It was a crazy, confusing day at the 2010 Open 470 European Championships in Istanbul, yet somehow Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela emerged from their side of the men's qualifying with two first places.
The Israeli team made sense of the light, patchy and shifty conditions that left most of the 92 teams quite bewildered. The day dawned 10 degrees colder than previous days, the blazing hot Turkish weather replaced by a rainy, blustery, grey day that made some competitors wonder if they had been teleported back to Weymouth in England, where many of these same Olympic athletes were competing just two weeks ago.
As August gave way to September, and summer gave way to autumn, it looked as though the 470's would be battling their way round the course in some fierce conditions. Yet by the time the 470's were getting on the water, the wind was already ebbing away, to the point where the first race had to be postponed.
Even when the first race did get under way, the breeze refused to cooperate and it had to be abandoned. Eventually the race committee successfully restarted the race and held another one straight afterwards, although the sun was already setting over the Istanbul skyline by the time the boats returned to shore.
It was a very mixed set of emotions from the sailors as they came home. Gideon Kliger
and Eran Sela
(ISR) were quietly pleased with their day, saying that the key to their success was not to overcomplicate things on a complicated day. "We focused on the simple things,"
said Kliger, one of the most experienced and accomplished sailors in the fleet. "We didn't try too hard or think too hard. When it's irregular and chaotic like it was today, you just aim to do your best and see what happens. But for sure we were lucky too."
Maybe it was the luck of the number 7 that played its part. In the first heat, it was the Israelis, ISR 7, who crossed the line ahead of NED 77, Steven Lefevre and Steven Krol of the Netherlands, followed by FRA 7, sailed by Olympic bronze medallist Nicolas Charbonnier
and Baptiste Meyer
The only team that came close to matching the Israelis' consistency were the defending European Champions from Croatia, Sime Fantela
and Igor Marenic
, who scored two second places on the other side of the qualifying split. Other leading lights, such as the USA's Stuart Mcnay
and Graham Biehl
and GBR's Luke Patience
and Stuart Bithell
, fell foul of the black flag. "It's the one thing you don't - or shouldn't - do,"
said Patience as he berated himself afterwards. "We didn't think we were over, but we were, so that's that."
At least the Brits made amends with a victory in the second heat, passing the Croatians who had led for the first half of the race.
While the defending men's European Champions had made a solid start, the defending women had a day more like Patience and Bithell's. Italy's Giulia Conti
and Giovanna Micol
have high hopes of winning here, but suffered a disastrous start to the regatta, as Conti recalled: "At the first leeward mark we were third, and then the spinnaker halyard jammed and we had to sail upwind for two minutes with the spinnaker still fully hoisted, so we lost some boats there. A couple of tactical mistakes and we went further behind, then the spinnaker broke on the reach, then we touched the gybe mark and had to do a 360 penalty and we ended up.... I don't know where. To have all this happen in one race is very strange, but I hope that means we've got it all out of the way for the rest of the regatta."
Those multiple setbacks did little to put the Italians off their stride, however, as they bounced back to win the next race quite comfortably after a left-hand windshift turned the course into what Conti described as "a horse race".
Queens of the day, however, were Emmanuelle Rol
and Hélène Defrance
who scored 1,3. "We have good speed in these conditions, so we had confidence,"
said Defrance, who now wonders if a podium finish in Istanbul might be possible for this still quite new team.
In second place in the women's fleet are another French pair, Camille Lecointre
and Mathilde Geron
, with Denmark's Henriette Koch
and Lene Sommer
The 2010 Open 470 European Championships conclude with the Medal Race on 6 September. The regatta is organised by The Istanbul Sailing Club in co-operation with the International 470 Class Association and the Turkish Sailing Federation.
You can follow the racing live online, via the GPS tracking system, which will be displayed at: www.onlineracetrack.net
Top 10 Men after 2 Races:
1. ISR 7 - Gideon KLIGER, Eran SELA - 1, 1
2. CRO 83 - Sime FANTELA, Igor MARENIC - 2, 2
3. UKR 67 - Yurii ZHURAVLOV, Pavlo MATSUYEV - 8, 2
4. GER 49 - Lucas ZELLMER, Heiko SEELIG - 6, 4
5. BLR 11 - Daniil ADZINTSOV, Kiryl MEYER- 6, 6
6. FRA 44 - Pierre LEBOUCHER, Vincent GAROS - 3, 10
7. NED 77 - Steven LEFEVRE, Steven KROL - 2, 12
8. GRE 165 - Panagiotis KAMPOURIDIS, Gerasimos OROLOGAS - 4, 10
9. AUT 437 - David BARGEHR, Lukas MÄHR - 5, 9
10. ESP 68 - Pablo SANTURDE DEL ARCO, Alejandro RAMOS LÓPEZ - 12, 3
Top 10 Women after 2 Races:
1. FRA 12 - Emmanuelle ROL, Hélène DEFRANCE - 1, 3
2. FRA 9 - Camille LECOINTRE, Mathilde GERON - 3, 5
3. DEN 143 - Henriette KOCH, Lene SOMMER - 6, 4
4. GER 66 - Annina WAGNER, Marlene STEINHERR - 9, 6
5. ITA 23 - Giulia CONTI, Giovanna MICOL - 17, 1
6. ISR 311 - Gil COHEN, Dana MAMRIEV - 2, 16
7. EST 20 - Marjaliisa UMB, Elise UMB - 7, 11
8. RUS 700 - Vlada ILIENKO, Elena KHRUKINA - 10, 10
9. FRA 4 - Ingrid PETITJEAN, Nadege DOUROUX - 8, 14
10. SLO 64 - Tina MRAK, Teja CERNE - 5, 19
For more Information visit: European Championship Website - www.470euro2010.org
Full Results - www.470.org/content.asp?id=2178