Although both teams were able to hold on to their first places, strong competition threatens their positions as the championship develops.
With the knowledge that weather conditions would be unstable and the aim to complete a total of six races, and at least one needed to finalize the qualifying series, the Race Committee went out early to prepare the courses. And as the Race Committee already expected, conditions on the courses caused chaos.
It took four attempts at the first men's group to get racing going. Croatia's Sime FANTELA and Igor MARENIC, taking the left side of the course, reached the upper mark at the same time with Takaaki KAWATA and Yuugo YOSHIDA (JPN) coming from right side, with Nathan WILMOT and Malcolm PAGE (AUS) on their tail. However the unstable conditions brought the majority of the fleet to mark three together and the Race Committee had no other choice than to abandon the race.
At the fifth attempt to send the sailors to the upper mark, the race developed in a total different way. Overnight leaders MARINHO and NUNES took a major lead on the fleet to strengthen their leading position with a bullet. After first races in all groups were completed, the wind increased and stabilized, giving better conditions to get race 5 going, and finally to complete race 6.
A highlight of the day was the performance of ISAF World Sailing Rankings leaders Nicolas CHARBONNIER and Olivier BAUSSET (FRA) who managed to score a third place and two bullets. By these scores they climb from a tenth to a second overall position. CHARBONNIER has an amazing record of World Championship titles in the International 420 Class, and it looks like that after about six years of 470 sailing, he and his crew BAUSSET have seen the seen the light and are hitting their peak on the way to the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Two times 420 Class World Champions Carl EVANS and Peter BURLING (NZL) are in their debut year in the 470 and they scored a bullet in race 4 on Thursday, which brings them closer to the elite of Medal Race finalists.
Only MARINHO and NUNES are showing consistency. They enter the final series in an overall leading position, with a five point lead over CHARBONNIER and BAUSSET. Kan YAMADA and Kenichi NAKAMURA (JPN) lie third overall.
ROTHWEILER and KUSSATZ gave a little room today to Giulia CONTI and Giovanna MICOL (ITA) to close the gap at the top. The Germans crossed the finish line seventh in race 4 and eighth in race 5. By winning race 6 they held on to the overall lead.
But it is not only the Italians who form a threat to the German leadership in this event. Wakako TABATA and Naomi KURITA (JPN) discard their 12th place in race 4, and move up to third overall by a first and third position in the day's following races.
Nike KORNECKI and Vered BOUSKILA (ISR) had a good day, and with their discard of an 18th place, they climb from 16th to fourth overall.
The Final series starts on Friday. The Men's 470 fleet will be separated based on results into gold, silver and bronze fleets; the women into gold and silver fleets. On Sunday the Medal Races will take place the 2007 European Champions.
For all the news on the 470 European Championships CLICK HERE.