Weymouth And Portland World Cup Wraps Up - Martine Soffiatti Grael and Kahena Kunze, BRA, Women's Skiff (49erFX) on day four of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland.
Issued on behalf of ISAF Sailing World Cup
ISAF Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland wrapped up on Sunday with ten Medal Races deciding the podium finishers, Abu Dhabi World Cup Final qualifiers and prize money recipients.
The day started off light from a northern direction with the Nacra 17 fleet getting the first racing in. Following a short postponement whilst the wind shifted the race action got going again and culminated in some tense Medal Race action.
Brought to a worldwide audience on TV and online – watch the race action again here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQ8hlJyeqxk
Giles Scott (GBR) kept Josh Junior (NZL) at bay in the Finn to extend his unbeaten run. There was just six points of separation in advance of the Medal Race and the Briton forced the Kiwi down the back of the pack in an intriguing race.
The pair were close throughout and both were penalised with penalty turns. With the pair at the rear of the fleet, Scott stayed on top of Junior to keep him at bay. Even though Junior came through in ninth compared to Scott's tenth, it was enough for another Finn gold for Scott. Junior settled for silver with Andrew Murdoch (NZL) taking bronze.
"It feels good, I'm very relieved,” said a relaxed Scott, "It was a bit of a stressful race out there. Both Kiwis were right on my tail and I didn't make it easy getting a yellow flag and a penalty turn.
"I thought I was in a good position up the first beat but then the jury came in and gave me a penalty, which really livened it up.
"It's always a nice way to win to come out in a match race situation and come out on top but they can be a little bit stressful.”
Stu McNay and Dave Hughes (USA) sealed gold in style in the Men's 470. They took a comfortable Medal Race victory to finish 21 points ahead of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS).
"It feels awesome and it is a good return for both of us and a great way to close it out,” commented Hughes.
McNay added, "We have been knocking on the door for a while and it is great when hard work pays off. We have been sailing a lot and working with each other a lot in this and other classes and it feels good to close out this regatta.”
The Americans have been consistently at the top of the pack throughout the week with only a 17th looking out of place from eight top five results.
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) finished eighth in the Medal Race to take silver whilst Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis (GRE) advanced to third overall after Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) finished tenth in the Medal Race.
The last time Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) and Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) did battle in a Women's 470 Medal Race in Weymouth and Portland it was for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Aleh and Powrie came out victorious then but the roles were reversed at the ISAF Sailing World Cup regatta. Mills and Clark stayed ahead of the Kiwis throughout the duration of the race and with their fourth, compared to the Kiwis fifth, they sealed the deal.
"I think we still feel gutted after the [Olympic] Games that we basically lost control of that race and it was a bit passive and there was no race,” commented Clark.
"We were definitely up for a fight today and having a good race and a good battle. We were strict on ourselves about what we wanted to do and we managed to pull it off.”
Aleh and Powrie were forced to make do with silver whilst bronze went the way of Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol (SLO) following a second in the Medal Race.
First up on the day, the Nacra 17 had to contend with some light breeze on a changing race course. It was a game of patience where calm heads were required.
Keeping their cool were overnight leaders Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin (AUS). The Aussies kept things tight and a third was enough for gold, "It's been a pretty tricky week. We had pretty nice breeze for the first couple of days so that was fun but there were lots of shifts and big pressure lines out there.
"Today was a little bit of a change of pace, nice and slow but still just as stressful.”
Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI) were ready to pounce on the Aussies if they slipped up. Waiting in the wings they came through directly behind Waterhouse and Darmanin which handed them silver.
Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS) were in top form and came through in second. This was enough to promote them up into bronze medal position after Thomas Zajac and Tanja Frank (AUT), who occupied the final podium spot overnight, were on the course side at the start and penalised with 22 points added to their tally.
Italy's Flavia Tartaglini won gold in the Women's RS:X after overnight leader Isobel Hamilton (GBR) sailed the wrong course.
Instead of heading to the leeward gate in advance of the finish she missed it and went straight to the finish line. Upon noticing her error she was forced to retire which dropped her out of the medals.
For the Italian, it was pure joy and a second behind race winner Bryony Shaw (GBR) gave her gold, "It was a really tough race and we were really close with points,” commented Tartaglini.
"We were all really close so it was all about the Medal Race. It was really exciting. The four people who could win were all together around the first mark so it was a straight race between the four of us.”
With Hamilton out of the equation, Shaw's bullet handed her a silver medal. Tuuli Petaja (FIN) came through in bronze.
Great Britain's Nick Dempsey rounded off a solid week of action with a third in the Medal Race to seal gold. The Briton rarely finished out of the top two throughout the week and was rightly rewarded.
"For me the event has really gone to plan. It's been six or seven weeks since the last World Cup in Hyeres and I didn't do so well there so I wanted to get out on the water and perform again,” commented Dempsey, silver medallist at London 2012.
Dempsey's compatriot Tom Squires (GBR) had a medal sewn up in advance of the Medal Race with the colour to be decided. A ninth kept him in silver medal position, 18 points off Dempsey.
The battle for bronze was far from straight forward. A number of competitors had the opportunity to seize it but Cho Wonwoo (KOR) managed to get the job done with a bullet. For Mattia Camboni (ITA) it was heartbreak as he finished on the same points as the Korean, missing out via countback.
The odds were heavily stacked in Marit Bouwmeester's (NED) favour in the Laser Radial after a commanding week of racing.
She held a 15 point advantage over Evi Van Acker (BEL) and only a near disaster could have seen her knocked off her perch. She sailed well, finishing fourth which was more than enough for gold.
"It has been a really good week for me,” commented Bouwmeester. "I had some steady results and I was happy to take it in today during the Medal Race.
"I had five first places and two seconds and that was my best scorecard ever, so I am very pleased with that, that's results wise but todays sailing was a little less brilliant and still a lot to work on.”
Van Acker took the Medal Race victory to confirm silver.
The race for bronze was little bit more tense with plenty of equations possible. Alison Young (GBR) held the spot overnight however a great performance from Anne-Marie Rindom catapulted her into bronze. Rindom's second enabled her to remove Young who managed a seventh.
It was a tense finale in the Laser with toos and fros aplenty.
Anything was possible with a number of competitors mathematically in with a chance of taking the medals.
Germany's Phillipp Buhl clinched gold in the nerve racking race. He finished in third but had Tom Burton (AUS) to thank for him taking gold after he finished in between Buhl and Matt Wearn (AUS). Wearn needed to make up one more spot to pick up gold but Burton held him off on the run to the finish ensuring he missed out by a single point, resulting in silver.
After racing Buhl said, "For myself, the discard in the second race [a 28] made it hard for me to get a medal but I managed to stay consistent through the week and in with a chance for the Medal Race. It turned out to be a gold one which is incredibly surprising.
"The World Cup in Weymouth has been better than ever of course for me. It's been nice weather with sun and wind, and not too cold like other years. It's been a good advert for the event and the venue."
Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) had led overnight but struggled in the Medal Race, taking a seventh to complete the podium.
Pavlos Kontides (CYP) had work to do to push into the podium spots and could only sail his own game and rely on the results. He took the Medal Race victory but ended up three points shy of Stipanovic.
Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) took a stylish gold in the 49erFX by taking the Medal Race victory.
The Brazilians, World #1 and 2014 ISAF Rolex World Sailors of the Year, trailed overnight leaders Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) heading into the Medal Race. They concentrated all their efforts on themselves, sailing their own race from the front.
Not worrying about the pack behind them they took the bullet by 39 seconds and had an anxious wait after they took the bullet. Victory was confirmed when Maloney and Meech crossed the line in ninth.
On the day Kunze said, "We could have finished anywhere from first to fourth today depending on the positions of the Medal Race. We thought we had to put about four or five boats between us and the Kiwis and we weren't sure at the end if we had done it and we were just waiting for them to finish before we realised.
"Both us and the Kiwis had a good and pretty consistent week. We are really happy.”
Maloney and Meech picked up silver and Maloney was left frustrated after racing, "We just didn't get the shift right today and we couldn't stay with our competitors which was a bit of a mistake and we just let the Brazilians get away from us.
"It was a pretty nice week sailing in Weymouth, we got some pretty good races in but we had a disappointing Medal Race and we can learn lot from it.”
Spain's Tamara Echegoyen and Berta Betanzos (ESP) completed the podium.
Starting the day with an 18 point cushion, New Zealand's Peter Burling and Blair Tuke had a number of options of how they could tactically approach the Medal Race.
The Kiwi's decided that staying close to their nearest rivals was the best way to go as Burling explained, "We had a little bit to do, but we had a little bit of a points gap on second so the game plan was to try and stay close to them, and we managed to put together a relatively solid result.”
Their chosen tactics worked, and their closest rivals were fellow countrymen and training partners Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski who finished a place behind in seventh.
Burling was 'stoked' with the result and the gold medal, but was even happier that they had their mates standing next to them on the podium.
Taking the bullet and sealing bronze were Great Britain's John Pink and Stuart Bithell.
Next up for the competitors is ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao which takes place from 14-20 September 2015.
Photo : onEdition