Greeks shine, Argentina moves to the top
Day 1 of the Nacra 17 competition was all about keeping your wits about you as the wind blew from the south, then the west, then somewhere in between. Thursday’s conditions were much more straightforward, at least in the sense that it was a very one-sided track. What is much less straightforward is how to get to the favoured spot when all 30 boats want to be going the same way. In the 6 to 8 knot breeze, Greece’s Iordanis Paschalidis and Myrto Papadopoulou found their way into 2nd place in the second race of the afternoon. A 26th in the next… maybe the 2nd had been a lucky one-off.
The final race of the afternoon, they scored their first bullet of the championship. Clearly the 2nd had been no fluke. “We really enjoyed sailing in those conditions,” grinned Paschalidis, multiple Tornado and Formula 18 World Champion. “The Nacra is not so different to other catamarans when you are not foiling. We had some good training here in the days before the competition and we had a good reading of the wind from this direction. We are going to enjoy this moment, we know we have a lot of work to do to match the others in all conditions, but it’s important to remember days like these when they happen.”
Up until the last race of the afternoon, Argentina’s Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli had been the only team to keep all their scores inside the top 10. A 15th place was not the Olympic Champions’ dream finish to the day, but their consistency across seven races gives them 23 points compared with Great Britain’s reigning World Champions on 34 points. John Gimson and Anna Burnet had the most solid day of all, with scores of 2,8,2,5. Another 4 points back are Ruggero Tita and Caterina Banti in third overall, just a point in front of arch rivals in their bid for Italian Olympic selection, Vittorio Bissaro and Maelle Frascari. Sweden’s young team, Emil Järudd and Cecilia Jonsson, were not as comfortable in today’s very different conditions and slip from the lead down to 6th overall. But they’re still just 11 points back from 2nd place, so there’s still time to make amends and continue their battle for a first ever podium finish at a major Nacra 17 championship.
Kiel confidence work FX wonders for the Germans
Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke moved further ahead in the 49erFX standings after a stunningly consistent performance on day 3 of the Forward WIP 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships in Austria.
Recently selected to represent Germany at next year’s Olympic Games, Lutz and Beucke’s victory at Kiel Week seems to have unleashed a new level of confidence upon this veteran team. Having twice narrowly missed out on Olympic selection in previous 470 and 49erFX campaigns, the knowledge that they are on their way to Tokyo is enabling them to sail with a new-found freedom.
Even after a poor start the Germans were able to work their way through the fleet by correctly spotting the layline for the windward mark while others had overtacked and sailed needless extra distance. The breeze blew quite steadily across the FX course throughout the afternoon, at about 8 to 10 knots from the north. When the right was paying, the Germans went right with the rest of the fleet. But Lutz was early to spot the fact that the right was becoming increasingly hazardous as the wind started to fade on a beautiful, sunny afternoon on Lake Attersee.
Breaking away to the left-hand side at the right time proved to be a canny move, and sent the Germans on their way to another race victory. Their tally from the day: 1,2,1. Lutz and Beucke sit on 6 points overall, while the Norwegians Helene Næess and Marie Rønningen were the top performers on the other course in the middle of the lake. They are on 11 points overall with a 9-point buffer to the first of the Swedish squad, Julia Gross and Hanna Klinga on 20 points. Just two points further back are another Swedish crew, Klara Wester and Rebecca Netzler.
If you go down to 11th, 12th and 13th place, you find three world-class teams that appear to be struggling together on almost equal points. First of this trio are former European Champions from Denmark, Ida Marie Nielsen and Marie Olsen, followed by the reigning World Champions from Spain, Tamara Echegoyen and Paula Barceló, with the 2018 and 2019 World Champions Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz just behind. Time is starting to run out for these crews if they’re to make a move on the podium. Other less experienced crews stand between the veterans and the medals.
49er OPEN: Another good day for the Fantelas
Šime and Mihovil Fantela scored a 3,1,1 from their qualifying group, moving the Croatians slightly further ahead in the overall standings. The 2018 World Champions are 3 points ahead of the fast-improving Dutch crew, Bart Lambriex and Pim van Vugt, who took 1,3,2, from their side of qualifying. The Dutch team, recently selected for Tokyo 2021, were vigorous in claiming early rights on the pin end of the start line and defending that place with pinpoint precision slow-speed boathandling. In third overall are the Italians Uberti Crivelli Visconti and Leonardo Chistè.
It was good to see David Hussl recovered sufficiently from recent illness to be back in the 49er with his helmsman Benjamin Bildstein and the Austrian team improved throughout the day to move to 11th overall. Two places further back are the Danish duo who won Kiel Week last month, Jonas Warrer and Jakob Precht. Unlike fellow Kiel winners Lutz and Beucke, the Danes seem to be struggling to adapt their winning ways to this very different kind of challenge, lake sailing in light and fluky winds.