470 WORLDS QUALIFICATION SERIES WRAPS UP IN THESSALONIKI11 Jul 2017
Five qualification races is what it takes to advance to gold fleet and retain a shot at claiming a place in the top 10 Medal Race come Saturday.
Today was a key day as the closing qualification races determined the 36 teams in the 470 Men and 30 in the 470 Women moving through to gold fleet selection. Conditions for today’s two final qualifying races were as equally “race perfect” as yesterday, in a breeze of around 8-12 knots, but still notoriously tricky on the waters of the Thermaikos Gulf.
Whilst for many gold fleet is what it is all about, other teams are focused on putting their new found 470 experience into practice, and front of fleet finishes are realistically a way off yet when racing against such a depth of talent.
As a qualification event for the Aarhus 2018 Worlds, which itself is a qualification event for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, results count beyond the World Championships’ leaderboard.
The 470 World Championships battles will virtually start all over tomorrow as all the top teams face each other for the first time. The six race final series is scheduled to start at 1400 hours on Wednesday 12 July with 2 races for all fleets.
Hannah Mills/Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) maintained their form, scoring a 5,3 to retain the overall lead and break the tie with Slovenia’s Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol. All change behind as Poland’s Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrózek claimed two 2nd places and moved up to third overall.
“We have had a really great start, and didn’t expect so much wind the first day,” commented Macarol who has worked hard to bounce back to campaigning after several months out of competition. “We are sailing really well and I hope that the week will continue like this.
“We have really good speed and in the warm-up regatta before we did really well. It is a combination of everything. We have spent time training, but we really love to compete against the best so it is a great feeling to be back in the boat. It is difficult but we like it.”
And on the challenge ahead in the form of Mills/McIntyre, Mrak smiled, “They are really great, we will have a good fight I think!”
Only a few points further back, China features in 4th and 5th places. Impressively China has 5 of its 6 teams all advancing through to gold fleet racing. A great outcome, particularly under the eyes of newly appointed President of the China Yachting Association, Ms Xiaodong Zhang, who is supporting her teams here at the 470 Worlds. A pioneer in sailing, Zhang made history at the 1992 Olympics when her silver medal in the windsurfing event secured not only China’s first ever medal in Olympic sailing, but also Asia’s first ever Olympic sailing medal
The world #1 partnership and 2017 470 European Champions, Afrodite Zegers/Anneloes van Veen, staked their claim at the front of the fleet in race 5, after a rather up and down qualification series by their perfection standards to sit in 7th overall.
Home grown talent Maria Bozi and Rafailina Klonaridou (GRE) are amongst the teams most familiar with the waters here, as the Nautical Club of Thessaloniki is their home club and training venue. At the 2015 470 Junior Worlds, also hosted here, they stepped up to claim silver.
With the qualification series now wrapped up, the top thirty teams will advance to gold fleet racing, with the rest lining up in silver fleet.
470 Women - Provisional Results after 5 Races
1. Hannah MILLS/Eilidh MCINTYRE (GBR 321) - 6 pts
2. Tina MRAK/Veronika MACAROL (SLO 64) - 8 pts
3. Agnieszka SKRZYPULEC/Irmina MRÓZEK GLISZCZYNSKA (POL 11) - 10 pts
4. Shasha CHEN/Xufeng HUANG (CHN 0619) - 14 pts
5. Xiaoli WANG/Haiyang GAO (CHN 1221) - 15 pts
6. Amy SEABRIGHT/Anna CARPENTER (GBR 7) - 17 pts
7. Afrodite ZEGERS/Anneloes VAN VEEN (NED 1) - 19 pts
8. Silvia MAS DEPARES/Patricia CANTERO REINA (ESP 18) - 20 pts
9. Maria BOZI/Rafailina KLONARIDOU (GRE 216) - 20 pts
10. Barbara CORNUDELLA/Sara LOPEZ (ESP 14) - 25 pts
Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom again set the pace off the starting line and led the pack, racking up two more front of fleet results of 1,2. The partnership races their first event since the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“I did not expect this, but it is a qualification for the 2018 Aarhus Worlds and we have been at the top of our performance at starts which has made everything a lot simpler,” explained Bergstrom on their performance so far. “It feels like we have good speed, not better than other people, and we are making some of the biggest decisions quite well in these first five races.”
So far, their scorecard marks a career best opener at a major Championship, as Bergstrom continued, “It is the year after the Olympics, we have a little less pressure and we can enjoy the time on the water. Anton has been spending a little bit of time in an office, so he’s really enjoying being out on the water and we love the venue and the conditions. But the Worlds really starts at gold fleet, and everything will happen there.”
Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) claimed their first win of the series in race 5 and hold onto second overall, on tiebreak over Austria’s David Bargehr/Lukas Mähr who move up to third.
An escalation from the young French talent of Hippolyte Machetti/Sidoine Dantes who have stormed up the leaderboard to fourth overall, breaking into a top 10 packed full of Olympians. Just three years ago in 2014, Machetti/Dantes competed at the World Sailing Youth Championships and were crowned 420 Junior World Champions, before switching to a 470 campaign.
A bit further down the fleet, an equivalent scorecard gain went to Emerson Villena/Lester Troy Tayong from the Philippines, who held their nerve to claim a 5th place finish in race 5. Showing promising talent the pair only just missed out on gold fleet racing.
Malayia’s Faizal Norizan/Syukri Aziz also knocked out a front of fleet result in an otherwise up and down scorecard, finishing 2nd in race 5, to safely advance to the 36 boat gold fleet.
470 Men - Provisional Results after 5 Races
1. Anton DAHLBERG/Fredrik BERGSTROM (SWE 349) - 5 pts
2. Mathew BELCHER/Will RYAN (AUS 11) - 10 pts
3. David BARGEHR/Lukas MÄHR (AUT 1) - 10 pts
4. Hippolyte Machetti/Sidoine Dantes (FRA79) - 14 pts
5. Stuart MCNAY/David HUGHES (USA 1) - 17 pts
6. Paul SNOW-HANSEN/Daniel WILLCOX (NZL 2) - 19 pts
7. Deniz CINAR/Ates CINAR (TUR 890) - 20 pts
8. Panagiotis MANTIS/Pavlos KAGIALIS (GRE 1) -20 pts
9. Zangjun XU/Chao WANG (CHN 067) - 21 pts
10. Malte WINKEL/Matti CIPRA (GER13) - 27 pts
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Races will take place over two race courses, for each of the men’s and women’s fleets. Fleets will be seeded for the five race Qualification Series into yellow and blue fleets, before being split into gold and silver for the six race Final Series. The top ten teams in the men’s and women’s fleets will advance to the Medal Races on Saturday 15 July 2017.
7-9 July 2017 - Measurement/Registration
9 July 2017 - Opening Ceremony
10-11 July 2017 - Qualification Series (5 races)
12-14 July 2017 - Final Series (6 races)
15 July 2017 - Medal Races, Closing Ceremony/Prize Giving
ABOUT THE 2017 470 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS
The 2017 470 World Championships is organized by Nautical Club of Thessaloniki in co-operation with the International 470 Class Association. Racing starts on Monday 10 July, with a 5 race qualification series and 6 race final series scheduled for the 470 Men and 470 Women fleets, before the top 10 teams advance to the final Medal Race on Saturday 15 July 2017.
All six continents are represented in the 32 nations competing at the 2017 470 World Championships: Australia, Austria, Chile, China, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA.