Thirty teams awoke with unease in their bellies on this final day of the 2016 Junior World Championship. The format put each set of teams ranked 8th through 15th into a semi final, with one advancing to join teams 1 through 7 already guaranteed a spot in the finals.
First up were the 49erFX semi’s, a 3 race series with initial ranking also counting. Danes Katrine Bendix Krogh and Christina Andersen surged into the final by scoring three straight second place finishes in the stadium racing while the leaders struggled. The Danish duo advanced to the final where they had a couple ok races before winning the last race to finish the regatta in sixth overall.
Overnight leaders Bart Lambriex and Philip Meijer of the Netherlands had a dicey start to the finals with a sixth place in the first race, but then won the second race to get back on top of the leaderboard. The final race of the championship ended up being a nail biter, as Lambriex/Meijer struggled back in sixth position while surging Italians Raggio / Bergamaschi scored a second straight 2nd place. In the end, the leaders initial ranking served them well and they claimed the championship by a single point.
“We are really proud. The short race course was really hard and the wind was picking up in the last race so we had to switch fast. In the second race we managed to secure this Junior World Champion title.”
With four boats out of eight in the finals, it is fitting to have a Dutch team win on home waters. The unique training academy style used in holland is obviously having an effect. They have almost a dozen young sailors training together in 49erFX who will eventually distribute out into 49er, 49erFX and the Nacra 17, but for now they get a very competitive training environment in fast boats and rotate crew match ups through training.
Next up was the 49er Semi Final. The eighth place team from GBR lead a group of 8 chasers all looking for the single berth into the 49er Final. Hawkins and Thomas (GBR) opened up the series with a win, and then held on with a 5th and 6th to score 13 points only just managing to hold off the three other teams vying for the win. Silen and Silen from Finland also finished on 13th points after a 3, 2, 2 while Westberg with Boman (SWE) and Janezic with Podlogoar (SLO) both finished on 14 points. The tie break in these mini series is who was ranked higher leading into the final, so based on their qualifying scores, the Brits advanced to the final, by the smallest of margins!
Well ahead in the standings were the two skippers Fischer! Erwan Fischer with Julien Thibault (FRA) had a fantastic qualifying series, and was out of reach from all in the fleet except for the other Fischer, Tim Fischer with Fabian Graf from Germany. These two had their large lead removed by the scoring method of this final series, but it did not take long for the two teams to separate themselves again from the pack.
The first race saw the German Fischer winning with French Fischer take second, putting the two teams 7 points ahead of the remaining pack. All six other teams were in a virtual lock between 10 and 13 points with two races remaining. In the second race the French duo took another good score, with a second while the Germans were back in 4th opening up a 2 point gap plus a discard for the French. It would take the Germans leading the French with 3 boats in between to change the result. The French were having none of it however, claiming the final win of the regatta to clinch the championship!