Day 2 - Conditions Variable
Buenos Aires, Argentina. Day two of the 2015 49er and 49er FX World Championship. Day one proved challenging for most teams out on the waters off San Isidro. Many sailors noted the brown tint to the water makes it extremely difficult to read wind patterns. Even though most sailors were able to train and compete in the recent South Americans, no one boat seemed to figure out conditions without having one very inconsistent finish.
The women’s fleet sat on shore with an hour postponement before heading out to a light 8-6 knot breeze that slowly died. Races were attempted on a patchy ENE course, but the first race was abandoned on the second leg due to absolutely no pressure to be had course wide. FX sailors all felt the angst and pangs of boredom as they waited roughly an hour and a half for a steadier, yet still very light, southerly to build and only produce one race for the day.
Spanish duo, Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos, finished first in today’s only race noted they both thought it was a light, but fair race. Tamara mentioned, “I think they had to wait to get a fair race. If they kept the first race going, it would not have been fair. It’s also unfair for the people who were racing the whole time, but the wind kept dropping so much, and we still had half of the upwind, and all of the downwind left, and it would change a lot so it was not fair. So it was good they waited, that’s what we think!”
All three Danish boats currently sit in 1st, 4th, and 6th respectively. Nielson/Olsen lead the charge in 1st, followed by Conti/Clapcich in 2nd, and France’s Steyaert/Compan rounding out third. Countries breaking the top twenty mark that are not currently qualified for Rio are as follows: Norway (9th & 13th), USA (10th), Ireland (12th), and Canada (16th). Argentina, Japan, Croatia, and one other USA boat all sit just single points behind one another in the top 25. These countries all are chomping at the bit and will be sure the ones to watch moving forward.
The ladies were all in lower spirits with the lack of wind and long wait times from today, but they will have tomorrow afternoon to end their qualifying round in hopefully more breeze and less lag time.
The men’s 49er fleet was also in postponement from midday on until about 3:30pm. The breeze at this stage was less variable than the morning and stayed ESE ranging from 8-12 knots.
Taking charge in the fleet are the Lange brothers, Yago and Klaus who climbed the leaderboard with intense consistency today placing 2nd and 3rd in both races. Staying top three in both races gave these boys the edge to jump from yesterday’s 7th into 1st. We can argue that local knowledge just might have given the boys the edge today as we see them sitting ahead of favorites Burling/Tuke, but it’s the country qualifying spot they are surely after more than the coveted title. German team Heil/Ploessel claimed a win in the first race of the day pushing ahead into 5th, while Croatian team Kostoc/Cupac remain sitting in 3rd even with a BFD, which they were definitely glad to throw out. Argentina, Germany, Croatia, and Poland all sit tightly in the top ten, while two Swedish teams and one other German team round out in the top twenty of teams looking to qualify their country. Japan and Belgium sit in the top 25, but again, by mere single points keeping them there.
The scores are tight and conditions are extremely variable from day to day. The men’s 49er fleet will start tomorrow morning ending their qualifying round. If the leaderboard stays similar to its current state we will definitely see the above mentioned countries taking one step closer to Rio.
Other than varying conditions, varying physical states have been seen across both 49er and 49er FX fleets. Many sailors have fallen ill with stomach and gastrointestinal issues resulting in weaker physical performances. Recent thunderstorms and some capsizing into the less than desirable looking brown water have been targeted as the culprits for this mystery sickness that seems to be catching up with sailors as the days progress. Sailors from non-South American countries seem to be affected the most as the water consumed into their systems just may not be as cleanly as predicted…
The 2015 49er & 49erFX World Championship is in Buenos Aires, Argentina from November 16-21, 2015 The event website including results is http://49er.org/event/2015-world-championship/ and the event is sponsored by Seiko, SAP, and Magic Marine.