Norway move to the top in close FX battle

Norway edges past Italy in the 49erFX Gold Fleet, while New Zealand closes in on the Austrians at the top of the 49er standings…

49ers: Narrow escape for the French

A gold fleet race win for Isaac McHardie and Will McKenzie has lifted the New Zealanders to second overall in the 49er Europeans. Finally the crews were able to get on to the trapeze as the thermal breeze kicked in late in the afternoon.

Benjamin Bildstein and David Hussl from Austria continue to cling on to the overall lead by three points from the Kiwis after scoring a 2,11 in the marginal trapezing conditions. Biggest risers of the day were Luca Rual and Emile Amoros were third in the first gold fleet race and followed up with a well-earned bullet in the next.

Port Tack Investment

The French put themselves well on the way to victory by starting on port tack at the committee boat behind the bulk of the fleet starting on starboard. “We thought there was stronger wind on the right-hand side so that’s why we started on port, and it’s great when a plan works out like that,” said Amoros afterwards.

However, when the French stepped ashore in Vilamoura Marina there was a measurement inspection of their boat and a protest pending for a potential breach of class rules. Having risen from 14th to 4th overall after two excellently executed races on the water, it was set to be a nervous evening for Rual and Amoros as they waited to find out the jury’s decision and whether those results would stand. Fortunately, it was only a 2% penalty for the illegal tape on their jib leech, which dropped them just one place down to 5th overall. It could have been a lot worse.

Just ahead of the French are the reigning World Champions Bart Lambriex and Floris van der Werken. In third overall are the Polish crew, Dominik Buksak and Szymon Wierzbicki, who survived the day with an unspectacular 4th and 15th.

Ireland pass Belgium in Olympic race

Suffering a tumble down the rankings and falling out of top spot for the one Olympic qualifying spot available from this championship are the Belgian team of Yannick Lefèbvre and Jan Heuninck whose scores of 23rd and 12th have dropped them from 7th to 14th overall.

Meanwhile the Irish have moved into Olympic pole position after scores of 10th and 2nd launched Robert Dickson and Sean Waddilove up into 6th overall. Closest threat for the Olympic ticket are the Italians, Simone Ferrarese and Leonardo Chistè who have risen to 10th overall and are 10 points behind the Irish.

49erFX: Norway last but first

Even though they finished in last place in the opening Gold Fleet race, Norwegians Helene Næss and Marie Ronningen have taken the overall lead in the 49erFX European Championships. The Norwegians made amends with a respectable 7th place in the second of two races in the late afternoon, but the real reason they moved into the lead was a fall from form by the Italians, Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi.

Having kept all their scores inside the top 6 during the qualifying phase, the intensity of Gold Fleet led to a different outcome for the Italians who picked up an expensive 20th and 19th from the afternoon. Even so, they are still in second overall and well ahead in the race for the one FX Olympic qualification spot available from this regatta.

Norway, Helene and Marie wearing the yellow jersey
Norway, Helene and Marie wearing the yellow jersey

Singapore success

One of the strongest performances of the day came from Singapore’s Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low whose finishes of 5th and 4th have pushed them up to fifth overall.

Best racers of the FX fleet were the French duo, Sarah Steyaert and Charline Picon who were 6th in the first race and won the next to move up to sixth overall, three points behind Singapore.

Up and Down for the Schmidt sisters

Most extreme performance came from the Danish sisters, Johanne and Andrea Schmidt. “We won the first race but we were last in the second race,” frowned Johanne. “I would rather we had scored two 10ths than what we did today. We thought it was extreme conditions today so we decided to go extreme in the first race and it worked out for us. Then in the next the breeze had picked up and we decided to go more conservative, but we ended up with nothing. We should have stayed extreme.”

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