16 Aug 2010
Perfect Six for 'Slow' Bouvet & Mion
With six wins from six races, Sofian Bouvet and Jérémie Mion have dominated the opposition so far in the 470 Junior European Championships. However tomorrow we will see how good the French really are once the 86 boats in Blue and Yellow qualifying groups have been reorganised into Gold and Silver groups for the finals.
Bouvet said he didn’t feel fast upwind today. Heaven help the other sailors if he finds the boatspeed button. “Upwind speed was not good, and understanding the wind today was very difficult,” said the sailor from Brest. “But it was important to win the group because now we go into the final and it is much easier to score bad results there.”
With a discard in the scores, Bouvet and Mion’s dominance amounts to just a 4-point advantage over friends and training partners Berenger Balzeau and Mathieu Fountaine. However, when all races are counted, the leaders’ Perfect Six gives them a whopping 18-point advantage over the second-placed team. As Bouvet says, picking up good scores in qualifying could prove crucial as it will be much harder to stay consistent in the Gold fleet.
Meanwhile the leading girls’ teams are relieved to have made the cut for the top 43 of the 86-boat fleet which now go forwards to Gold. German duo Annika Bochmann and Anika Lorenz slipped down the rankings after a mediocre day, but still hold the lead over their rivals for the girls’ European title. “Our starts today were good, but the speed was bad,” said Bochmann, one of many sailors struggling to make sense of what appeared to be near-perfect conditions off the coast of La Rochelle. The scene was postcard picture perfect but still presented challenges to the sailors. The breeze pulsed from 12 to 16 knots, it flicked back and forth with an element of unpredictability, and the upwind current kicked up a short chop that made it hard to keep the boat moving at full pace.
Bochmann and Lorenz are just one of four girls’ team to have made the cut, so now there will a game of musical chairs to work out which three teams will win medals, and which will be left with nothing. As things stand, all three medals would go to Germany, although former Volvo ISAF Youth Champion Frances Peters and her crew Eilidh McIntyre have just scraped into Gold in 41st place. Now the British team has the luxury of only needing to look forwards, and if they can pick off any of the German girls ahead of them, then a medal will be theirs.
As to the boys’ division, can anyone match the brilliance of Bouvet and Mion? Balzeau and Fountaine think they can. “For sure we can beat them,” grinned Balzeau. “They are friends too, so it’s a good competition between us.” This team has the added benefit of racing in the waters where they have grown up, although they’d like more wind. “The more wind the better,” said Balzeau, with Fountaine relishing rumours of 20 to 25 knots of breeze on the weather forecast for Wednesday.
Behind the top two French is a tightly-bunched group of teams all on 17 or 18 points, led by third-placed Italians, Simon Sivitz Kosuta and Jas Farneti. Matching them on points is German team Daniel Zepuntke and Dustin Baldewein who notched up a 1,2 score today. However they carry the noose of a DSQ around their necks from the first race of the championship. They lost a protest relating to a port/starboard incident soon after the start, with the added pain that this was a race that they won. At the moment, the noose is loose, but Zepuntke knows he’s going to have to tread carefully if he’s to remain in contention for the title. “We have to be very careful, it puts us under pressure because with the DSQ we can’t afford to make any big mistakes.”
Tomorrow, Tuesday 17 August, we find out if Bouvet and Mion are capable of making mistakes, or if they really are as invincible as their Perfect Six scoreline suggests.
The 2010 470 Junior European Championships take place together with the 420 Junior European Championships from 12-20 August 2010.
Top 10 places after 6 races:
|1||FRA 27||BOUVET Sofian / MION Jeremie||5||1||1||1||1||1||1|
|2||FRA 10||BALZEAU Berenger / FOUNTAINE Mathieu||9||19||1||15||2||2||3|
|3||ITA 29||SIVITZ KOSUTA Simon / FARNETI Jas||17||4||15||2||7||3||1|
|4||GER 74||ZEPUNTKE Daniel / BALDEWEIN Dustin||17||DSQ||7||4||3||1||2|
|5||FRA 8||PEPONNET Kevin / LEBRUN Julien||17||2||4||5||10||4||2|
|6||GER 18||ELSNER Tim SZYMANSKI Oliver||18||3||18||2||3||2||8|
|7||GRE 333||KAVAS Fanis / ORFANOS John||24||2||2||12||1||13||7|
|8||GRE 4||TSIBOUKELIS Adonis / KARONIS George||27||5||5||6||4||7||9|
|9||NED 28||BENNEN Dirk / OOMENS Remy||28||19||7||7||5||5||4|
|10||GRE 77||STAVROU Michalis / PAPADOPOULOS Stathis||29||3||14||1||18||6||5|
By: Andy Rice
Image: Daniel Zepuntke and Dustin Baldewein (GER) in action © Francois Richard