Thursday, 27 May 2010

Delta Lloyd Regatta: Tactical racing for Delta Lloyd Regatta opening day

Womens Match Racing on day one, © Sander van der Borch.

by Diana Bogaards

Shifty but increasing wind has provided for tactical racing during the opening day of the 2010 Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, 5th event in the Sailing World cup.

The first half of the Opening Round robin has been completed with 4 matches sailed by the 24 crews in the Women match racing. The teams of MacGregor (GBR), Roca (ESP), Skudina (RUS) and Groeneveld (NED) succeeded in winning all their matches.

After four races in the 49er, the young British team of Dave Evans and Ed Powis is leading the fleet. They are 5 points from the World Number 1, Manu Dyen and Stéphane Christidis (FRA) who won the third race:

`The conditions were very tough today, the wind was shifty and there was lots of pressure difference on the racing area which can result in great speed difference. In the 49er, you need to be very reactive and be ready to take quick decisions.`

The French pair has started the year by claiming both the Rolex Miami OCR and the Trofeo Sofia Mapfre in Palma. They are ready to claim another Sailing world Cup title:

`We were tired in Hyeres and didn`t perform our best. We hope to regain our earlier good form and be ready for the European Championship in Poland next July. We will be racing also in Kiel and hope to do well to claim the Sailing World Cup title.`

The French are second in the Sailing World Cup standings, behind the Austrians Delle-Karth/Resch.

After two races, ISAF Sailing World Cup leaders, Eivind Melleby and Petter Morland Pedersen (NOR) are leading the Star fleet. After winning the Rolex Miami OCR and Hyères week, the Norwegian have set their objective this year in winning the new Olympic classes circuit. With 16 boats in the Dutch event, the level is higher and racing today proved challenging.

`Some of the top teams are back in the circuit. The Polish (Mateusz Kusznierewicz and crew Dominik Zycki) are very strong and won the first race. We were leading at the top mark but the pressure left and we fell into a hole with nearly no wind. The fleet caught up. In the second race we chose the wrong side, we came back slowly, gaining one boat at a time to place second to Marin Lovrovic and Sinisa Mikulicic (CRO).`

After a long break, Mateusz Kusznierewicz and Dominik Zycki (POL) are back in the international circuit:

`We like to come and race in the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik. This year we have decided to take it easy and sail only three events. This is the first one this year and we are still a bit rusty. We have made some small changes to our boat and need to test them before the Star European Championship early June.`

The Polish are second overall after taking the first race and placing 5th in the second.

`We were leading the first race but collected a penalty and dropped to 5th. We managed to pass two boats and got lucky on the finish when the top two boats crossed the line on the wrong side!`

49er race start, © Sander van der Borch.

The wind increasing throughout the day provided the best conditions ever this year for the Finn sailors.

`This is the first event when we race on the first day!` commented Beijing Silver medallist Zach Rayley (USA).

`This is the first time this year that my legs are aching! The first windy day!` announced Rafa Trujillo (ESP), with a big smile.

The Spanish, sailed a near perfect day collecting a bullet in the first race and finishing second in the next. Railey took the second race and the second position overall, one point from Miami and Palma winner, Ed Wright (GBR).

Nic Hasher and Elliott Willis (GBR) are leading the 470 men with consistent results (1-2-4) over German team of Wagner/Scheufler.

`It was a really good day for us.`, commented Asher. `The wind was pretty shifty with a few big holes but we stayed pretty conservative in our approach, stayed towards the middle of the course and didn�t make any big mistakes.`

`It was good to have some speed out there, we`re trying some new things and we`ve got a new boat for this event which we`ve done a few days of training in down in Weymouth. It`s all going well so far a long way to go yet though!`

Defending champion, Marit Bouwmeester (NED) is leading the Laser radial after two victories and a fourth. �On this kind of day, you have to stay close to the other boats. The conditions were hard and the wind wasn`t clear. I didn`t have a strategy, I was careful to react to the wind shift and go along with what happen. I have a good speed downwind so that helped me a lot.`

Veronika Fenclova (CZE) and Evi van Acker (BEL) are on equal points in second and third place respectively.

2009 RS:X Vice World Champion, Nimrod Mashiah (ISR) enjoyed today`s conditions with a five points score after three races sailed in the two RS:X groups. He is two points ahead of Alexandre Guyader (FRA) and current World Champion, Nick Dempsey (GBR).

The RS:X women raced late and results are not yet available.

In top form after winning Hyeres, the French team of Emmanuelle Rol and Hélène de France is holding a close lead over Dutch team Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout on equal points with Penny Clark and Katrina Hughes (GBR).

`The first race was very shifty and you had to be very careful. The wind increased by the third race and everybody enjoyed it.` explained the French duo. `The Delta Lloyd Regatta last year was our first event together and we finished second!`

With top results collected in the start of the season and a victory at the Semaine Olympique Francaise, the French pair is proving again to be amongst the favourites for the title.

The 2.4 fleet in Medemblik is probably one of the most challenging from all the SWC events to date. With 18 boats and 8 countries. The IFDS World Championship in Medemblik next July has motivated top sailors to attend the Delta Lloyd Regatta to gain some good practice on the Ijsselmeer. With the Sonar not included in the event, many Sonar sailors have decided to race in the 2.4., like John Robertson from Great Britain.

Dutch sailor Thierry Schmitter has made the most of the training sessions in Medemblik with the Dutch team, winning two races and leading the scoreboard: `Training here did make the difference today. Racing was tricky, real Ijsselmeer conditions. The waves were short and steep and plenty of wind shifts. If you miss the first one you are gone!`

Same comment for French Damien Seguin who has found the conditions pretty testing, especially in such a low boat. `The waves here make it hard; this place is very different from other racing area.` The French, who places second after three races, has raced his first event in Medemblik in 2002 for the World Championship where he took Silver.

The two Laser groups were last to finish. Trofeo Princesa Sofia Mapfre winner, Javier Hernandez is leading the fleet from Australian Tom Slingsby and Mattias del Solar (CHI).

Sailing will resume on Thursday with the last chance for classes racing in groups to qualify for the Gold fleet. The Women Match racers will finish the opening round robin.

Unfortunately, the wind which had been increasing all evening will be very light on Thursday.

Delta Lloyd Regatta