Austrians bounce back from illness

Day 4 of the Forward WIP 49er, 49erFX and Nacra 17 European Championships was frustrating for many, but a very successful day for one of the local Austrian teams, 49er sailors Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl.

A few days ago Hussl was so ill he was unable to keep any food down and had to sit out the first day of competition. Bildstein sailed with the team coach and didn’t do too badly. But the Austrians were outside the top 10. Today, in light winds on Lake Attersee, Bildstein and Hussl bounced back with two very impressive scores in the first Gold Fleet heats. A score of 3,4 lifts the Austrians to 5th overall. “We also have the lowest score counting all races including our discard,” said Bildstein. “That could be important when you’re racing on an Austrian lake.” While they are 10 points away from the lead with the discard taken into account, they hold a 3 point advantage when all races are counted.

Leading the competition for the first time are the up and coming Dutch team of Bart Lambriex and Pim van Vugt, recently confirmed for their ticket to the Olympic Games next July. Despite a 27th in the second race of the tricky afternoon, a 4th in the early heat puts them 3 points ahead of Germany’s Tim Fischer and Fabian Graf in second overall. Despite a very disappointing day with scores of 22,13 in the 30-boat Gold Fleet,  Šime and Mihovil Fantela of Croatia still only slide to third overall and just 5 points from the leader. “We were out of phase with the wind today,” smiled Šime, looking relaxed and ready to get back in phase on Saturday.

This morning, heavy fog lay like a thick duvet across the lake, with visibility not much more than a hundred metres. As some good breeze arrived, the fog swiftly cleared and the Silver Fleets of the 49er and 49erFX set sail for two swift races in good Force 2 to 3 breezes. The Nacra 17 catamarans departed immediately after the Silver Fleets had cleared the launching ramps, but already the seemingly solid breeze was starting to fade. Unfortunately for the Nacras, a few moves around the lake to find better breeze never amounted to anything, and no races were completed. This means the Olympic Champions from Argentina, Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, continue to hold the overall lead ahead of the reigning World Champions, Great Britain’s John Gimson and Anna Burnet.

It was little better for the 49erFX fleet who started one race and got part way down the first run before the race was abandoned. They too returned to shore without a Gold Fleet result on the scoreboard. Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke of Germany hold the lead in this fleet.

Everyone is wishing for better breeze for the final two days of competition. As with Kiel Week three weeks earlier, there are no Medal Races on the final day. The aim is to give all competitors as many races as possible, a commodity that no one is taking for granted in the Covid 19 era.