The ISAF Grade 1 Delta Lloyd Regatta started with tricky conditions on the IJsselmeer, but there were few surprises amongst the leading crews.
The moderate easterly breeze shifted to the north northeast and was very variable for the first day of racing on Wednesday. That caused fluctuating results in some of the classes. Other competitors were consistent in the top, like Laser Radial sailor Anna TUNNICLIFFE
(USA) with two bullets and a second. Dutchmen Dorian VAN RIJSSELBERGE
leads with two wins in the RS:X and so does Marina ALABAU
(ESP) in the women's fleet and Gasper VINCEC
(SLO) in the Finn. Yngling trio Ulrike SCHUEMANN
, Julia BLECK
and Ute HOEPFNER
(GER) lead with a series of 1,1,3 scores.
"We are taking advantage of our improvement in team work, on which we have worked hard in last week's training session,"
said Yngling skipper SCHUEMANN on the dockside. "We are using everybody in the boat, whereas in the past we did not use the knowledge of all of us. But our boat speed and starts were also good."
The Dutch team of Mandy MULDER
, Marije FABER
and Merel WITTEVEEN
climbed up the leaderboard during the day. The girls finished 6,4,2 and are second overall after three races. MULDER commented, "It was difficult sailing. The wind changes were hard to predict, so we had to wait and adapt to it."
According to WITTEVEEN (bow), they did not choose a side of the course: "We positioned ourselves so that it would not matter from which side the breeze would come."
The Russian girls Ekaterina SKUDINA
, Diana KRUTSKIKH
and Natalia IVANOVA
are third overall with scores of 4,11,1.
TUNNICLIFFE Dominates Laser Radial
The fleet of 71 competitors in the Laser Radial was split up in two groups. Winner of last year's Olympic Test Event TUNNICLIFFE had a flying start with two bullets and a second. It was not easy on the Laser Radial course either, explained Sarah BLANCK
from Australia. In April, she won the ISAF Grade 1 Semaine Olympique Française in Hyères after which she did some training sessions. BLANCK took the day's second bullet and finished fifth in the last race. "There was a big, big shift to the left and I didn't get it, since I was in the middle. The breeze got a lot lighter in the last two races,"
For most of the athletes building up to the Olympic Games in August, the Delta Lloyd Regatta is their penultimate large-scale regatta before the Games start. BLANCK commented, "I am still working on a few technical things, so this is an important event for me."
(LTU) is second overall in the Laser Radial fleet, just one point ahead of BLANCK.
France and Brazil Lead 470s
"Downwind it was easier to gain and lose some places,"
said Sven COSTER
from the Netherlands. He and his brother Kalle COSTER scored two seconds and an 18th, which lifted them to a third position overall in the Men's 470 fleet. "Not much happened on the beat. Mostly it was a matter of split tacks. It was hard to read the wind, especially below the bird island,"
and Olivier BAUSSET
from France did a good job of finding the breeze and are leading by seven points, followed by the Italians Gabrio ZANDONA
and Andrea TRANI
. The Brazilians Fernanda OLIVEIRA
and Isabel SWAN
are leading the 470 women fleet of 28 teams. They finished fourth, second and first. Sylvia VOGL
and Carolina FLATSCHER
(AUT) are second overall with 19 point, just ahead of Sweden's Therese TORGERSSON
and Vendela SANTEN
Although they have a name for being heavy weather specialists, Dutchmen Mitch BOOTH
and Pim NIEUWENHUIS
scored their best results in Wednesday's lighter breeze to tie for the lead in the 22-boat Tornado. NIEUWENHUIS said, "That is how it should be, since we are focussing on China conditions. We had 5-6 knots in the first two races, after which the wind picked up to about 20 knots in the final race. It was a beautiful racing day."
The Dutch multihull sailors are tied on points with the current World Champions Darren BUNDOCK
and Glenn ASHBY
The Japanese crew Akira ISHIBASHI
and Yukio MAKINO
had a promising start in the 49er class (45 entries). They were leading until the day's third and final race, in which they finished 15th. ISHIBASHI, who dropped to a fourth position overall, explained, "We had a good starts and the boat speed is great. Both are important to benefit from."
According to ISHIBASHI, it mostly paid to go to the left side of the course. Jonas WARRER and Martin KIRKETERP from Denmark took over the lead. VAN RIJSSELBERGE won both RS:X races for men (41 windsurfers) and so did ALABAU in the women's fleet (20 entries). The Brazilian Star duo Robert SCHEIDT
and Bruno PRADA
(BRA) are tied on points with the Swiss team of Flavio MARAZZI
and Enrico DE MARIA
. Vasilij ZBOGAR
(SLO) is leading the 117 Laser competitors. His fellow countryman Gasper VINCEC
scored two bullets and leads the 37-strong Finn fleet.
Besides from title sponsor Delta Lloyd, the regatta 2008 is also sponsored by Volvo Cars Netherlands, Infotec, Provincie Noord-Holland, AD Sportwereld Pro, Heuvelman Sound & Vision, WeerOnline, Spa mineral water and ARMA Verhuur.
Delta Lloyd Regatta - www.deltalloydregatta.org