet, finishing eighth and tenth to claim silver and bronze respectively.
“We’re over the moon,” commented Sterritt. “It’s been an up and down week. Everything seemed to go our way in that race. We found our groove and were comfortable with our set-up. We were really calm and know we can win when we’re under pressure. We kept it controlled. James did an awesome job with the tricky decisions.”
Click here for the full 49er Medal Race – https://youtu.be/BNHrCvKG-kg.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) had gold wrapped up ahead of the Medal Race so they sailed without pressure, finishing fourth.
On their victory, Kunze commented, “This is the first time we’ve won by this amount and we’re really happy because it’s at the Olympic venue. We achieved our goal for this event. We felt some stress in Aarhus at the Worlds but we managed to synchronise as a team and, more than that, we’ve sailed well in these tricky winds in Enoshima.”
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) came through in second in the Medal Race to take silver.
Ahead of the race, Helene Naess and Marie Ronningen (NOR) received a ten-point discretionary penalty following a Technical Committee protest. The Norwegians won the Medal Race and had they not received the penalty, they would have completed the podium. That honour fell to Sweden’s Klara Wester and Rebecca Netzler.
Watch the 49erFX Medal Race here – https://youtu.be/CTj030S_T3I
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