The 2009 Skandia Sail For Gold Regatta at the London 2012 Olympic sailing venue brought the inaugural ISAF Sailing World Cup series to a conclusion with the host nation celebrating a run of successes. Two Paralympic and three Olympic World Cup titles went to Skandia Team GBR, who ended the 2008-2009 World Cup with 13 gold, 15 silver and 14 bronze medals to top the Medal Table and win the World Cup Nations Trophy. Spain also enjoyed fantastic success on the final day in Weymouth with three World Cup titles won. Also celebrating was the US team, who added the Laser Radial World Cup title to the SKUD18 Paralympic title won yesterday. Completing the list of World Cup-winning nations were Denmark, France and Portugal.
Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout of The Netherlands finished fourth in the Women’s 470 class Medal Race to ensure they took the regatta gold. The pair, who have only been sailing together since May, have now won all three regattas they have contested, including the World Championships.
Berkhout said, “We had a really bad first day, but then we got the hang of the wind and we got some pretty good results. It was nice to finish like this.”
Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie of New Zealand took silver and there was further success for the host nation Great Britain, with Pippa Wilson and Saskia Clark (GBR) winning bronze. Clark said, “It’s been a fantastic week, we’ve really, really enjoyed sailing here. Every day we’ve sailed we’ve got better and better.”
The World Cup title was already secure for the Danish pair of Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer. Second-place overall in the World Cup went to the experienced French crew of Ingrid Petitjean and Nadège Douroux, with Spain’s Junior World Champions Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos taking third.
There was another gold medal for the Dutch in the Match Racing, when Renee Groeneveld, Annemieke Bes and Brechtje Van Der Werf beat the Skandia Team GBR crew of Lucy Macgregor, Annie Lush and Ally Martin by 2-1 to take gold.
“This is a new team, so we didn’t really know what to expect, but we’ve done a good job in training and we’ve been learning fast this summer,” Groeneveld said. “We’re very happy. This is the last World Cup of the year and it’s a nice way to go into the winter.”
Macgregor said, “We’re delighted with the result, but we were a bit frustrated with our racing, although we pulled together well as a team.
“Today the wind was lighter and we weren’t quite as strong in those conditions.”
Whilst they finished second today, Macgregor and her team secured the World Cup title ahead of Groeneveld, with fellow Brits Mary Rook, Bethan Carden and Kate Macgregor taking third.
Laser Radial Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) and her crew of Molly Vandemoer and Alice Manard beat 2007 and 2008 World Champion Claire Leroy (FRA) and her crew of Elodie Bertrand and Marie Riou 2-1 in the battle for bronze.
For Tunnicliffe it was a double celebrate as the US skipper already had the Laser Radial World Cup title wrapped up before Weymouth.
Whilst the Radial battle in Weymouth could not affect the top of the World Cup Standings, there was still plenty to battle for in Weymouth. Finland’s Sari Multala came second in the Laser Radial Medal Race to ensure she added gold at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta to the gold she won at the World Championships in Japan last month. She said: “It was pretty steady for me this week. I had one bad race, but I knew that would be my discard.
“Three years is a long time, but I’m hoping to be back in 2012,” she added.
Tina Mihelic of Croatia came in second overall in the World Cup Standings, whilst a late charge from Denmark’s Alberte Lindberg saw her jump up to third.
The final gold medal of the regatta went to Australia’s Tom Slingsby, who dominated the Laser class, winning five of the eight races to ensure he had already secured gold going into the Medal Race. In the event, the Medal Race was abandoned just before the start when the wind dropped.
“It definitely wasn’t easy,” he said. “The conditions here suit my style of sailing. In Australia you grow up to live with strong winds. It’s natural and you feel comfortable.
“It’s such a great venue with big winds and big waves, but it’s very challenging,” he said.
Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus confirmed his status as a rising star of the class by finishing in second. He said, “I really liked Weymouth, but it just didn’t happen for me.”
Austria’s Athens silver medallist Andreas Geritzer won bronze. Britain's Nick Thompson won the overall ISAF World Cup series ahead of the Croatian duo of Daniel Miheli? and Tonci Stipanovi?.
ISAF Sailing World Cup
The ISAF Sailing World Cup 2008-2009 consists of the following events:
16-21 Dec 2008 – Sail Melbourne The Asia Pacific Regatta, Melbourne, Australia
25-31 Jan 2009 – US SAILING’s Rolex Miami OCR, Miami, USA
4-10 April 2009 – Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia MAPFRE, Palma, Spain
18-24 April 2009 – Semaine Olympique Francaise, Hyeres, France
27-31 May 2009 – Delta Lloyd Regatta, Medemblik, Netherlands
20-28 June 2009 – Kieler Woche, Kiel, Germany
14-19 Sept 2009 – Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta, Weymouth, Great Britain