Dutch and Australians claim top medals in Medemblik
With six medals each, the Dutch and the Australians are claiming most medals in the Delta Lloyd regatta with Holland taking four Golds in the 2.4, Women 470, Laser radial and Women Match Racing.
The first medal race saw the 49ers creating the show with the top four boats battling for the medals in windy conditions. The wind was shifty and gusty with places changing constantly. The new Zealanders took the control of the small fleet at the first bottom mark and were in Silver medal position but a capsize after rounding the top mark again cost them the second position overall. The chase between the Australians Outteridge/Jensen and the British leaders Stevie Morrison and Ben Rhodes, was a race within the race. The Irish Ryan Seaton and Matthew McGovern won the medal race and with the Australians finishing in fourth, only two places in front of the leaders, it was not enough for them to take Gold. Morrison/Rhodes (GBR) take the Gold with the defending champions, Outteridge/Jensen in Silver and the unlucky New-Zealanders in third. “It was tight out there, the Australians did well in the breeze. It was close racing with lots of shifts and it was important for us to avoid penalties so keep far enough but not too much.” commented Stevie Morrison soon after crossing the line.
The Finns saw a tight race and a second Gold medal for Great Britain. World Champion Ed Wright and regatta leader Ivan Kljakovic Gaspic started off with a dual between the leaders. On the run, Ed Wright sailed away and created the gap with the Croat. Wright needed to have a boat between himself and the World #1. Pieter Jan Postma picked up some good pressure and passed Gaspic, giving at the same time the Gold medal to Ed Wrigtht who won the Medal race by a large margin. The Brit joins his compatriots, Ben Ainslie and Giles Scott on the third step of the Sailing World Cup podium. “It was exciting to go out there this morning. I saw my friends win the 49ers and it was inspiring! I love these conditions and I was quite confident but you never know with the medal race. I van sailed really well this week and it was hard job to win this event.” declared Ed Wright (GBR).
Young Canadian Greg Douglas, have sailed today his first medal race. The 20 years old who competed in the last Olympics in the Laser for Barbados, vow that there will be more to come. “Medal race is very intense. The start was impressive with everybody 100% to take early advantage; it was tough.”Laser and Laser radial defending champions retain their title in the 2011 Delta Lloyd regatta. Tom Slingsby (AUS) offers a second Gold to Australians and defend his title in Medemblik. Despite a slow start into the Medal race, Slingsby caught up to speed, to finish in fourth place. Milan Vujasinovic (CRO) won the medal race with Bruno Fontes (BRA) close behind in second. The Brazilian conserves his silver medal and Roelof Bouwmeester (NED) Bronze. “In australia we like wind and waves! I often perform well here. I won last year and other years as well. I like Medemblik, I feel comfortable here.” The ISAF Sailor of the year was out of pace on the first beat but came up closer to his opponents: “I struggled to find rhythm in the shifts on the first beat but found my pace later in the race.”
A fourth place in the Medal race secured Gold for Marit Bouwmeester (NED) who retains her title. Evi Van Acker takes her third medal in the 2011 Sailing world cup circuit. After a Bronze in the Rolex Miami OCR and a Silver in Palma; the Belgium takes Silver in Medemblik. Xu Lija (CHN) who started the medal race in third position overall, went from leading the medal race to the 9th place, after a capsize that ended her chance for medal. A sixth place for Tina Mihelic (CRO) is enough for the Croat to take Bronze.
The podium remains unchanged in the RS:X men division after a windy medal race. Early leader Taehoon Lee displayed his strong skills in the breeze to take the medal race and his first Sailing World Cup title. First podium also for Canadian Zachary Plavsic who takes Silver. Second in Melbourne last December, Wang Aichen (CHN) takes the Bronze in the Delta Lloyd Regatta.
The wind had picked up when the RS:X women started their medal race. The strong breeze and waves proved tricky at times and provided many capsizes. Among them early leader Mayaan Davidovich (ISR) couldn't recover to finish the race and misses all chance for medal. Li Ling (CHN) who had started the day in second position, wins the Medal race by a big margin to claim the title. This is the first Sailing World Cup podium for Li Ling who placed fourth in Sail Melbourne last December. Two Australians complete the RS:X women podium. Veteran windsurfer, Jessica Crisp is taking her third Silver medal in Medemblik. The previous ones in 2004 and 2007 were taken in the Mistral raceboard. She is six points from Allison Shreeve (AUS) who takes Bronze medal.
The 2.4 sailed a last race on Sunday. Thierry Schmitter (NED) won all the races in the series. “This has never happened to me! Of course I am really happy but not sure if it is due to my skills or the competition.” One of his main opponent, Damien Seguin (FRA) missed the Delta Lloyd regatta as he was participating in an Ocean race in Normandy. Megan Pascoe (GBR)is taking Silver after posting a 3rd in the last race. Andre Rademaker (NED) is in 3rd overall.
Team Tunnicliffe (USA) wins the Women Match racing Petite Finale against Wang (CHN) 2-0. The actions and drama came from the finals in the Women Match racing opposing Groeneveld (NED) and Lehtinen (FIN). After Groeneveld (NED) won the first match with a tight finish the wind increased for the second match, a huge gust came and the Dutch boat nose dived, sending the two crew flying overboard. This was the end of the second race for the Dutch who had also ripped their jib. The Finnish won the second match and all was to be played in the last. The wind had already increased to over 30 knots when the last decisive match started. The Finnish covered the Dutch during the first two rounds when finally the Dutch could move away and went down the run on their own. A powerful gust propelled Groeneveld team towards the finish line and allowed them to pass the Finnish a mere seconds before the line.
The Olympic sailing world is now moving to Weymouth to prepare for the 6th Sailing World Cup event, staged on the Olympic arena from the 5th to the 11th of June.