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30 July 2007, 03:06 pm
Gold For Croatia
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470 Junior World Championship 2007
Bourgas, Bulgaria

Sime FANTELA and Igor MARENIC (CRO) won the 2007 Junior 470 World Cham[pionship title in Bourgas, Bulgaria. The Croatians beat off the challenge of Georgios VASILAS and Evangelos MITAKIS (GRE) to take the title, whilst in 23rd overall, Anthi ECONOMOU and Olga TSIGARIDI (GRE) where the top women finishers.
The morning of the Medal Race, there was a meeting for the top ten boats, the Jury proceeded to show an animated demonstration of how the infringements and the penalties were to be done. Everybody had a good laugh, but it was a very effective way of showing how to not be disqualified from the Medal Race.

The gold and sliver fleet were out at 12:00 hours to complete their final race. Wind direction due east. The conditions were right on the 10 knot pumping minimum and both starts were off quite cleanly. The Swiss girls who were dropped to the silver fleet after the qualifying rounds, secured their lead a few days ago and stayed there. After the top ten changed so much yesterday, the some sailors in the gold fleet were left spinning and wondering what happened. Guy ABADI and Yuval BOTZER (ISR) ended up finishing 11th with 142 points. Their closest rival were Berenger BALAZEAU and Mathieu FOUNT (FRA) on 160 points. ECONOMOU and TSIGARIDI took out the top women's spot in 23rd position, capping the event off with a second place finish. They have already locked in the fact that they are attending the 470 Worlds in Melbourne, looking to seal a place to qualify their country for the 2008 Olympic Games.

So onto the Medal Race. FANTELA and MARENIC had a lead of 14 points on Artem BASALKIN and Mxim SHEREMETY (RUS). In third place were VASILAS and MITAKIS, who were six points behind the Russians. The conditions had not changed at all from the previous races, still a constant 10 knots. In Bourgas there is a large jetty that sticks out towards the race area maybe 200 meters. This was a perfect vantage point for the national television cameras, and all the spectators to view the Medal Race. There were people crammed all over the beach and the eagerly looking onward.

At 14:00 hours the flag sequence was underway. Coach boats were littered every where behind the start area with the top ten boats jockeying for a premium position. And at the start it was the Polish crew that tacked off to the right early and hit the corner, They gained about ten boatlengths and continued to watch the tacking duel from in front. There was a lot of covering and strategic placement. The pack changed positions constantly throughout the next two up winds. The second boat to make the jump was Patrick FOLLMANN and Nico LUTZ (GER).

FANTELA and MARENIC just had to stay in the top half of the fleet. With no real problems they just had to finish the race unscathed and with no penalties. But as they started FANTELA heard a twanging sound. He explained, 'The trapeze wire had started fraying and strands of the wire were hanging out of the handle. I told Igor not to pump up wind, so we were slower from the start on port tack.'

However the Croatians managed to keep to a fifth place, enough to give them the 2007 Junior World Championship. FANTELA and MARENIC said: 'We come from a really small club which is just like a shed, our families are the race organizers, the coaches, the logistics people, They are everything we rely on and with out this support we couldn't be here today. And this being our last year in the juniors, makes the feeling even more sweet.'

VASILAS and MITAKIS came second, to BASALKIN and SHEREMETY in third place.

International 470 Class Association (As Amended By ISAF), Image: The start of the Medal Race:© 470 Junior World Championship
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