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World Cup Final in Santander - Day 5

by Daniel Smith, World Sailing on 10 Jun 4-11 June 2017

Six new World Cup Series champions have been crowned after a day of Medal Races were played out in Santander, Spain.

Racing concluded in the Men's and Women's Windsurfers, Men's and Women's Skiff, the Mixed Multihull and the Foiling Formula Kiteboarding with five new World Cup champions and one successful defence.

After a morning postponement, Medal Races kicked off on the Dune racing area in a light, fickle and challenging 8-12 knot north easterly breeze that tested sailors and the race committee alike.

Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) gave the home fans something to cheer about as they claimed a deserved Mixed Multihull, Nacra 17, gold medal after a second-place finish in the Medal Race.

The Spaniards finished out of the top three just once this week with their worst result a fourth. A top nine finish in the Medal Race would guarantee them gold and they sailed with relative ease, coming through in second, and were full of smiles ashore after racing for a variety of reasons.

"It's been fantastic," exclaimed Echavarri, Beijing 2008 Olympic gold medallist. "It's not typical that we can sail at home with our families and everybody involved in our project around us.

"It's really emotional to be here and this win is for them."

John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) followed behind the Spaniards to confirm silver but the real drama came in the fight for third. Ben Saxton and Katie Dabson (GBR) won the Medal Race and overhauled Italy's Ruggero Tita and Caterina Marianna Banti who finished in seventh.

It was a shoot-out in both the Men's and Women's Skiff with the leading competitors narrowly split.

James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) entered the Medal Race one point ahead of Poland's Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski with Dylan Fletcher and Stu Bithell (GBR) close behind.

The sailors had done the calculations and knew what needed to be done.

Peters and Sterritt sailed consistently, staying ahead of the Polish team before eventually coming through in second. Przybytek and Kolodzinski finished in fifth, which was enough to seal silver. Fletcher and Bithell followed in sixth to take bronze.

Local favourites Diego Botin and Iago Lopez streaked ahead of the pack in the Medal Race but it was heartbreak for the pair and the spectators watching ashore as they crossed the finish to find out they were on the course side at the start.

Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze (BRA) continued their dominance in the 49erFX, adding the World Cup Series title to their list of honours. The Brazilians had commented earlier in the week that they had found the going tough. But like true champions they dug deep and managed to churn out a gold medal winning performance.

They entered the Medal Race three points ahead of Charlotte Dobson and Saskia Tidey (GBR). A fourth place for the Brazilians and a sixth for the Brits ensured it was Brazilian gold with British silver. Lili Sebesi and Albane Dubois (FRA) conclude the podium.

Nico Parlier (FRA) was head and shoulders above the Foiling Formula Kiteboarding fleet all week long and confirmed gold with ease. His victory ends Oliver Bridge's three-year run of World Cup Series victories but Bridge did enough to clinch silver.

On the week, Parlier commented, "It was very good, great weather and atmosphere. We have been doing six races every day, so it has been fun. I have been training a lot for this and I was quite good at reading the wind, that's very important in Kiteboarding."

Riccardo Leccese managed to climb into third after Guy Bridge (GBR) was unable to finish two of the day's final series races.

Defending World Cup Series Champion Kiran Badloe (NED) had given himself a solid 16-point advantage over Louis Giard (FRA) in the Men's RS:X Windsurfer and had two options for the Medal Race as he went for gold. "I was either going to sail my own race and go for the win or cover the French guy," said Badloe.

"I had a pretty bad start so I had to tack off but from there I sailed my own race which enabled me to be at the top of the fleet. I'm happy to get away with a third and the overall win. I'm stoked."

Giard followed in fourth to wrap up silver and race winner Shahar Zubari (ISR) completed the podium.

Patricia Freitas (BRA) was in cruise control in the Women's RS:X having all but wrapped up gold. Freitas held a 20-point lead before the Medal Race and only a disqualification could have seen her lose her grip. Relaxed, cool and calm, Freitas sailed home in eighth to seal her first World Cup Series title.

China's Yunxiu Lu and Russia's Stefania Elfutina took silver and bronze respectively.

The Men's and Women's Dinghies concluded their week of fleet racing with two races on Saturay. Full results and recaps of each race can be viewed in the SAP Sailing Analytics - swc2017-santander.sapsailing.com

The dinghies will conclude racing on Sunday 11 June from 11:00 local time.

Full results can be found here.

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