26 May 2010
Delta Lloyd Regatta Opening Day
Shifty but increasing wind provided tactical racing during the opening day of the 2010 Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, the fifth event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup, which saw the 470 fleets complete three races each.
Nic Asher and Elliott Willis (GBR) are leading the 470 men with consistent results (1-2-4) over the German team of Wagner/Scheufler.
“It was a really good day for us,” commented Asher. “The wind was pretty shifty with a few big holes, but we stayed pretty conservative in our approach, stayed towards the middle of the course and didn't make any big mistakes.”
“It was good to have some speed out there, we`re trying some new things and we`ve got a new boat for this event which we`ve done a few days of training in down in Weymouth. It`s all going well so far - a long way to go yet though!”
In top form after winning Hyeres, the French team of Emmanuelle Rol and Helene de France are holding a close lead in the 470 women, just over the Dutch team of Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout who in turn are on equal points with Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR).
“The first race was very shifty and you had to be very careful. The wind increased by the third race and everybody enjoyed it.” explained the French duo. “The Delta Lloyd Regatta last year was our first event together and we finished second!”
With top results collected in the start of the season and a victory at the Semaine Olympique Française, the French pair is proving again to be amongst the favourites for the title.
However, they will be put to the challenge by the defending title holders Ai Kondo and Wakako Tabata (JPN) who took a scoreline of 9, 40, 2 today. A bit of a dip down to fortieth in race 2 will be discounted with the discard but gives the pair little room to manoeuvre if they get another high scoring race. “We like to come and race in Medemblik, it is often windy here and the competition is always good,” said Ai. “I am keen to defend the title and take another victory this year. We have trained a lot for it and I can`t wait to start racing.”
Wakako considers the challenge ahead, “Conditions can be tricky in Medemblik, I have to watch for the shifts and take the right decisions. I will try my best.” The Japanese duo has proven record in the light air as well as in the breeze and will handle all conditions in the Delta Lloyd Regatta. Looking at the competition, “There are many close rivals here, the Italian Conti/Micol, the French teams, the New-Zealanders and of course the Dutch Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout . We were hoping to race against them here last year so this is our chance.”
Ai and Wakako have a heavy schedule this year. After Medemblik they will set off for Kiel Week in Germany, and then will come back to Holland for the 2010 470 Class World Championships in The Hague. The pair will end the European season with the last event in the ISAF Sailing World Cup, Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth, Great Britain. They will conclude the year with one of the most important regattas for the Japanese sailors, the Asian Games in China in November where Ai Kondo will defend her title.
Sailing will resume on Thursday with the last chance for classes racing in groups to qualify for the Gold fleet. Unfortunately, the wind which had been increasing all evening is forecast to be very light on Thursday – watch this space!
Before the event got under way, Malcolm Page (AUS) gave his views on the regatta and why he likes racing in Medemblik!
Image: Racing on the opening day of 2010 Holland Regatta © Sander van der Borch