Sunday June 29, 2014 – Aarhus, Denmark
Day 2 of the Championship was similar to day 1, with 10 knots of breeze and offshore, shifty conditions keeping the sailors on their toes. The key hurdle for the 49er fleet was gold fleet qualification, as the field of 44 will be narrowed to 25 at days end. The two equal fleets headed out first thing to be tested under similar conditions.
In the Blue Fleet, Botin & Turrado (ESP) had a very similar day to the first day, with one top 10 and two top 3’s. The local Lubeck (DEN) brothers also had a good day with a 13, 3, 1. Rounding out the top 5 are the Savio brothers (ITA). In the Yellow Fleet, Paya & Del Arco (ESP) had a wonderfully consistent day with three consecutive second place finishes in a row. While the world was topsy turvy today, these two were steady. The overnight leaders from Day 1, Simpson & Dunning Beck (NZL) had a rough finish to the day, getting a 19th in the final race, but they are still in the hunt.
All of these teams have few points and and those with low drop race are setting themselves up nicely for the gold fleet racing. Typically, it is key to avoid sailing a drop race in the qualifying series, as gold fleet racing will likely have higher average scores and more variability, so the ability to drop one of the tougher races could make all the difference.
The real battle of the day is the battle to make Gold fleet. Team India 49er were thrilled to be in the mix placing 23rd through qualifying in their first Junior World Championship. 2012 Junior World Champion, James Peters found out recently that his normal crew Ed Fitzgerald has an injured ankle, so he’s teamed up with Sam Batton for the event. They have slipped into gold fleet by a whisker, as they are in 25th overall. Both are experienced 49er sailors, so if conditions steady out at all we might expect them to have a good race or two.
The 49er Gold fleet will race 3 races on day 3, two races on day 4, and then 3 more theatre style races in the afternoon of day 4 so there is lots of racing yet to go before this championship order is set.
In the 49erFX fleet, the predicted leaders are showing their form and are tightly packed in the top 3 overall. Everything was really going the way of Annemiek Bekkering & Annette Duetz (NED), local team Ida Nielsen & Marie Olsen, and the Gorge Sisters (GER) had a 1, 2, to bring themselves into contention. Then, in the final race there were two big incidents to effect the leaders. There was a large left shift on the first beat that only the Dutch Girls got enabling them to win the race while their rivals struggled deeper in the pack. However, they infringed on the start line and ended up retiring from the race. That drops the Dutch down to four, pushing Nielsen/Olsen up into first but everyone has a large score drop race to worry about.
Also turning heads this week are India’s Varsha Gautham and Aishwarya Nedunchezhiyan. They are currently sitting in 6th place overall, in what is shaping up to be their first complete 49erFX regatta. Even more amazing is that they have 5 more chances after this one to compete in the Junior Worlds, and they are heading to the ISAF Youth Worlds next week to race in the 29er. The Chennai skiff teams is already making an impact on the world sailing circuit.
This is the half way point in the event, so teams will really have to put in a good day tomorrow to have a chance at the podium and inclusion in the medal race series. Stay tuned.
2014 SEIKO 49er & 49erFX is organised by Sailing Club Bugten and Aarhus Sailing Club in conjunction with Sailing Aarhus, City of Aarhus, Sport Aarhus Events and Sport Event Denmark and is sponsored by SEIKO, Harboe Brewery, Böklunder, Pantaenius, Dinghy Shop Danmark and Key West.