Graels Take 5 of 7 Races on the Day!

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze, BRA 12, had an epic day on the water winning all 4 races held in the 2014 49erFX Seiko North American Championships.  Bother Marco then went out and won his first ever international race!  In fluky, shifty, and puffy conditions they had the magic to work through what ever the fleet and mother nature could throw at them.  4 races were scheduled for each of the 49erFX and 49er fleets, with the 49erFX kicking off proceedings first.

There is a variety of ‘as live’ content available from the day.

The first 3 races of the day, races 4 through 6 for the 49erFX, went like clockwork for the Brazilians, Grael and Kunze.  They lead at every mark, even though each races played out differently from the others.  They started well, sailed the quickly on the lifted tack, and had solid maneuvers.  Then in race 7, they were placed under a lot of pressure by having a poor start.  They managed to salvage a reasonable first mark rounding but many of the other favorites were ahead of them through to the final downwind.  We caught the last downwind on video as they picked the right gusts and managed to sail inside and through the leaders to win their amazing 4th race of the day, and 6 race in a row!  Martine commented, “I still don’t know how, I almost don’t believe it, it’s too good to be true.”  Here is the full interview.

Also sailing well on the day were Sarah Steyeart & Julie Bossard (FRA), and Noora Ruskola & Camilla Cedarcruz (FIN).  These teams along with the Brazilians managed 4 tops 10’s on the day, a great feat in a fleet of 30 boats!  The Danish teams of Jena & Katja and Ida & Marie also each had 3 good races.  These teams have all moved up the leaderboard, but moved farther away from Championship hopes.  Tomorrow being the final day, it’s likely all these teams are now vying for podium finishes rather than the outright win, although the French are within striking distance at only 14 points back.

By the time the 49erFX racing was done, the breeze had really faded away to the point the RC were worried about getting races in.  The 49er sailors were lucky, however, and the breeze picked back up again and was windiest of the day in their first race, race 4 of the event.  Jonas Warrer, sailed really nicely from both pin and boat ends of the start line.  Marco Grael & Gabrien Borges (BRA) won their first ever international race, and the Japanese team won the final race of the day with some great display of being able to find the pressure!  The RC called the day after only 3 races for the 49er class as the breeze died back down again.  The intensity of the racing was very high, and we can expect that with such a tightly bunched leaderboard that will continue through day 3, the final day of the regatta.

There was only 1 general recall for the 49er on the day, but each of the starts was very intense as teams fought to get off the line and into clear air.  For any sailors interested in how the best fight for position, the starting sequences on youtube are must see’s.

Jonas Warrer & Peter Lang of Denmark had a very solid day today and now take the lead with an 11 point advantage over GBR’s Jon Pink and Stuart Bithel.  Close behind is Julien D’Ortoli, who was really concentrating on winning the favored ends of the line today.  We watched him battle for the favored end in each race, and while he did get caught up at times, he obviously trusts his starting skills – always looking to own the most coveted real estate.

Matthieu Frei & Yann Rocherieux (FRA) and Brad Funk & Trevor Bird (USA – Funky-Bird) both had solid days, with all top 10’s, and Brad now moves into the top position of all North American’s in that battle.  There are 3 more races scheduled for tomorrow, and the 49er podium is still well in play.