Day three of the Laser 4.7 World Championships brought bright and windy conditions to the Ijselmeer, in the Netherlands, after a stormy night.
The expected high winds had blown through early and the sailors left the beach at 10:00h for the final two races of the round robin series.
The easing winds allowed some of the lighter sailors to climb the fleet, but it was again Tonci Stiponvic from Croatia who continued his near perfect score with two bullets.
Chris Carden of Team GBR continued his excellent performance gaining an 11th place in the first race, but an OCS in the second did not help his cause. However Chris is the sole GBR sailor to make the Gold fleet with top Team GBR girl Robyn Phillips just missing the cut, despite consistent good results in today's lighter breeze.
Daniel Michelic (CRO), Tonci's Croatian team mate is lying second with Milosz Landowski (POL) pushing hard in third. Today's only unfortunate occurrence was the disqualification of a member of the Brazilian team for picking up a third Rule 42 infringement.
The daily prize giving followed a Dutch theme with prizes presented by the Dutch team coach, followed by local smoked haddock and cheese accompanied by a local brass band. The haddock was definitely an acquired taste. The evening was rounded of with a Laser mast climbing contest that was clearly won by an Australian sailor in a time of 15 seconds, despite their best efforts no one could even come close!
Tomorrow, Thursday, is rest day for the fleet, giving the sailors a chance to recover, and with a light wind forecast, practice for the finals.
To follow up from Croatian successes so far in the event we caught up with one of the team coaches. With current top performances in both the Laser Radial and Laser 4.7 I was interested to find out how they were achieving so much.
The Croatian squad is based at Split SC where around 60 sailors regularly sail. This club is also the base for the Standard Rig and Olympic Squads. Young sailors entering the club are teamed up with older, more experienced sailors on a buddy system and all rigs train sail and race together. This is allowing the slower sailors to improve and learn from the top of the fleet.
The secret of making this work is nothing other than time on the water - every weekend and a minimum of three days a week. The coach was also not ashamed to admit that a heavy dose of natural talent amongst the current squad was definitely helping their results.
Overall Results (after 6 Races):
1 Tonci Stipanovic CRO
2 Daniel Michelic CRO
3 Milosz Landowski POL
4 Dennis Karpak EST
5 Stefano Meciani ITA
6 Colin Robaard NED
7 Gonzalo Barclay PER
8 Jean Baptiste Bernaz FRA
9 Andrea Podesta ITA
10 Max Blon NED