CLASH OF THE TEAMMATES ABOUT TO BEGIN IN TURKEY12 Sep 2022
Northerly winds of 16-18 knots delivered the perfect preview to competition on the practice day of the 470 European Championship in Çeşme, Turkey. Having convincingly won the Warm-Up Race regatta a couple of days earlier, Anton Dahlberg & Lovisa Karlsson (SWE) put on some older sails for today’s breezy and wavy outing.
The Swedes will start among the favourites for the regatta, although the fleet is still finding its form in the first year of Mixed competition, with men and women sailing side by side in the same boat. Dahlberg is one of a number of Olympic medallists from the Tokyo 2020 Games who have had to start again with a new partnership. Having achieved so much together, Dahlberg and his crew Fredrik Bergstrom went their separate ways after winning the Olympic silver medal in Japan just over a year ago.
Now Dahlberg is racing with his crew Lovisa Karlsson on the trapeze. “We’ve been sailing together for a bit more than two months and it’s starting to feel like a team like it used to when I was sailing with Fredrik,” said Dahlberg, a veteran of four Olympic Games. “The Europeans here in Turkey are our first championship together and we want to do well. It’s important for us to see how we perform as a team and also relative to the rest of the fleet, because we’re all learning at the moment.”
Fifth at Tokyo 2020 in the women’s 470, Tina Mrac (SLO) is back in the boat with Jakob Bozic at the front of the boat. “This is our second regatta together,” said Mrac from Slovenia. “We first raced together in Palma earlier this year, and then we had a good warm-up regatta, coming fourth a couple of days ago in 15 to 22 knots of wind. I think we are on the heavier side of the fleet.” Bozic is tall and lean and around 77kg, generally considered heavy in the 470 although the class average does seem to be increasing slightly.
One of the fast improving teams of the previous Olympic cycle were Luise Wanser & Anastasiya Winkel (GER) who finished sixth at Tokyo 2020. If not for a measurement penalty where their trapeze harness weighed in slightly too heavy for the limit imposed by the rules, they might have won a medal at the Games. Forced to split up with the change from single sex to Mixed racing, the duo now train together as part of the German squad and will be competing against each other for the right to represent Germany at the Paris 2024 Games. Wanser has teamed up with experienced crew Philipp Autenrieth, while Anastasiya is now crewing for her husband Malte Winkel. “In some ways it feels the same as the last campaign, because the boat is the same,” said Anastasiya. “But in other ways it’s quite different. We are learning new techniques and the manoeuvres are slightly different. This is going to be an interesting week to see how things look in the fleet now.”
While most crews put their boats through measurement together, Nora Brugman (ESP) had to get her 470 ready by herself as her helmsman, Jordi Xammar, was only completing his duties as Team Spain’s helmsman in SailGP for the event in St Tropez this past weekend. Due to arrive on Monday evening, Xammar and Brugman immediately established themselves as a potent duo when they won the Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta against a strong international fleet in Palma, Mallorca, back in March.
Xammar will be up against his old team mate, Nico Rodriguez, who is now working the trapeze and the spinnaker for Silvia Mas in their new 470 campaign. Together Xammar and Rodriguez took downwind sailing in the 470 to a new level, bringing a higher level of kinetics and energy to working the waves and the spinnaker. Their campaign culminated in a bronze medal at Tokyo 2020 and now it will be interesting to see which of these two Spanish teams is faster downwind with the two old teammates in separate boats.
With such a short run-up to the Paris 2024 Games, teams are keen to get as much international experience as possible, which is why there are a good number of non-European crews ready to race in Çeşme. Asia is well represented, with crews from China, Korea, Japan and Thailand. There are also teams from as far away as the USA and New Zealand, all keen to perform well at the Europeans as well as the 470 World Championship which takes place in Israel at the end of October.
Arkas Çeşme Sailing Club is well prepared to host a world-class regatta, with the strong wind conditions forecast to continue for at least the first two days of competition and possibly beyond.
The Championship begins with three races on Tuesday, with the first race set to take place at 13:00 hours local time.
Written by: Andy Rice