SWEDES TACK THEIR WAY TO THE TOP18 May 2023
San Remo, Italy, 18 May 2023
- First three races of gold fleet completed in great 470 conditions
- Steady, 15 to 16 knot winds and big waves on the race course
- Sweden takes the yellow bibs from Germany
- Race wins for Sweden, Italy and Austria
Anton Dahlberg and Lovisa Karlsson (SWE) came three steps closer to successfully defending their title after a barnstorming performance on the first day of gold fleet racing at the 470 European Championship in San Remo, Italy.
The sun peeked out from behind the clouds and easterly breeze blew nicely all day at around 15 to 16 knots, with big rolling waves and a few short, sharp ones in between, just to keep the 470 sailors on their toes.
At the first start, the yellow bib wearers Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort (GER) made a beeline for the pin end and launched out of the line at full pace. “We wanted the left but actually we didn’t go far enough,” said Diesch. “The boats that carried on further into the corner went past us so we needed to be more patient.” However, others had made the opposite side of the course work, while some had played the shifts up the middle, so there were a number of ways to make sense of today’s steadier conditions.
Rounding in the top few were the other coloured bib wearers, the Swedes in blue and the French in red, Camille Lecointre & Jérémie Mion (FRA). By the end of the two-lap race on the outer loop course, Dahlberg and Karlsson held a slender lead to finish in front, just ahead of the French, with the yellow bibs crossing in fifth. The points at the top of the leaderboard were getting tighter.
In the next race some new faces came to the fore and the battle between the top three went right down to the wire, all decided in the last metres of the reach to the finish. Giacomo Ferrari and Bianca Caruso (ITA) just managed to hold off Hippolyte Machetti and Aloïse Retornaz (FRA) for the winner’s gun, with Lara Vadlau and Lukas Maehr (AUT) not far behind in third.
A fourth place for the Swedes compared with an eighth for the yellow bibs from Germany was just sufficient to edge Dahlberg and Karlsson into the overall lead by a point. In the third and final race of the afternoon, SWE 349 rounded off a brilliant day with a second place, not far behind the race winners Vadlau and Maehr who were getting better and better.
Behind the Swedes who scored 7 points from the session, 8,3,1 for a total of 12 points made the Austrians the next best performers of day four. This lifts Vadlau and Maehr to sixth overall, with a big gap of 18 points to the Portuguese in seventh, Diogo Costa and Carolina João.
For Friday’s three gold fleet races, the Swedes and the Germans will exchange blue and yellow bibs, with Dahlberg and Karlsson now holding a six point advantage at the top. Following such a consistent performance on the previous days, Lecointre and Mion struggled in two of the three races to slip to fourth. They pass their red bibs over to teammates Machetti and Retornaz who recorded three scores in the top 10 today to move into third place overall by a single point.
As for the winners of the day, Dahlberg was full of praise for Karlsson’s ability to pick the shifts and work the lanes for maximum tactical effect against their rivals. “Lovisa has never done so well on the top end of the windward legs, the way she called the shifts and positioned the boat on the race course,” said the Tokyo Olympic silver medallist proudly of his teammate.
Tacking was no straightforward matter in today’s waves either, according to Retornaz. “We wanted to tack more than we did,” said the French sailor, “but each tack was expensive trying to keep the boat moving through the worst waves. It was important to be as fast as possible all the time, but also to pay attention to the oscillations.”
Friday sees the conclusion of gold fleet competition with three races scheduled to start at 1100 hours local time. Saturday is Medal Race day, for the top 10 teams to battle it out in a single, double-points contest to decide who will make it on to the podium in the Marina degli Aregai.
To get all the news, photos and updates from the racing, go to 470.org
written by Andy Rice
LEADERBOARD (Top 3 overall after eight races)
1. Anton Dahlberg and Lovisa Karlsson (SWE), 18 points
2. Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort (GER), 24 points
3. Hippolyte Machetti and Aloïse Retornaz (FRA), 29 points
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