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16 July 2010, 10:38 am
Tricky Times At The Delta Lloyd 470 World Championships
Sarah Ayton & Saskia Clarke (GBR)
A wild ride for Sarah Ayton & Saskia Clarke (GBR) at the 2010 470 Worlds

2010 Delta Lloyd 470 World Championships
The Hague, Netherlands

The weather is causing havoc at the Delta Lloyd 470 World Championships in The Hague and after some exciting sailing in the morning the fleets were not able to complete any racing until early in the evening.
Both fleets were sent out in the morning only for conditions to prove far too brisk for the majority of the sailors and they were duly sent home. With wind against tide further increasing the severity of the waves in the afternoon, it wasn't until the early evening that the final races of the qualification series could be held and even then this was only possible in the two Women's groups.

There were two qualification races left to sail to complete qualification for the women but they managed only one. The winners of the two groups were Italy's Giulia Conti and Giovanna Micol and long term Argentinian 470 campaigner, María Fernanda Sesto and Consuelo Monsegur. These results now mean that the Italian duo are tied in first place on eight points with New Zealand's Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie, three points ahead of early leaders at this regatta, Americans Erin Maxwell and Isabelle Kinsolving Farrar.

'It was very hard to keep your concentration throughout the whole day," admitted Guilia Conti.

Their race started in 12-13 knots and dropped off gradually over its duration. 'We raced well and made good tactical decisions and we passed the last boat [the Netherland's Margriet Fokkema and Marieke Jongens] on the last reach, because it was a tight reach - the first boat put up their spinnaker but couldn't reach the mark."

Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED)
Lisa Westerhof & Lobke Berkhout (NED) in
fourth going into the Final Series.
© Thom Touw
Results - 470 Women - gold fleet
Results - 470 Men - gold fleet
Of the regatta so far generally Conti said: 'First day light wind, second day medium wind and today hurricane! We've had everything!" This morning there were gusts of over 25 knots, but the problem was the waves. One of these caused Conti and Micol to capsize, not sideways, but to reverse pitchpole - the bow flipping back over its stern. 'I've never done that before - Giovanna, my crew fell over me. A lot of boats capsized, some of them broke their masts also. It was pretty tough, but our boat was perfect."

Men's Fleet
A race was attempted on the Men's course, but this didn't get underway until slightly later than the Women and by this stage the wind had dropped off to such a degree that with the counter tide the first boats failed to reach the windward mark within the 25 minute maximum time limit.

'We went out and were thinking it was going to still be quite windy this afternoon and we were a bit surprised it died off so quickly," admitted Australian Matt Belcher, who continues to lead the 470 Men with his Beijing gold medallist crew, Malcolm Page. 'The current became more and more of a factor, which is why they had to cancel at the end of the day. No one could cross the line on starboard because the current was so strong."

The word 'forecast' is not one to mention to Event Director Edwin Lodder at present. 'In the morning there was over 30 knots of wind, so we decided to get everyone back and to wait," he explains his predicament. 'The forecast had been about 20-25 knots and the wind direction was different to what was expected. So we waited and every hour we had contact with the meteo and at 6pm the wind was really lower than before and their forecast for after 8pm was for a good wind of about Force Four (11-15 knots). The weather conditions between 1900 and 2000 (local) were excellent, but after that it just dropped off and that wasn't expected."

Mathew Belcher agreed with the inaccuracy of the forecasts. 'We have a few forecasts and I don't think any of them are right yet. It is a tough place, but it is the same for everyone. You try and keep your head out of the boat and try and make the right decisions at the right time."

Despite not completing all the scheduled qualification series, the fleets have been divided up into Gold, Silver and Bronze for the Men, and Gold and Silver for the Women. Three races are scheduled for Friday, the first start at 1100 (local time).

The Finals series get's underway Friday before the top ten compete in the Medal Race on Sunday.

Tracking - for both classes and all races - can be followed through the Delta Lloyd 470 World Championship website http://470worlds2010.com

For more information, visit the event web site: www.470worlds2010.com

Track and Trace - http://www.mylaps.com/index.php/emea_eng/Websites/B2C/sail/events/470_world_championships
Video Channel - http://www.470worlds2010.com/video/video.asp?sfid=100&fid=flv&eid=15
Results - http://www.470worlds2010.com/results.asp

James Boyd (as amended by ISAF)
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