470 Worlds Commence In Light Barcelona Winds
Just one race was completed in the Men's and Women's fleets as the 470 World Championships got underway in Barcelona, Spain.
In the 95-boat Men's 470 fleet Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page, Sofian Bouvet and Vincent Guillarn (FRA) and compatriots Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos lead the way in the with a race win each in the three way split fleet.
And in the Women's fleet it is a French one two with Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux (FRA) and Camille Lecointre and Matilde Geron (FRA) on top.
Lecointre and Geron managed to secure the French Women's 470 spot for the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition ahead of Petitjean and Douroux but after the opening day the unsuccessful duo have proved that it was no easy decision when selecting the French team.
Petitjean said, "We had a good start and were leading the first half of the first leg, but we were third at the first mark. So then we didn't take any risks, because third in the opening race is good enough. We had some good speed on the last downwind and got to first at the finish. The first race is like any race, but we are not the kind to start a series well, as normally we start average and build, so we are happy to win. The goal now is to sail as well for the rest of the regatta."
The two Canadian 470 Women teams competing both have the same mission, qualify Canada to the Olympic Games and secure their selection. Between them, it was advantage Dana Archibald and Karen Dexter with a ninth place finish in the yellow fleet, over Hannah Meers and Erin Flanagan with a 20th in the blue fleet. Archibald explained, "Basically we are trying to keep it simple, good start, stay clean and not get psyched out by the whole thing. There is a lot of pressure on a lot of teams and we are trying to use support from home for encouragement, rather than letting the pressure get in our heads and mess up our game plan."
Over in the Men's fleet there are similar fights on to secure Olympic spots. Greece's Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis successfully qualified Greece to the Olympic Games at the 2011 ISAF Worlds, but the 2012 470 Worlds will be the ultimate decider as to which Greek 470 team takes the nation slot. Mantis and Kagialis are currently World #2, and are facing off against the #7 world ranked team of Panagiotis Kambouridis and Efstathios Papadopoulos. A hard pill to swallow, despite both being amongst the top ten teams in the world, only the team that finishes ahead in Barcelona will go to the Olympics.
Kagialis commented, "It was a very good day, pretty light winds. We had a bad start, but we gave it our best because we must and we finished 2nd. It was a nice start to the Championship and we must keep going and see what happens. It was pretty light winds, a lot of good boats with good speed and it was very difficult today." Their adversaries finished 8th overall in the red fleet, but there is a long way to go yet and another 11 races scheduled before Saturday's Medal Race.
It was business as usual for Belcher and Page who got their campaign started with a race win. The duo are gunning for their third consecutive World Championship, "It's amazing to be in a position to be going for our hat trick," said Page. "A World Championship is always the most important regatta for us in any year except in this Olympic year, for obvious reasons.
"So with this in mind we are just concentrating on our preparation towards the games and using every event to hone our skills and measure against the best 470 sailors in the world. We are obviously very happy with our preparations and seem to be on a roll at the moment, but 470 sailors are very good, the competition is very fierce across so many nations that you can never expect any certain results."
Racing is scheduled to get underway at 12:00 hours today, with the same fleet allocations. The 470 Women will race on course area alpha and the 470 men on course area bravo. The Race Committee is aiming to hold three races for each fleet, which they are hopeful of achieving as the sea breeze of 9-12 knots should be in around 13:00 hours and building from thereon.
470 Worlds Website
May 15, 2012
Australians And Dutch Score Barcelona Hat Tricks
Every race counts, but with three races today it was particularly crucial for teams to pump in some good scores and position themselves as solidly as possible before Tuesday's final two races of the qualification series at the 2012 470 World Championships.
Perfect sailing conditions ensured Barcelona lived up to its reputation as a spectacular sailing venue. Racing got underway in 12 knots building to around 15-17 knots as the fleets completed race 4, with fairly wavy conditions.
It doesn't get better than three wins from three races, which is exactly what Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) delivered in the women's blue fleet, matched by Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) racing in the men's yellow fleet.
Racing at the front of the women's fleet is tough, with no margin for error and no comeback. Whilst, it is impossible to identify an outright favourite to win the 2012 470 World Championships, the two-time World Champions in 2009 and 2010, Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED) had no errors on their scorecard and very simply were in control of each of the three races in the blue fleet. They went to the right of the course in every race and won convincingly.
"It was a lot of fun, nice waves, nice breeze and the wind was picking up a little bit. Race 4 we were leading from the outset, but the other two races were a battle," said Westerhof.
Packing in an almost equivalent performance in the 470 women yellow fleet, were Gil Cohen and Vered Bouskila (ISR) who posted a 2, 1, 1 to end day two second overall, just two points behind the Dutch.
Rounding out the top three are the world #1 ranked pair of Ai Kondo/Wakako Tabata (JPN) with a 1,5,2 scoreline.
It was an error fraught race 4 for defending World Champions, Tara Pachecao and Berta Betanzos (ESP), after a port/starboard infringement. With a 4,2 in the bag already, they set off on starboard to the leeward of the fleet in race 4, then tacked onto port go to the right hand side of the course. But a collision with the Malaysian team resulted in a near capsize and two penalty turns for the Spanish, who end the day in eleventh place.
China's Xu Xiaomei and Yu Chunyai are intent on qualifying their nation to the Olympics and had a solid 10,10, 3 and are currently positioned as the top placed unqualified nation in 13th overall - an unlucky number for some, but not for the Chinese so far. Other unqualified nations currently tantalisingly close to nation qualification include Russia, Denmark, Poland, Croatia, Austria and Estonia.
One of the youngest helms competing is Lara Vadlau of Austria, who has only recently made the transition from the 420 to the 470, and owns a gold medal from the 2011 ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship. Racing with crew Eva-Maria Schimak, Vadlau is hoping to qualify Austria to the Olympics and is poised in 25th overall with a 15, 16, 14, 6 race series. "The plan is to sail like normal, have fun and qualify," explained Vadlau. Dressed in colourful sailing attire, Vadlau is counting on her shorts. "They are supposed to be my lucky shorts, because they look nice and I like them. It is a thing in my mind that maybe when I wear my lucky shorts it is helping us," she said with a big smile.
Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) demonstrated why they are two-time World Champions today, storming to victory in all three races, and sent out a clear message they are the team to beat here at the 2021 470 World Championships.
Belcher commented, "To get those kind of results at a World Championship, you couldn't ask for anything more. We are happy we had a bit of wind today and the way we were sailing felt quite stable and we were into a groove. We worked out that at the last two Worlds we have done the triple as well. It is something you don't expect as you sail race by race and we were lucky today to get the three wins."
In the red fleet, Alvaro Marinho and Miguel Nunes (POR) had the most consistent form, with a 2,2,1 and are now positioned six points behind the Aussies in second overall.
Croatia's Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic, the defending bronze medallists, dominated in the blue fleet and are in third overall just one point behind the Portuguese.
Behind these leading boats, the battle is on for Olympic qualification. Currently the highest placed unqualified nation is Russia, with the Sheremetyev brothers Mikhail and Maxim in 13th overall. Two more good results in the bag tomorrow and they should have done enough to qualify their nation.
Not far behind are the teams from Canada, Ireland, Korea, South Africa, Turkey and Slovenia who are currently leading the charge of the nations gunning for Olympic selection, but there are still two more races to the final series, which itself consists of a further six races.
An impressive race day for Canada's Luke Ramsay/Mike Leigh with a 2,1,4 scorecard. "They were challenging conditions and we were pretty fast uphill and really working on our speed. Once we got out in front, it was much easier to control the fleet downwind. It was really good and we are really happy," explained Ramsay.
South Africa's Team Race Ahead also had great form with a 13,4,7 and led the red fleet to the windward mark in race 3, before dropping back to finish fourth overall. Asenathi Jim/Roger Hudson were particularly delighted with race 3, as Jim explained, "We had a great start, we thought we were over, but other boats went back and the flag went down, so we knew we were clear. We then just put our heads down and hammered the boat and made some good calls upwind. At a 470 World Championships to round the top mark first was a good moment for us and a first."
If the South African team keep the same pace on tomorrow, they should find themselves safely through to the gold fleet.
All fleets have been re-seeded, so tomorrow the 149 teams competing at the 2012 470 World Championships will be up against a different set of opponents. Just two more races tomorrow to complete the qualification series and determine the split for the Gold and Silver fleets in the 470 Women and Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets in the 470 Men. The race throw out will come into play after five races, so expect some leaderboard shuffling.
Tuesday will prove to be a crucial day and will determine some of the next nations qualifying to the 2012 Olympic Games - so a day of ecstasy for some and heartache for others is to be expected.
May 16, 2012
Belcher And Page Make It Six Out Of Six Whilst Olympic Spots Are Taken At The 470 Worlds
Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) showed why they are the men's team to beat at the 470 Worlds in Barcelona, Spain after they won their sixth race out six on the third day.
Meanwhile in the Women's fleet there is a French top two and after three days of qualification, seven men's London 2012 spots have been taken and five women's spot are up for grabs with six fighting it out in the gold fleet.
After six races of qualification series, the gold and silver fleet splits are now determined, with 27 boats allocated to each fleet for the next stage of the 2012 470 World Championship.
Coming ashore after Race 6, the air was tense as teams waited to find out who had qualified through to the gold fleet and place themselves one step closer towards their World Championship aims and Olympic qualification. The story unfolded in the most dramatic of ways.
With only five Olympic qualification places available at the 2012 470 Worlds, six unqualified nations have made it through to the gold fleet and will now battle for the slots. There are seven more races of the final series to go and this story is a long way from over yet … as teams from Austria, China, Croatia, Denmark, Poland and Russia go head to head.
If Croatia's Enia Nincevic and Romana Zupan achieve their goal, it will be the first time Croatia has qualified to the women's two-person dinghy event. The pair were really disappointed not to secure Olympic qualification in Perth. "It has been a very emotional day. We are feeling great and we hope that we will continue sailing like this. We worked really hard for this, and I think that we managed to correct things that were not good before and we are not afraid of anything that might come our way. We are now second among the nations that are trying to qualify for the Olympics and we hope that the ones behind us will remain there," Zupan said and laughed.
By a two point margin, Lara Vadlau and Eva-Maria Schimak are the last of the six teams to make it through to the gold fleet. Alongside her gold medal at last year's ISAF Youth Worlds, Vadlau also won gold in the one-person dinghy event at the inaugural Olympic Youth Games in 2010. A relieved Vadlau said, "The first moment when we came ashore we were down as we thought it was over, but then I saw my father dancing and I realised that we were still in and have a chance. I hope we can stay in this game as we have sailed well over the last three days. "
At the front of the 470 Women leaderboard are Camile Lecointre and Matilde Geron on 12 points, with team mates Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux one point behind in second. Despite last night's bicycle injury, birthday girl Jo Aleh of New Zealand and crew Olivia Powrie still managed to notch up a race win and fourth place to end the qualification series in third overall. "I think it all merges together a bit," Aleh laughed, referring to her injury, birthday and race win. "I gave myself an early birthday present last night by doing a face plant flip off my bike and decided to grate up my face on the concrete. I spent six hours at Barcelona hospital, which was hard after such a big day on the water yesterday. So yes today, I thought we had to win a race because it was my birthday. It was tricky out there. The wind didn't do what anyone thought it was going to do and shifted around a lot."
Twenty one nations are represented in the twenty-seven teams in the gold fleet, clear evidence of the broad talent pool.
Just six races have been sufficient to deliver the final seven nations who have qualified to be on the start line at the London 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition. It was neck and neck going into the final qualification races, with everything to lose with any slip ups.
The team having the day of their lives was Chile's Benjamin Grez and Diego Gonzalez who went into the third day in 42nd overall and 10 places off the gold fleet cut. Some superb racing rewarded them with two top five finishes and national qualification - a good day in the office for this pair, which will see Chile making their first Olympic appearance in the 470 since 1984.
Joining Chile in securing nation qualification to the London 2012 (subject to ISAF ratification) are Canada, Ireland, Korea, Russia, Turkey and South Africa.
The highest placed team to secure nation qualification were Korea's Gunwoo Park/Sungmim Cho who ended the qualification series in 14th overall. A thrilled Park said after racing, "The wind was lighter than we expected, but our speed wasn't too bad and we chose the right side of the course, so we had a good race. This is my first time to be at the Olympic Games. I am so proud and happy to be able to represent Korea."
On the leaderboard, South Africa was the final of the seven nations to qualify and, with points margins extremely close, their celebrations were on hold until all the protests had been dealt with, giving an anxious wait for Asenathi Jim and Roger Hudson. The pair spent much of the evening patiently sitting outside the race office waiting to receive the final nod, before they could really celebrate. Their story is impressive as the pair only teamed up together just over a year ago. Hudson admitted the day was tough, commenting, "we really struggled in race 4 and had a discard. We were having a great race 6 and picked up from about ninth in the first rounding to seventh and then had a disaster in the last run to finish 15th. It was devastating as we knew that could affect the outcome for qualification."
For Asenathi it was a dream come true, "I am speechless to be honest, but I am really happy. We worked so hard to get here and this means a lot to me and shows the hard work we have put in. We are continuing to improve on the technical side of the boat and race faster."
At the very front of the fleet a new 470 World Championship performance record was being set by the Australian dream team of Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page, who notched up another two victories to make it six race wins from six races. An unprecedented achievement, but the team remain respectfully modest.
When asked if he could recall any teams achieving the same scoreline, Page said, "I have been to most of the last 14 or 15 years of World Championships and I certainly know it hasn't happened in that time. The way we are sailing this season, a lot of it comes down to preparing for the Games. We have also just had a great training camp in Australia which was hard. Victor had the whip out and it was hurting, but it certainly made us better for it."
Portugal's Alvaro Marinho and Miguel Nunes raced a 12, 1 to remain in second place behind the Australians. The Lindgren brothers from Finland, Joonas and Niklas, move up into third place and knock Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic (CRO) down into fourth.
The 470 Men's fleet is exceptionally competitive with broad nation spread - the gold fleet itself hosts 24 different nations amongst the 32 teams.
With Olympic nation qualification wrapped up, most of the 470 Men teams can now focus on racing the World Championships, with the next marker being to make the cut to be within the top 10 teams going through to Saturday's Medal Race.
However, within the gold fleet are several teams having their own battle against team mates to determine who will be selected for the Olympics, including Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis and Panagiotis Kampouridis and Esfstathios Papadopoulos of Greece and Ryunosuke Harada and Yugo Yoshida and Tetsuya Matsunaga and Kimhiko Imamura of Japan.
Two races are scheduled for all fleets today, with the 470 Men and Women gold fleets assigned to course area bravo and the 470 men silver and bronze and 470 women silver on course area alpha. Racing is scheduled to get underway at 1200 hours with the 470 Men silver and 470 Men gold up first on the race track.
May 17 2012
Olympic Qualification Hits Home At 470 Worlds
It was business as usual on the fourth day of the 470 Worlds for the leaders but the realisation of Olympic Qualification had started to sink in throughout the Men's fleet.
Benjamin Grez, who secured Chile's place on the Olympic startline said, "I don't feel it yet, it is still so recent. We certainly don't feel that we are going to the Olympics yet and can't quite believe it. It is a great moment. We are really happy and didn't expect we would have such a good day as yesterday, as we were far away from the cut and we made a great day. This is really important for us. Until now there was just a Laser from Chile going to the Olympics and it would have been the third time he goes alone."
For Grez's crew, Diego Gonzalez, their Olympic qualification has an even more special significance, as the last time Chile qualified and competed in the 470 back in the 1984 Olympics, his father Alberto Gonzalez helmed the team to 18th overall. According to Grez, the senior Olympian's advice for the 2012 470 Worlds was to "sail quiet and the easiest way they could."
With qualification a done deal in the Men's fleet it gives the crews the opportunity to enjoy the rest of the regatta whilst six women's teams aim for five spots.
Meanwhile at the top of the leader board it was business as usual for Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) who opened up a 20 point lead whilst things are tighter in the Women's fleet with France's Ingrid Petitjean and Nadege Douroux holding a three point lead.
The Race Committee held the fleets ashore waiting for the wind to stabilize, but the sailors were still faced with very unsettled conditions on the first day of the final series. Described as "washing machine" conditions, the day definitely didn't suit everybody.
Two races were completed for all fleets, except the 470 Men bronze fleet, who completed only race 7. The breeze was around 9 knots from 170 degrees across the two races courses, very shifty and with a confused sea.
It is the same three women's teams at the top of the leader board, just a shuffle round in positions. Despite posting their worse results so far - a 12,6 - up into first overall go Ingrid Petitjean and Nadedge Douroux (FRA).Their day was just more consistent than others, including their team mates Camille Lecointre and Mathilde Geron, who were knocked down from first overall to third. Up into second overall go Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie.
The seasoned Olympic campaigner Fernando Sesto of Argentina will compete at her fourth Olympics this summer, and her quality of performance so far in Barcelona reflects those years of experience, with up until today a scoreline of top ten finishes.
Speaking on the team's ability and motivation to keep sailing at such a high level, Sesto said, "It is not easy to keep on training and focus on the events. Today was the most difficult day of the Championship so far. It was not stable, shifty and very wavy. It was very difficult and we lost many places and then we go up many places. It was not easy sailing. We made a top 10 and a top 20, so we are still in there. We are happy with our scoreline of all top 10 until the last race. We made so many mistakes in the last race today, but it was so difficult I think many of the fleet made mistakes." Sesto and crew Consuelo Monsegur ended the day in 11th overall.
Defending World Champions Tara Pacheco and Berta Betanzos (ESP) were victims of the conditions today, only managing a 26, 12 and drop down the leaderboard from ninth to 12th. Now carrying their discard result of 26 from today's race 7, they are really going to need to punch in some top placed results over the next four races of the final series, to guarantee their place in the top ten Medal Race.
The battle for Olympic qualification is shaping up and is a long, long way from being determined, as Austria, China, Croatia, Denmark, Poland and Russia fight for one of the final five nation places on offer at the 2012 470 World Championships.
China's three teams in the gold fleet are a story in itself. Whichever team qualifies China to the Olympics, will be the selected team. All change in the overall order for these three, with Fen Huimin and Huang Lizhu now leading the charge in 18th overall.
Denmark's Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer have consolidated their position even further as the highest unqualified nation on the leaderboard, moving up into seventh overall after a win in race 8. Sommer said, "It was so tricky today, so it is still just about keeping cool, keeping your head down and working hard. We have five races left. There were big waves today and not much wind, shifty and with pressure coming, so it was really difficult today. I am really happy that we found the rhythm and did well in the last race."
For the other teams fighting for selection, there is a total shuffle in positions, with China now the next best placed unqualified nation behind Denmark, followed by Poland, Croatia, Austria and Russia.
Australia's run of six race wins was broken by Lucas Calabrese and Juan de la Fuente (ARG) who won race 7 and Nicolas Charbonnier and Jeremie Mion (FRA) who took the gun in race 8
Unlikely that Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) are too concerned by this, as there 2,5 scoreline from races 7 and 8 still gives them an impressive 20 point margin over second placed Gideon Kliger and Eran Sela of Israel. Rounding out the top three are Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos (FRA).
Moving up to second overall today, from 6th yesterday, Kliger and Sela are pleased with their performance. Sela said, "We are pretty happy, except the black flag in the second race of qualification. We have sailed good in all the other races. Today was tough and it was a game of which team took the decision first, because if you tack too late you will just be after everyone. Everybody today just had to sail on what they felt."
The team are hoping that their fourth place finishes at each of last year's pinnacle 470 Championships, the Worlds and Europeans, will be upgraded to a podium finish in Barcelona. Selan explained, "We were a bit unlucky last year, but even those Championships we felt we sailed good and were happy. After last year, we searched for what we could improve and everything is coming together now, which is good."
With the final seven nation qualification places awarded yesterday (subject to ISAF ratification) to Canada, Chile, Ireland, Korea, Russia, Turkey and South Africa, most of the teams can now just focus on racing the World Championships.
But for Greece's Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis and Panagiotis Kampouridis and Efstathios Papadopoulos the battle is getting really close, just five points between them, as they strive to be the team selected to represent Greece. Whichever team finishes ahead at the Worlds will go to the Olympics. Kampouridis and Papadopoulos had the better performance today, with a 12,4 and reduce the points advantage held by Mantis and Kagialis.
Kagialis commented, "Well done to the other team as they had a good race and did really well. It was a little confused with the weather, but it is only day. There is a lot of pressure, but you know the best will go do the Olympics. We will continue, there are another five races."
Both Greek teams have every likelihood of making it through to Saturday's top 10 medal race, so this head to head has a long way to go yet before any of their 2012 Olympic aspirations are sealed.
Racing is scheduled to get underway at 12:00 hours on Thursday 17 May, with the 470 men bronze fleet up first on course area alpha, followed by the 470 men silver and then the 470 women silver. On course area bravo, the 470 women gold will race first, followed by the 470 men gold.
May 18, 2012
Denmark Secures Olympic Berth On Day 5 Of 2012 470 World Championships
With only five races left in the 2012 470 World Championships, race day 5 was a crunch day as teams positioned themselves to make the Medal Race cut, and the points started to stack up amongst the 470 Women teams in the challenge for Olympic qualification.
Another day of racing being postponed, waiting for the breeze to fill in, with teams sent out to race at 14:00 hours.
A glory day for Denmark's Henriette Koch and Lene Sommer who, subject to ISAF ratification, left the venue with Olympic qualification in their hands in the 470 women event. With a 5,14 scoreline, they achieved a points advantage sufficient that it is impossible for any of the other five nations to oust them. No such safety net for the teams from Austria, China, Croatia, Poland and Russia who will be fighting to the end.
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) took both race wins to leap up into first overall, but only just. On equal points with the second placed Lisa Westerhof and Lobke Berkhout (NED), their advantage is due to the tiebreak count back.
The Dutch are now delighted they chose to compete, having initially planned to focus on their Olympic training in Weymouth, as Berkhout explained, "We were first going to train in England and skip the Worlds, as we thought the conditions in Barcelona would be lighter breeze and we wanted to get the circumstances in Weymouth. But after a disappointing regatta in Palma we decided to have more practice in lighter breeze and shifty conditions." Berkhout confirmed the team are now focused on winning in Barcelona, "We will take it race by race and a world title would be a nice thing to achieve again."
Reflecting on the other team's performances, and the game raise during Berkhout's 470 career, she continued, "The level has gone up and it is really climbing. Since 2001 people have got more professional, train harder and have a better understanding about the boat. That is why it is really intense racing at this moment in the girls' fleet."
In third overall are Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie who again delivered a safe pair of results and another impressive race day. "I think this is one of the closest Worlds, with everyone fighting for every spot. They are quite tricky conditions here, you have to work hard to get out of the waves, but also keep your head out of the boat to see what is going on," commented Powrie.
With the Danish now through and going to London 2012, for the teams from the five nations still gunning for one of the remaining four qualification places, the fight is set to go to the bitter end.
After today's races, the leaderboard for the five nations has Poland in 18th place with 115 points, the three Chinese teams in 19th, 20th and 23rd, Austria's Lara Vadlau and Eva Maria Schmik in 24th and carrying 121 points, then Croatia's Enia Nincevic and Romana Zupan in 25th overall on 122 points and Russia's Natalia Ivanova and Diana Krutskikh in 26th place with 130 points.
Of the three Chinese teams trying to qualify China, Wang Xiaoli and Huang Xufeng are currently the top placed in 19th overall and are also ahead in the Chinese selection trials.
As the lowest placed team going into tomorrow, Russia's Ivanova feels the pressure of their situation. "We are all so close and tomorrow will be a hard day for everybody with a lot of pressure. I think for us the plan will be just to make our best. We will not focus on somebody, because everybody is so close there is no one enemy with whom you have to fight. So we will try to do a good start and a secure result and that's it. For everybody the Olympic Games mean a lot. You spend four years of your life preparing and if you don't finally go it is a shame for everybody - very hard."
It doesn't get closer than this - and in the pressurised environment out on the race course all the teams must remember is to stay ahead of the others. No race wins are required here, just safe sailing!
Both the Croatian and Polish teams are hoping to make history by becoming the first teams to ever qualify their nations to the Olympics in the 470 women event.
Another one in the bag for Mat Belcher and Malcolm Page (AUS) in race 9, bringing their claim to a three-time World Championship victory even closer.
Finland's Lindgren brothers almost took the gun in race 9, but wrong footed themselves, as Joonas explained, "We were leading until the last downwind but I made a big mistake at the bottom mark and I over stood the lay line quite a bit. A big mistake. It is a big question how it happened. We looked at the wrong mark and realized a bit late. The Aussies then managed to put some distance between us."
Belcher and Page surely now have the World Championship wrapped up, but Belcher would not be drawn on that and said the team are just taking it one race at a time, "We are sailing well. For us the results are one thing and the performance another. We are synching very well together and our form coming into this event was very good, winning most of the events this year. It is nice and good recognition for our hard work. Today was a classic example where we fought our way back. We just chip away and pass the boats we can and it was fantastic to come away with a win in race 9. The last race was really rewarding, we rounded the first mark in 27th, but we chipped away and fought hard and to come away with a 5th is probably one of our best performances, to be able to come back through this quality of fleet."
The French pair of Pierre Leboucher and Vincent Garos posted two third places, with their race 10 result put down partly to luck by Garos. "It was an important day for the boats that want to go through to the Medal Race. We were lucky to have the good side in the first race and in the second race we had a good start and then sailed into a shift and were 20th at the first mark. We then tried to do our best in the downwind and then after we went to the left upwind where there was more pressure and made a very good comeback to finish third."
Great result for Ferdinand Gerz and Patrick Follmann (GER) who sailed a perfect race 10 to take the win and are now in an improved position to try and qualify through to the medal race.
Decision day is dawning, particularly for the Greek and Japanese teams fighting for Olympic selection. It remains advantage to Panagiotis Mantis and Pavlos Kagialis over Panagiotis Kambouridis and Efstathios Papadopoulos by just four points. The margin is slightly bigger for Japan's Ryunosuke Harada and Yugo Yoshida in 10th overall, with a 15 point margin ahead of the 16th placed Tetsuya Matsunaga and Kimihiko Imamu.
Two races are scheduled for all fleets on Friday 18 May, with racing scheduled to get underway at 12:00 hours. The 470 men and Women gold fleets will continue to race on bravo course, with all other fleets on course area alpha.