Gold fleet racing got under way and the Danes are showing their depth so far. Jena Hansen and Katja Iversen are picking up where they left off in Clearwater by leading the pack. Jena and Katja took scores of 1, 10, 16 putting them three points up on team mates Maiken and Anne-Julie Schutt. The Schutt sisters did slightly better on the day with a 6, 1, 11 to sit in second. The third Danish team of Ida Nielsen and Marie Olsen were on the best day of all with a 2, 2 before a difficult final race score of 24 dropped them down the leaderboard for what otherwise could have been a Danish treble.
“It has been a ruff day, mentally. The race committee did three good races even with lots of big wind shift, so it was fun and challenging. It was also frustrating at times, and playing it safe wasn’t always the right thing to do today. You had to go extreme to win races. We found ourselves in the middle trying to play it safe, and that got us in the middle of the fleet. So tough day, but learned a lot… it’s a weird feeling though. The worst day (today) we had we and we are first. The best day we had and we were fourth,” Jena Hansen explained. It’s a common feeling with conservatism so en-vogue with Olympic coaches. Prudence, conservatism, and perceived risk reduction are always high on the wish list for coaches instructions, yet there are clearly days when under tacking and half measures are the second best strategy.
On the team front, many countries are trying the squad technique to turn out the best performances in sailing, but it does not always work out. This group of Danes, however, is really showing squads at their best. Lead by former 49er star Peter Hansen, this group of 49erFX sailors are always together and are amazing friends as well as team mates and competitors. They genuinely want the best for each other and believe to their cores that success of the group is more important than individual success. “It’s the best feeling to show all the other countries that they should watch it. The Danes intend to show they are the best. It’s so motivating. Cause you know you have to do your best all the time if we should be the once getting the spots for the Olympics,” exclaimed Jena (with too many emoticons to publish here in this short article;)
Scoring the fewest points on the day were the Dutch crew of Annemiek Bekkering and Annette Duetz scoring only 15 points for the day, a 5, 9, 1. They chose the perfect timing as the Princess Sofia Trophy is the second half of their Olympic selection trials and they must finish 7 places higher than fellow Dutchmen Nina Kietzer and Claire Blom. So far they are in position, but there is a lot more racing to come and all of the points are close right now.
Conditions were again un-typical for Palma with offshore winds instead of the typical sea breeze. Also moving up the standings were brits Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth who scored 16 points on the day to move into 5th overall.
In Silver fleet is the fight to get a spot at the 2015 Sailing World Cup Hyeres. With only one 49erFX team getting their spot in Gold, the remaining 10 spots up for grabs are in Silver fleet. It’s easier to pull out the qualified teams than list the unqualified teams, so the top 10 teams in the standings not counting the following will earn spots on Hyeres.
- NOR – Agerup
- SIN – Khng
- FIN – Kutbay
- GBR – MacGregor
In the 49er Fleet it was more of the same at the very top of the leaderboard with Kiwi sensations Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) well down the path to yet another victory. Their scores today were 1, 2, 1, with only second place overall Erik Heil and Thomas Ploessel (GER) managing to take one win from the leading duo. “Good day for us, great to get racing in gold fleet again with the top 25 boats. Really tricky to pick but we managed to do it quite nicely in the first two races,” said Tuke, clearly enjoying the racing. “The third race it would be fair to say we got a little lucky at the top of the first upwind leg we got a left shift which moved us from around 10h-15th into 3rd, from there we chipped away to take another win.” The rest of the 49er fleet must be trembling to think that Pete and Blair are both good and lucky, very tough combo to beat.
Erik and Tommy are in great shape so far as well with the 4, 1, 4 day and then it’s a huge jump back to third place and beyond. It’s really close in points for the rest of the gold fleet, and the remaining two days of Gold fleet sailing will see plenty of changes as teams fight it out for inclusion in the medal race and onto the podium.
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