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8 August 2013, 01:00 pm
Leaderboard Shuffle On Day 1 Of 470 Worlds Finals
Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (NZL)
Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (NZL)

470 World Championship 2013
La Rochelle, France

Some major changes in a shuffle of the leaderboard top 10, with a tricky day of racing delivering contrasting results for teams, as the wind shifted and the pressure continually changed.
An incredibly hard to read race course, with inconsistency in results keeping the scoreline close with only a few points between teams on this first day of finals. Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) briefly lost the lead to Great Britain's Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield after the day's opening race. The same story for Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA) in the 470 women, with Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie stepping up to the front after the first race, but by the end of the day, the scoreboard ended where it started with the Australians and French on top.

The 117 teams in the 470 men fleet, are split into equal 39 boat fleet sizes of gold, silver and bronze, with the women split into two fleets of 27 and 26.

470 Men
Olympic silver medallists Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield (GBR) briefly knocked Australia's Mat Belcher and Will Ryan off the top spot after claiming the race win in the day's opening race, but not for long with the Australians bouncing back with a second place to reclaim their pole position.

The British pair followed up with a 14th in Race 2 to end the first day of the final stage in fourth overall. "It's gone quite well. We're in a decent position at this stage. It's been difficult - the wind has been pretty hard and difficult to read and there have been a lot of place changes," said Glanfield. "We've just got to try and keep improving really - we've got to learn from the mistakes we've made and see if we can sail a bit better each day."

The two have achieved major successes in former partnerships, with Patience a two-time World Champion silver medallist in 2011 and 2009, and Glanfield a three time World Champion medallist, claiming silver in 2005 and 2001, and bronze in 2004.
Despite their independent pedigrees, a new combination takes time to come together, as Glanfield explained, "This is our first World Championships together so I don't feel a huge amount of pressure. We've got an expectation of where we want to come. We've worked hard up until this World Championships. We don't think about the result too much, we just keep concentrating and try to sail better than the day before, learning what we can. But we're here to try and get the best result we can."

New Zealand's Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox claimed the win in the second race of the day and moved up one leaderboard position to second overall. After nailing the start and heading to the right hand side of the track, the pair took a perfect layline to the mark and safely held the lead from the windward mark onwards.

"The wind out there was pretty hard work and a lot of top teams ended up at the back of the fleet at some stage," said Snow-Hansen. "The wind didn't have an obvious trend to it and you had to take your chances. It worked for us in the second race and we were really happy to hold of the Aussies and they sailed really well. We are just concentrating on ourselves and it is still early in the regatta, so we don't really know where the competition will come from. But there are a few teams who really struggled today more than us. After our 14th, we had to put our best foot forwards," he concluded.

In third overall and on equal points with the Kiwis are the recently crowned 470 European Champions, Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion from France. The pair made their names in the 470 Junior fleet, winning back to back victories in the Junior Worlds and Junior Europeans in both 2009 and 2010. Today a 9, 5 scoreline was enough to push them up into third.

The day was really tough with teams pushing out inconsistent results as they struggled to get a grip with the unpredictable race track. Amongst the most consistent pairs were Spain's Onan Barreiros and Juan Curbelo who moved up ten places to sixth on the leaderboard after a 5,3 scoreline.

"I am really, really happy," smiled Barreiros. "I have a new crew, Juan. Two months ago Juan had an accident with a bicycle and we virtually stopped sailing, but now I am really happy not for the results, but for Juan. The injury was a big problem for us, as we are in the selection process for funding for 2014, but now if we are in the top 8 then for the moment I am happy."

Turkey's 2012 Olympian, brothers Deniz and Ates Cinar lead the silver fleet, with Great Britain's Tom Kinver and Ben Palmer in charge at the front of the bronze fleet. Both race wins in the bronze fleet went to Ridgely Balladares and Rommel Chavez from the Philippines.

470 Men - Top 5 Overall
1. Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) - 10 pts
2. Paul Snow-Hansen and Daniel Willcox (NZL) - 18 pts
3. Sofian Bouvet and Jeremie Mion (FRA) - 18 pts
4. Luke Patience and Joe Glanfield (GBR) - 20 pts
5. Pierre Leboucher and Nicolas Le Berre (FRA) - 23 pts

470 Women
Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) got themselves back into the top spot after the first race of the finals stage today, ousting Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA) back to second on the leaderboard.

But an awkard error after racing today forced the Race Committee to award them a five point discretionary penalty, as the team explained, "Unfortunately for us we made the totally rookie error of not signing off in the time period at the end of the day so have had five points added to our score-line. We have no excuses for it, just simply forgot, a seriously frustrating mistake to make." A penalty score and 18th place in the second race has dropped them to sixth overall.

After two more races, Lecointre and Geron remain at the top with China's 2012 Olympic team of Xiaoli Wang and Xufeng Huang two points behind in second and Slovenia's Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol another two points behind in third.

From a leaderboard position of 15th at the start of the day to third at the end, was a result a bit ahead of the day's plan for Slovenia's Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol. "We did two good starts and then just sailed fast," commented Mrak. "We were in front at the first mark, so it made the racing easier. We are very happy with today's results."

Mrak represented Slovenia at the Olympics, but has now paired up with new crew Macarol. The pair competed together around four years ago and finished in bronze medal position at the 2008 470 Junior Europeans.

China is proving dominant in the fleet, with two teams in the top four and just one point behind the Slovenians are Xiaomei Xu and Chunyan Yu.

The two Brazilian teams, Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan and Renata Decnop and Isabel Swan were neck and neck in ninth and tenth respectively going into the first day of finals, but all change by the end of the day as Oliveira and Barbachan push up to fifth, with Decnop and Oliveira dropping out of the top ten to 13th.

At the 2008 Olympics, Oliveira and Swan won Olympic bronze, before moving on to separate partnerships and campaigning against each other for the one Brazilian slot for the 2012 Olympics, which was awarded to Oliveira and Barbachan. Decnop comes from a match racing background and hooked up with Swan earlier this year.

Swan commented, "This is our first World Championship together. To compete at this level requires perfection both physically and mentally, with both as important as the other." Both of them are soldiers in the Brazilian Navy, so intense physical training is nothing new.

Evaluating the competition in the fleet, Swan continued, "The French and New Zealanders are currently among the most successful on the 470 circuit. But I can say that our real challenge comes from ourselves, as we are still growing as a team."

470 Women - Top 5 Overall
1. Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron (FRA) - 16 pts
2. Xiaoli Wang and Xufeng Huang (CHN) - 18 pts
3. Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) - 20 pts
4. Xiaomei Xu and Chunyan Yu (CHN) - 21 pts
5. Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Barbachan (BRA) - 28 pts

Racing is scheduled to start at 13:00 on Thursday 8 August.


Championship Format
The Championship format splits the 470 Men into three fleets and the Women in two, to race the qualification stage of five races over two days, with one discard. After the qualifying stage, the 470 Men teams will be split into gold, silver and bronze fleets, based on their position on the leaderboard, and carry forward (C/F) their leaderboard position into the finals stage of 7 races over three race days. A second discard will be allowed during the finals stage, but not the C/F score.

Scoring is 0 points for 1st, 2 points for 2nd and so on during the qualification and finals stage. The top 8 in each fleet will then proceed to the medal stage on Saturday 10 August for a single Medal Race with a double points score, where 1st equals 2 points, 2nd equals 4 points and so on.

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Luissa Smith
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