Sunday 25 May 2014

Delta Lloyd Regatta : Eight Thrilling Races Conclude the 2014 Regatta

Gold and Bronze for New Zealand in the Laser class!

Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) win the hotly-contested Nacra 17 class. Image copyright Guilain Grenier/Delta Lloyd Regatta

by Delta Lloyd Regatta media

The 2014 Delta Lloyd Regatta came to a thrilling conclusion on Saturday 24, May with all classes completing their series, including eight medal races.

Already on Friday evening, Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign (GBR) had taken the gold in the 49er class after three exciting theatre style medal races just off from the harbour mouth.

On Saturday there were eight more medal races, nine final races for the remaining boats, six races for the Paralympic fleets, four races for the Moth class and the full round robin series for Kites. It was a very busy day in Medemblik with the wind changing from a nice 12-14 knots early on, to cloudy day with light winds and finally a nice breeze and sunshine to finish the day

First up, the Polish windsurfers, who have been making headlines all week, dominated the RS:X medal races, finishing top three in each and also filling both podiums. Pawel Tarnowski (POL) won the RS:X men and Zofia Klepacka (POL) the RS X women.

In the Laser races Sam Meech (NZL) overturned the form for the week to snatch gold, while Marit Bouwmeester (NED) secured Laser Radial gold. The 470s were next up with home team Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens (NED) taking gold in the women's 470. Then Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson (RSA) took a popular and historic win in the men's 470, their first ever win together.

Phillip Kasueske (GER) took gold in the Finn after a very close medal race with Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) and finally Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) took the Nacra 17 gold.

In the Paralympic classes, Megan Pascoe (GBR) closed out the 2.4 mR gold with a race to spare while Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) wrapped up gold after tight week in Skud 18. Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) didn't have the best day in the Sonar, but did enough to claim the gold.

In the two demonstration classes, Chris Rashley (GBR) won the Moth event while Oliver Bridge (GBR) took a very close win in the Kitesurfers.

The prizegiving was held at 18.00 in the old harbour in front of the Cafe Brakeboer, followed by a big party and live music.

The 2014 Delta Lloyd Regatta has been a great success, with generally fantastic weather, intense competition and worthy winners. Come back next year and find out what it is all about.

Pawel Tarnowski leads Polish podium in RS:X men

In the RS:X men, Pawel Tarnowski (POL) topped an all Polish podium after an exciting three lap medal race. Going into the race Tarnowski was on equal points with Louis Giard (FRA) while Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL) was four points behind. The planing conditions in the race clearly suited the Polish sailors who finished top three in the race with Piotr Myszka (POL) leading round the race from Tarnowski. Miarczynski eventually found his way up to third in the race, and overall, to take the bronze, while race winner Myszka took the silver. Tarnowski took the gold for the second year running. Giard finished seventh to drop to sixth, while home favourite Dorian van Rijsselberghe (NED), the 2012 Olympic champion, finished fourth in the race and overall.

Tarnowski said, “I have kept the title from last year and I'm really happy about that. It's nice to win and a very nice competition. We didn't have so many guys compared to last year but it was very tough and we had a lot of nice races. The organisation is cool and the weather is perfect.” On the Polish domination, “This is the most important thing. Three Polish guys on the podium.”

“The last race was quite fast. I had a good start, but was afraid I was OCS as someone was. Piotr was leading all the way. In the middle of the race we gained about 200 metres, so were safe, and in the last lap Przemyslaw beat the French sailor, so we were 1,2,3, so it was cool to get top three.”

Zofia Klepacka leads clean sweep by Poles in RS:X women

The Polish women also produced a clean sweep of podium places. Zofia Klepacka (POL) led into the race from Malgorzata Bialecka (POL) by 10 points with Kamila Smektala (POL) another three points back. Klepacka made no doubt of the title by winning the medal race as well with Smektala crossing second and Bialecka third. Klepacka had led round the top mark, but briefly lost the lead on the second lap before finishing strongly to lead her team mates over the finish line. This meant there was no overall change in the results after the medal race. Klapecka took gold by 14 points. Bialecka took the silver and Smektala the bronze.

Klepacka said, “Today the wind was really shifty. Very difficult conditions, but I am really happy to win. This is my third competition this year and it's going OK. We have a really strong team and the most important thing is that we are all friends. We compete on the water, but when we are back in we are friends and I think that is the key to our good results.”

Sam Meech (NZL) snatches gold in the Laser

Sam Meech (NZL) took a surprise win in the Laser fleet after overcoming the leader all week, Nicholas Heiner (NZL). Heiner started the day as favourite with a seven point lead over Meech, but it all went wrong at the start. Third placed Andy Malony (NZL) was 15 points behind Heiner, with three more boats within two points, so there was always going to be two races going on. Heiner started badly and when the wind decreased slightly had trouble catching up. Meech then got the better of Heiner and pushed him the wrong way, and then stayed ahead to snatch the gold medal. Heiner eventually finished last to take the silver while Mike Bullot (NZL), who started the day in fifth, won the race to take the bronze by two points.

Meech commented, “I knew it was going to be a really tough ask, given how well Nick was sailing all week, so I hoped I'd get an opportunity. There were a lot of really good guys quite close behind me as well, so I knew I had to keep a gap on them as well. I hoped I'd have the chance to send Nick the wrong way and I took it.”

“My experience here this year was a lot better than last year. The regatta is fantastically run. And the race management is awesome, so I'm really happy with my Delta Lloyd experience.”

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) makes sure of Laser Radial gold with a medal race win

Marit Bouwmeester (NED) made sure Dutch hopes were not dashed in the Laser Radial as well, leading from start to finish. She went into the race with a four point lead over Alicia Cebrian Martinez de Lagos (ESP) with Evi van Acker (BEL) another three points behind. Another five boats had the chance to win a medal. Van Acker was actually next best in the medal race to finish second and move up to the silver medal position. Manami Doi (JPN) started the day in fifth place, but a fourth in the medal race combined with Cebrian Martinez de Lagos finishing last, gave the young Japanese sailor the bronze.

“I’m so glad I won. Last year I was second. This is a great season. I won the World Cup in Mallorca, ended on the podium in the other two World Cups, and now I have won the Delta Lloyd Regatta. It was difficult today in the medal race. It was close sailing for the whole week. The wind was tricky, but it all went very well today’’, said Bouwmeester

Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens (NED) take gold in the women's 470

Michelle Broekhuizen and Marieke Jongens (NED) had dominated the 470 women all week and went into the medal race with an eight point lead from Afrodite Kyranakou and Anneloes van Veen (NED). The next four boats were within four points of each other, so there was the potential for some big changes, and that is how it played out. Anna Burnet and Flora Stewart (GBR) led for most of the medal race with Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) never far behind. The Dutch teams however were having problems especially Kyranakou and van Veen, who were at the back. At the finish Burnet and Stewart crossed first to take the bronze, Fahrni and Siegenthaler crossed second to take the silver and Broekhuizen and Jongens finished fourth to seal the gold. After being in second overall all week, Kyranakou and van Veen could only manage eighth and dropped to fourth.

Broekhuizen and Jongens started their campaign together last year in Medemblik. The Delta Lloyd Regatta 2014 was their sixth regatta in the 470. “We still have to learn a lot. The fleet here wasn’t that big, but we did well the whole week. We won four races and didn’t want to much risk in the medal race. This year we were at the World Cups in Palma and Hyeres. We brought those experiences with us to Medemblik. This is a great moment for us, but our big target is the Worlds in Santander."

Historic win for Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson (RSA) in the men's 470

The 470 men was wide open going into the medal race. Any of nine boats could theoretically have won a medal. Onan Barreiros Rodriguez and Juan Curbelo Cabrera (ESP) had a five point lead over Luke Patience and Elliot Willis (GBR) and Giulio Desiderato and Andrea Trani (ITA). On the first leg the British and Spanish teams splits sides, and at the top the right came in strong with Patience and Willis round clear ahead of Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson (RSA).

The Spanish were at the back and in trouble. Jim and Hudson took the lead downwind, but on the second beat, the Australians went further left and came back with a big lead at the top to lead to the finish. With three boats in contention for the gold down the final run, Jim and Hudson defended well to finish second and take the gold from Patience and Willis who crossed third. Hugo Feydit and Charlie Agenau (FRA) finished fourth to take the bronze.

A win in Medemblik marks the first event major win for Jim and Hudson as a team, exactly three years after they raced here for there first regatta in the 470 together. Jim said, “We knew we had to perform today. We have been doing really well in all the medal races we have done, and we knew we had pressure on us but we both love it.”

Hudson, “It's a big breakthrough for us. It's comes at a really nice time to motivate us, keep us rolling with our project, which is obviously a four year project for Rio. And it's wonderful to make this breakthrough. We 're having a few good regattas in a row and as we said at the beginning of the week we have a soft spot for this one because this is where we began our campaign three years ago so we are very happy to have a victory here and it's a nice moment to reflect briefly on what we have managed to archive so far.”

Phillip Kasueske (GER) wins Finn gold after very close medal race

Phillip Kasueske (GER) and Pieter Jan Postma (NED), 1-2 in the Finn Class. Image copyright Sander van der Borch

Things started very tight in the Finn class with Pieter-Jan Postma (NED) on equal points with early leader Phillip Kasueske (GER). Jake Lilley (AUS) was six points further back. Kasueske was the early leader after finding the best wind on the right, but it was all very tight. Round the gate they were very close, and while Kasueske favoured the left, Postma came back towards the middle of the fleet. It was all going to be about the final cross and the German crossed back with a three boatlength advantage. Postma attacked Kasueske all the way down the final run often closing up to under 10 metres. But in the end Kasueske was slightly faster and stayed in front to win the race and the gold. Postma finished second to take the silver, with Lilley in third for the bronze. Many home hopes were on Postma to win his first ever Delta Lloyd Regatta and many thought he would do it this year, so he broke many hearts, as well as his own.

Kasueske explained his race, “It was really close racing. PJ started on the left side and I started on the right and I was the first to tack to the right side and then I got a right shift and was in front. It got really tight at the marks but in the end I managed to defend.”

“When I came here I thought maybe a third or a fourth would be nice. So now I am first and am really happy with that. I've had a really good time here. I learned a lot with difficult and different conditions every day. I made some mistakes, but this was really helpful for my sailing career. I think in the end I made less mistakes than any one else.”

Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) take Nacra gold after medal race comeback

In the Nacra fleet, it was really a three boat race for the medals between Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA), Franck Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim (FRA) and Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis (AUS). Just 10 points separated them, while there was a 15 point gap to fourth. The skies had cleared again by the time this final meal race had started, and the fleet enjoyed some great conditions. The race was restarted when some cruising boats crossed the course but after the restart, Renee Groenveld and Steven Krol (NED) were the early leaders from Bundock and Curtis. The French were battling mid-fleet and finally pulled through the the front with Besson and Riou winning from Ingrid Petitjean Backes and Olivier Backes (FRA) and Matias Buhler and Nathalie Brugger (SUI).

Cammas and Sophie de Turckheim crossed in fourth to take the silver while Bundock and Nina Curtis dropped to sixth to win the bronze.

Riou said of the race, “The wind was a little but shifty and we had a bad start but we came back in the race and finally won, so we are very happy to win the medal race and the regatta. For me I was here a long time ago in the 470, so this is my second time here. We had a really great time, with the summer conditions making it perfect. It's a really good event.”

Besson added, “We thought we could win. Before the race we needed to prove this, so we are very happy. It was a really nice week. Good weather and the organisation is very good, so we are very happy to win it.”

French team win Sonar gold after high scoring final day

Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA) only needed one good race to successfully defend last year's title. Unfortunately they picked up an OCS in the first race of the day, before sealing the title with a seventh in the second. John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) took the silver medal, just four points back. Colin Harrison, Jon Harris and Russell Boaden (AUS) won the bronze. The race wins today went to Aleksander Wang-Hansen, Marie Solberg abd Per Eugen Kristiansen (NOR) and Jens Kroker, Robert Prem and Siggy Marinika (GER).

Skud racing at Delta Lloyd Regatta 2014. Image copyright Sander van der Borch/Delta Lloyd Regatta

Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) wrap up gold after tight week in Skud 18

The Skuds were much closer with a race for gold on between Alexandra Rickham and Niki Birrell (GBR) and Marco Gualandris and Marta Zanetti (ITA). Rickham and Birrell won the first race of the day, and Sergi Roig Alzamora and Violeta del Reino (ESP) the second. This meant that Rickham and Birrell took the gold from Gualandris and Zanetti, with Vera Voorbach and Jan Rein van Esseveld (NED) taking the bronze.

Birrill explained his week, the second British Paralympic victory of the day, “Megan [Pascoe] smashed the 2.4s, but we had to fight a little bit harder for ours. It's really good to see the European fleet developing, with the Italians, the Dutch and the Spanish. All the boats are flying round and going a lot quicker than a few years ago.”

“It's great that we got all 10 races in, though yesterday was a bit long, but it's all good. And it's obviously nice to win in the end. It was tight going into today. We're building it up, though we made quite a few mistakes this week and with it being so tight we've been able to find out where our weaknesses are, so we'll go back to the coach and work on some of those. After this it will probably be the 2.4mR for me at Sail for Gold and then back into the Skud for the IFDS worlds in Canada, which we are obviously hoping to do well at.”

Megan Pascoe (GBR) wins gold in 2.4 mR with a race to spare

Megan Pascoe (GBR) also only needed one good race to retain her 2013 Delta Lloyd Regatta title, and she did that in the first race of the day with a second place to win the regatta with a race to spare. Helena Lucas (GBR) and Matt Bugg (AUS) were both OCS in the second race which meant that Barend Kol (NED) took the silver and Guus Bijlard (NED) took the bronze.

Pasco said of her win, “It's really, really promising. It's my fourth medal of the year. Retaining my title at Medemblik is really nice. It's an amazing place and I seem to really like it. Medemblik is always tricky, always shifty. You have to understand that anything can happen. I had a bit of luck yesterday, managed to go from fifth to first down the last run which probably shouldn't have gone my way, but it did. Sometimes you just have to hold onto your hat and hope everything is going to come out right.”

On coming out top Brit. “It's always quite exciting to be the top Brit. We've had battles over the past few years. We had battles going into Beijing and London, and I seemed to keep losing those battles, but this time it's definitely promising. We've been doing a lot more technical stuff, working with Rob my coach who is really good, so that really helps.”

Medal race highlights video by Beau Outteridge: