49er Class Leaders Showing the Way – Plenty to Play for in 49erFX

Day 5 – 2014 World Cup of Sailing – Palma

The day began ominously with the 48 hour storm still in full effect.  By game time however, the wind had decreased from 28 knots to 20 and racing started on time.  The 49er fleet was first up after a tempestuous Thursday, and had 3 races in a decaying wind from the North.  The winds shifted, the swell was plentiful, but the results were the same as we’ve seen all week.  2013 World Champions Peter Burling and Blair Tuke won 2 of the 3 races to attain and almost insurmountable lead heading into the final day.  The exclamation point to their day came on the final downwind, when they rounded the windward mark more than 200 meters behind the leading pack, did two gybes in the bottom half of the run and managed to pass them all, leapfrogging  from 6th to 1st.

The only thing holding the Kiwis back from claiming victory tonight are the Danes Jonas Warrer and Peter Lang.  They too have sailed a fantastic regatta, and although they have not quite the string of bullets like the Kiwi’s, they have been remarkably consistent in a week that’s been anything but predictable.  They stand 21 point back overnight, and while mathematically they have a chance for the win they are unlikely to be getting their hopes too high.

The final races well be shown live on the 49er Class Youtube Channel.

The 49erFX regatta is far from decided heading into the final.  The skiff ladies spent more than 5 hours on the water today in order to complete their 3 races as the wind was unstable, dying down to single digits before filling in again in the early evening.  Between races 2 and 3 there were two races that had to be abandoned part of the way through before the wind became stable enough to sail through.

The two leading contenders for victory are Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA) and Ida Nielsen & Marie Olsen (DEN).  The Brazilians are only 4 points ahead of the Danes going into the 3 race, theatre style final.  Martine has been showing her pure racing skills this week.  No matter what the fleet or breeze has thrown at her shes managed to navigate through it successfully.  The Danes have also sailed well, but especially so in the breezier conditions.  With the forecast on the lighter side for the final, a booky would likely favor the Brazilians, but these Danes are determined and proven winners.

The battle for the bronze medal is also very tight, with 14 points separating 5 teams from the final spot on the podium.  One of those teams is Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) choosing this home venue to take their first trip to a World Cup finals.   Tamara is a Gold Medalist from London in the Match Racing class, and clearly has the work ethic required to thrive in a skiff.  The duo spent their winter in Santander, Miami and Palma, getting lots of hours on the water, and it is paying off.  They will go head to head with teams from GBR, NED, GER, and DEN for spots 3-7.

Join us tomorrow for live racing from the 49er course!

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