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Sailing World Cup

CALLING THE SHIFTS EQUALS SUCCESS AT HEMPEL WORLD CUP SERIES MIAMI

03 Feb 2019

Correctly calling first shift is great. Plenty of sailing races have been won by the person or team who anticipates the first wobble in the breeze and positions correctly to best take advantage of it.

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2019 World Cup Series - Round 2, Miami
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Correctly calling first shift is great. Plenty of sailing races have been won by the person or team who anticipates the first wobble in the breeze and positions correctly to best take advantage of it.

But sometimes, it's the last shift that provides the more enduring laugh. That was the case in the Women's 470 Medal Race, which kicked off the final day of racing at the 2019 Hempel World Cup Series Miami on Biscayne Bay.

Frederike Loewe and Anna Markfort (GER) started the race with a slim lead in the overall standings. Not only was their gold medal position at risk, there was a legitimate possibility they could slip off the podium entirely as fourth place was just eight points at the start of the race. After a bad start at the pin end, the German duo spent the majority of the race in a virtual fourth place.

"The start was really bad," said Loewe. "We were too close to the leeward starting boat. That was way too risky."

Hannah Mills and Eilidth McIntyre (GRB) on the other hand, nailed the start and the first leg and rounded the first two marks in the lead and wearing the virtual gold medal.

But defending against three other teams is always a challenge, even more so in light air, and on the second lap, the trailing boats found a window of opportunity. First it was Camille LeCointre and Aloise Retornaz (FRA) who were not a medal threat, but would slip by and go on to win the race. Then it was the eventual bronze medalists, Fernanda Oliveira and Ana Luiza Barbachan (BRA). The final dagger came at the leeward mark when Markfort and Loewe and their compatriots Fabienne Oster and Anastasiya Winkel (GER) converged from opposite sides of the course and both slipped inside the British team at the final mark rounding. The order wouldn't change on the final leg, giving Loewe and Markfort the win, their first medal in a Hempel World Cup Series competition, while the silver went to Oster and Winkel, leaving Mills and McIntyre to ponder how something that had seemed so solid slipped away so quickly.

"What a comeback," said Loewe moments after the finish, with a big smile. "[We didn't think it was possible until] the very last downwind, close to the gate, really in the last moments."

Markfort was quick to credit Loewe with finding that little bit of favourable wind at the last possible moment.

"I think having a good overview of the downwind is one of Freddie's strengths throughout the whole regatta," said Markfort. "We always managed to catch up on the downwinds because she always saw pressure that others didn't see."

Local favorites Stu McNay and David Hughes ended the regatta with a wire-to-wire win in the Men's 470 Medal Race. But, with Naoki Ichino and Takashi Hasegawa (JPN) crossing the finish line right on the American's heels, it was only good enough to move McNay and Hughes into fourth place. Ichino and Hasegawa held on to the bronze medal position they had at the beginning of the day and the same was true of the two teams ahead of them on the leader board. Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergström (SWE) were sixth in the Medal Race and claimed sliver while Jordi Xammar Hernandez and Nicolás Rodríguez García-Paz finished third in the Medal Race and won gold.

"We are really happy," said Xammar. "It's amazing to win a World Cup event and the first of 2019. We had a long pre-season so to be on top of the podium is good for us. We were happy with how we sailed before the Medal Race, but winning and keeping gold ahead of the Swedish team who are one of the best guys in the fleet is really good.

"It was a tough Medal Race. We had a good start but we were blocked in with some boats. At the top mark we weren't in a good place, but we knew it was a long race and we could take our chance. When we had it, we did a good move and went ahead of the Swedish and we held on from there."


Source: World Sailing