It was another day of tough conditions in Nieuwpoort, Belgium, with a very confused sea state and 18-22 knots on the 420 race course. The wind direction had changed 90 degrees compared to yesterday creating bigger waves.
The more experienced and heavier 420 sailors thrived in the wind and waves, although many teams fell victim to the challenging conditions, including quite a few visits into the chilly North Sea. Amongst the many were Austria's Anna Scharnagl/Raphale Hussl who seemed on a mission to win points for multiple capsizes. "We capsized more than 20 times,"
laughed Hussl. "We are too light and the conditions were too much for us. We don't even have 110 kilos together and we don't have these conditions in Austria, so it is hard with the waves."
Their capsizes in race 4 turned into a work of art, with their spinnaker wrapped around the mast, forestay, spreaders and shrouds.
All change at the top of the leaderboard, but another strong performance from Australia. Both Aussie teams got a cracking start in race 3 out of the port end of the line, which gave them the advantage for the rest of the race. The more experienced ISAF Youth Worlds medallists Angus Galloway and Alexander Gough pounced on their advantage more than their teammates to take a race win.
However, the Aussies' place at the head of the leaderboard has been shortlived as the new series leaders after today's two races are Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan (FRA) who finished 1,5, leaving Galloway/Gough one point adrift in second overall. A 2,1 scorecard for Dutch brothers Floris and Laurens van de Werken moves them up to third, which they partly credit to brotherly friendship, "It is really good because you can get cross with each other, but most of the time within 10 minutes it is OK again."
Great Britain's Harry Derbyshire and Tom Lovesey took a surprise race 4 outcome, as they weaved their way through a medley of capsizing boats to take the gun. Capsizing boats were not the only reason for their race win, as Derbyshire explained, "We were doing alright off the starboard end of the start line and then we gunned it as hard as we could out to the right, got a header tacked back and then tacked again, rounded and then by the next windward rounding we were in fourth."
The Greeks' and Australians' capsizes gave some extra help to the Brits, along with more mess ups from other teams in the next downwind, as Derbyshire finalized, "we just sailed over them and got into first. We needed a good result, we haven't been doing that great. We are very pleased."
A best ever race finish for this team who ended their day with massive smiles and up into 30th overall.
Flying past men's teams, who had played the safe option of not hoisting their spinnakers, was a moment of delight for the British women's team of Jessica Lavery and Georgie Mothersele whose prowess delivered them two 8th places to consolidate their scoreline to finish thirteenth overall.
But their French rivals from the ISAF Youth Worlds Marlenn Lemaitre/Aloise Retornaz have leapfrogged them with a 7,2 posting today to take over pole position as the the top women's team in 12th overall on the open leaderboard. Third women's team are another Youth Worlds pair of Giulia Lantier/Martha Faraguna who end the day 22nd overall on the leaderboard.
Major disappointment for Portugal's Goncalo Pinho and Miguel Hipolito who went into today in 10th overall but did not finish race 3 and followed up with an OCS penalty in race 4 which saw them plummet to 61st .Tomorrow is the final day of qualification, after which the fleet will be split into gold, silver and bronze fleets for the final series, and the Portuguese have their work cut out and are well short of qualifying in their normal gold fleet environment.
Also moving down are Alexander and George Kavas (GRE), 2011 420 European Championships, who suffered trapeze wire failure giving them a DNF in race 4, and a subsequent fall from 7th overall yesterday to 29th today. The discard will come into play tomorrow, so they will inevitably head back to the top, but have no room for another disaster in their scoreline if they want to achieve their objective of securing two 420 Championship titles this year.
World class coach Jim Saltonstall was again on venue giving dedicated coaching support to the 420 fleet and was pleased to report that his advice from yesterday appeared to be implemented out on the water today, as he explained, "Race strategy wise, with the wind more from the south-west today and wind and tide together, it paid to be starting out of the port end of the line and go left up the beat so as to cheat the tide. Those who managed to nail the port end at start time were the leaders."
Saltonstall also recognized the achievements of some of the mid-fleet boats, "It was really encouraging to see teams from countries like Turkey, Israel, Singapore and Croatia showing really positive attitude on the race course and great potential for the future. It is really important that teams like this have a continual training programme to keep on improving,"
before adding, "I was well impressed."
Top 10 after 4 Races
1. Guillaume Pirouelle/Valentin Sipan (FRA) - 20 pts
2. Angus Galloway/lexander Gough (AUS) - 20 pts
3. Floris van de Werken/Laurens van de Werken (NED) - 20 pts
4. Jordi Xammar/Alex Claville (ESP) - 20 pts
5. Gal Cohen/Hadar Moran (ISR) - 20 pts
6. Tim Gratton/Ed Riley (GBR) - 20 pts
7. Craig Dibb/Charlie Cox (GBR) - 20 pts
8. Tim Fischer/Sebastian Ziegler (GER) - 20 pts
9. Guido D'Errico/Gabriele Minelli (ITA) - 20 pts
10. Peter Fldesi/Daniel Borsos (HUN) - 20 pts