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13 June 2013, 08:52 am
Australians And Brits Hold 470 Yellow Jerseys
Agnieszka Skrzypulec.Natalia Wojcik (POL) and Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT)
Lara Vadlau and Jolanta Ogar (AUT) hunt down Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Natalia Wojcik (POL)

Open 470 European Championships
Formia, Italy

The lighter breeze played more of a role on the finishing positions of teams on race day three at the 470 European Championships, with some new players popping out at the top of the fleet.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) continue to lead the Men's 470 Gold fleet with two top 10 results, with Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield (GBR) in second and Panagotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) in third.

In the Women's 470, a win in race 8 hands the lead to defending European Champion Sophie Weguelin and crew Eilidh Mcintyre from Great Britain, with Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA) moving up into second and the Olympic Champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) dropping from first to third.

Men's 470

With the Gold and Silver fleets determined after the second day of, it was onto the three-day Final Stage of six races.

Up first on the track were the gold fleet and there was no change in the order of the leaderboard top three after racing with Belcher and Ryan, Patience and Glanfield and Mantis and Kagialis in 1,2,3 order.

Belcher and Ryan knocked out the most consistent results of the fleet and hold firm in their yellow jerseys and end the day with a 5 point margin over Great Britain's Patience and Glanfield who scored an 11,4.

There was a change in fortune and form for Sweden's Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom. They only just made the gold fleet coming in as the last of 36 boats to advance through on a tie break and on the third day they were leading the best 470 sailors in the world round the race track to claim a win in the opening race of the Final Stage.

The early race advantage went to the young French pair of Vianney Guilbaud and Vincent Guillarm, who led the gold fleet up to the windward mark, before the Swedes accelerated downwind taking advantage of the slower speed of the French and holding on to the finish. Austria's David Bargehr and Lukas Mähr pushed hard but just couldn't catch the Swedes, but were more than satisfied with their second place finish ahead of the French in third.

Onto the day's second race, and over to Greece's Mantis and Kagialis who took the lead from start to finish to claim the win, nicely balancing out their 16th place finish in the first race. The pair missed out on selection to the 2012 Olympics by the narrowest of margins, but are back and fighting for Rio 2016.

"The first race was a bit tricky with lighter winds and all the boats went up the right side and a big shift was from the left and we were on the wrong side - it can happen," explained Kagialis. "In the second race we had a clearer picture about the wind conditions and were very fast so won the race. We had control from the start of the race and it was a clear win."

Thirty five teams are racing in the 470 Men silver fleet, which is being led by Slovenia's Andraz Gulic/Mitja Nevecny (SLO).

470 Men Overall
1. Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) - 12 pts
2. Luke Patience/Jonathan Glanfield (GBR) - 17 pts
3. Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) - 19 pts
4. Sime Fantela/Igor Marenic (CRO) - 20 pts
5. David Bargehr/Lukas Mähr (AUT) - 27 pts
6. Yannick Brauchli/Romuald Hausser (SUI) - 28 pts
7. Lucas Calabrese/Juan De La Fuente (ARG) - 33 pts
8. Sofian Bouvet/Jérémie Mion (FRA) - 34 pts
9. Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Willcox (NZL) - 37 pts
10. Matthias Schmid/Florian Reichstaedter (AUT) - 40 pts

Women's 470

All change at the front of the Women's 470 fleet with Aleh and Powrie scoring a 12,7 to lose their yellow jersey, which now moves onto the shoulders of defending European Champion Sophie Weguelin and crew Eilidh Mcintyre (GBR).

The British pair have moved up to the top of the leaderboard, with a win from race 6 and the discard kicking in to knock out their 17th place in race 5 - and get a step closer to chasing Weguelin's second European Championship victory.

Olympic Champions Aleh and Powrie seem to still be struggling to find their pace after a second day spent playing catch up with the front of the pack after a 12,7 scoreline. As Aleh acknowledged on the second day, there is not much difference between winning and being off the pace and the pair will be triple-checking the boat set up of their new steed "Gonzo" to tweak settings ahead of the fourth day.

A battle to the end in the day's opening race 5 today, as two former team mates from Poland and Austria went head to head. The advantage ultimately went to Poland's Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Natalia Wojcik who managed to out sail the challenge from Skrzypulec's former crew Jola Ogar, who is now sailing for Austria with Lara Vadlau.

Delighted with their success today, 2012 Olympic helm Skrzypulec is looking for similar form for Thursdays two races, saying, "It was amazing. It was very tough and we had to fight until the last mark with the Austrian team - with my former crew. We were the only two boats and were fighting with each and finally we won so I am extremely happy with that. This is the first race we have won with my new crew, so this is the first day of our wins. We hope for the best tomorrow."

Skrzypulec and Wojcik partnered up at the beginning of 2013, with Wojcik stepping over from an RS:X campaign to the 470. They went on to have a first leg in the second race and were top five in the first upwind, but lost pace downwind, an area they readily acknowledge as a weak point to finish in ninth. The Austrians claimed another second place to move up the leaderboard to fourth overall.

Commenting on the on-water rivalry with her former helm, Ogar said, "We are still really good friends and nothing has changed. I think everything is going in a good direction and Aga feels better with her new crew, because she is more calm and I think changing crew was a really good idea."

Reflecting on teaming up with Vadlau, Ogar continued, "We have a really good understanding of each other and and we have the same goals and character. We are fighters. It is great and fun to sail with Lara." Ogar laughed as she explained the team's goals, saying, "Lara - of course Lara wants to win everything that is possible. But here we want to be in the Medal Race and be really close to a medal position and hopefully fighting for a medal."

The strong racing from the Austrian and Polish teams has significantly closed their points margin to the top three on the leaderboard. A few new faces move up to the top 10 with Cassandre Blandin/Charlotte Mery De Bellegarde (FRA), Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA) and Alisa Kirilyuk/Liudmila Dmitrieva (RUS) all claiming a top 5 result and aided by the race discard which kicked in for the fleet after race 5.

470 Women - Top 10 Overall
1. Sophie Weguelin/Eilidh Mcintyre (GBR) - 11 pts
2. Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) - 12 pts
3. Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) - 16 pts
4. Lara Vadlau/Jolanta Ogar (AUT) - 22 pts
5. Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Natalia Wojcik (POL) - 25 pts
6. Annina Wagner/Elisabeth Panuschka (GER) - 28 pts
7. Cassandre Blandin/Charlotte Mery De Bellegarde (FRA) - 39 pts
8. Anne Haeger/Briana Provancha (USA) - 47 pts
9. Afrodite Kyranakou/Anneloes Van Veen (NED) - 55 pts
10. Alisa Kirilyuk/Liudmila Dmitrieva (RUS)

Two races are scheduled for all fleets on Thursday 13 June, with racing for the 470 Women scheduled to get underway at 13:00 hours, the 470 Men Gold fleet at 13:10 and 470 Men Silver fleet at 13:20 hours.

The 470 European Championships is open to all nations, but only teams from Europe are eligible to be awarded the European Championship title and medals. Open European Championship prizes will also be awarded. With four series races and the Medal Race still to go, all is still wide open in both the 470 Men and 470 Women fleets

470 European Championships Website

Luissa Smith (As Amended by ISAF)
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