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3 August 2009, 12:13 pm
Britain And New Zealand Early Leaders At 420 Worlds
Phil Sparks and Ben Gratton of Great Britain
Phil Sparks and Ben Gratton of Great Britain hold the overall lead in the Boys fleet

420 World Championships 2009
Riva del Garda, Italy

Recent Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship gold medallist Phil SPARKS and Ben GRATTON of Great Britain and New Zealand pairing Alexandra MALONEY and Bianca BARBARICH-BACHER top the standings after day two at the 420 Worlds on Lake Garda.
The second day of the qualifiers dawned with some doubts on the part of the Race Committee about the prospects for the day. Cloud is ominous for generating the Ora, without the heat to cause the air to rise and the southerly to kick in as usual around midday. So, wishing, at all costs, to avoid 'chasing the wind', involving many mark lifts in very deep water with the likelihood that the time taken would cancel out any benefit, the Race Committee determined on an initial one hour postponement and then to put the Worlds fleet on the water, with a view to completing three races in the North East of the Lake, by using the northerly Perler wind. If successful the ladies' fleet would then be launched.

The plan worked. The remaining three Worlds' qualifying races were held with wind speeds of 11 to 15 knots (more wind than those on shore in Riva in the northwest corner of Garda could see). The Ladies duly launched ready for starts around 15:00. All their groups completed races four and five, but it was decided not to attempt the final race, So, qualifier race six for the Ladies' will be held on Sunday morning at 08:30 before the finals start, Ora willing, after midday.

Following an 11th at the end of day Phil SPARKS and Ben GRATTON (GBR), the 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champions, had to reassert themselves and did so resoundingly in races four and five with two bullets. But it had to be race six that went for the discard that then kicked in, with only a 23rd ('we were shafted', we are sure we heard muttered as the Brits came off the water!). Nevertheless, SPARKS and GRATTON held their lead from the qualifiers into the gold fleet by one point.

SPARKS said afterwards, "It was nice, but different today. It was not the normal starting. You had to go to the edges. Pre-start routine was important….looking around".

Francesco FALCETELLI and Gabriele FRANCIOLINI (ITA), in spite of a similar disaster in the second race (also discarded) have held their second overall overnight and go into the finals in second on 20 points. On 30 points, after a couple in the top threes, jumped from 11th overnight to third overall at the end of the day, a point ahead of Francisco LARDIES and Finn DRUMMOND (NZL), who were in turn a couple of points ahead of the previous overnight leaders, Nicolò BRIANTE and Giacomo FOSSATI (ITA).

On the Ladies' course, Alexandra MALONEY and Bianca BARBARICH-BACHER (NZL) showed that they can handle the lighter, trickier north wind and extended their lead to eight points in to the last of the qualifying races now to be held on Sunday morning. Camilla MARINO and Claudia SORICELLI (ITA) had a first race of the day that they may hope to discard on Sunday, but ended with a bullet on 20 points. Roberta CAPUTO and Benedetta BARBIERO (ITA) pulled up from fifth overnight, while Lisa SCHWEIGERT and Lisa FRISCH (GER) were up to fourth from seventh overnight and the Spanish Women's Champions, Carlota MASSANA and Ana LOBO were up to fifth from eighth. In spite of another second in race four, 2009 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship winning skipper Martine SOFFIATTI and her new crew for this event Daniela ADLER (BRA) will also be looking forward to the discard kicking in and an OCS in race five being obliterated from memory!

MALONEY and BARBARICH-BACHER, fourth at the recent Volvo ISAF Youth Worlds, are leading here over the first two day. "Love it, this place is fantastic", exclaimed MALONEY, "the Ora is great, it is fun to sail…..why we do sailing!". Speaking of today she said, "It was a hard day, hanging out, waiting, being ready to go ….but then we did at last and the racing was good". For BARBARICH-BACHER, this is "my fourth 420 Worlds! It has been really good to see the other competitors from the ISAF Youth Worlds".

This was a great day for the Lisas of Germany, Lisa SCHWEIGERT and Lisa FRISCH. Said one Lisa (or maybe the other!), "It was very difficult wind today, very shifty…..our favourite wind is the Ora [not for today though]. Garda is great for us from Munich, we come often to train. Our final qualification regatta was here, which was very good, and then we had a good Kieler Woche this year" [they did, they were second women, in eighth overall - Ed].

Saturday is a Lay Day. The Worlds sailors, off the water earlier than the Ladies, were well ready to enjoy the Friday night party, and it seemed that the Ladies too were pleased with their labours on the water and ready for some fun on land too! Certainly the Lay Day dawned and there was a certain stillness around the old squares of Riva…..and silence in the boat park!

Boy's Results - click here
Girl's Results - click here
Tony Mapplebeck
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