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470 World Championships at Thessaloniki, Greece - Day 4

by Icarus Sailing Media on 14 Jul 7-15 July 2017

When the thermal breeze kicks in, it usually does so with certainty, but all change today as the wind filled into a shorter window than usual, forcing the Race Committee to abandon race 9 for the men and women gold fleets.

Teams were postponed ashore until around 1500 hours, before being released to the race track for a 1600 hours start. So, just one race for the gold fleet, with the silver achieving two.

The points margins at the front of the gold fleet is close, but it is the discard that makes all the difference. Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom have today scored their discard, an 18th, whilst in the women Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrózek persist with a perfect scorecard of top three finishes, and have a discard race in hand should they make a fault in any of the three final series races tomorrow.

New faces and future stars have punched high and made themselves known in every single race, with the highlight for many of the younger teams being a top 10 finish against a talent-filled fleet of Olympians and Champions. Elation to the reigning 470 Junior European Champions, Giacomo Ferrari/Giulio Calabro, who today claimed their second win of the series and move up to 6th overall.

The three races scheduled on Friday to decide the medal race line-up will be physically and mentally demanding, with the added challenge of a temperature well over 35 degrees.

470 MEN

Sweden's Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom had a brief dip in form, and with it racked up their discard score of 18th, but still stay out front. David Bargehr/Lukas Mähr upgrade to 2nd and Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan drop to 3rd.

Flash points happen and today was a day to rise above any setback ahead of Friday's packed three-race day.

"We didn't really nail it. We did some wrong decisions, which were costly. We didn't really find the groove and struggled out there today," reflected Dahlberg.

"It became a little too intense," explained Dahlberg on the reason for their change in form. "Once we started to make a mistake it sort of became a snowball effect and we couldn't really stop it and come on top again. It was tough for us today. Three races tomorrow and we will be ready, that's for sure."

A performance pedigree as deep as that of Mat Belcher/Will Ryan ensures they are always the ones to beat and whatever position they find themselves in have an extraordinary capacity to make gains to the podium.

"Today we were a little bit back in the race, but continued to fight our way though and got another keeper," Belcher explained referring to the pair's 4th place.

"It was nice to try and even the playing field with Sweden now having a drop, it gives an opportunity. It is a nice position to go into tomorrow. Three races anything can happen, but 10th is our worst place and we are looking for every opportunity in these light and tricky conditions."

The leaderboard top three have separated themselves from the rest of the fleet, with 19 points between the Australians and New Zealand's Paul Snow-Hansen/Daniel Wilcox in fourth. The Kiwi Olympians have been steadily climbing up the leaderboard and will need to pull out some more top ten results to advance to the medal race in podium contention.

Giacomo Ferrari/Giulio Calabro opened their World Championship with a race win, and today again forced the world's best to walk in their shadow. The pair found their lane upwind, read the shifts and arrived at the first mark in 2nd place.

"It was good for us as we are very young, and we won the first race and then did two places in the top 10 and now here in gold another win is very good," smiled Ferrari. "We have done another good race today.

"We know there are a lot of big names in the fleet and we wanted to try a lot with these guys and for us it is a good Championship. We want to learn a lot."

Responding to how the young partnership stays cool in such a high-profile fleet, Ferrari said, "The tension is high, but we are very confident with our speed, our decisions on the wind and shifts and we try to be calm and we then go very fast."

But the real focus in 2017 for this young talent is to defend their 470 Junior European Championship title next month in Italy, before heading to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic venue in Enoshima for a shot at the 470 Junior World Championship medals.

"It will be a big day and we want to do a big battle. We will see," grinned Ferrari on the three races scheduled on Friday to decide the medal race line-up.

In the silver fleet, the battles are just as intense with Japan's Kosuke Demichi/Taiga Nakagawa scoring 4,1 to lead the pack.

470 Men - Provisional Results after 8 Races:

1. Anton DAHLBERG/Fredrik BERGSTROM (SWE 349) - 12 pts
2. David BARGEHR/Lukas MÄHR (AUT 1) - 20 pts
3. Mathew BELCHER/Will RYAN (AUS 11) - 24pts
4. Paul SNOW-HANSEN/Daniel WILLCOX (NZL 2) - 43 pts
5. Deniz CINAR/Ates CINAR (TUR 890) - 47 pts
6. Giacomo FERRARI/Giulio CALABRO (ITA 757) - 48 pts
7. Stuart MCNAY/David HUGHES (USA 1) - 52 pts
8. Zangjun XU/Chao WANG (CHN 067) - 52 pts
9. Hippolyte Machetti/Sidoine Dantes (FRA79) - 55 pts
10. Carl-Fredrik FOCK/Marcus DACKHAMMAR (SWE 350) - 56 pts

470 WOMEN

No change in the top three, as Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrózek again expertly executed their race strategy, scoring another 3rd place to extend their lead to 13 points over Hannah Mills/Eilidh Mcintyre (GBR). Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO) hold onto third.

A bit of luck fell the way of Skrzypulec/Mrózek, as they were over the starting line in the first attempt to start race 8, but as the race was abandoned the penalty was cleared and they went on to finish 3rd.

"We were fighting, fighting each position and eventually got back to the front," explained Skrzypulec. "It was the lightest day so far and really tough, and the starting line was really long so we had to decide early on which end we wanted to start, as with such a breeze it is impossible to change your mind and change your side of the course. These are not my favourite conditions, as I prefer to play a bit with speed and change gears and today we just had to stay patient and focused. It was a really mental game."

Germany's Nadine Boehm/Ann-Christin Goliass claimed their first race win and go into the closing day of final series racing in 20th. Finishing in 2nd and just one place ahead of the Germans in the overall standings are Italy's Elena Berta/Sveva Carraro, the 2017 470 European Championship silver medallists.

"Today finally we had a really good race, and we are very happy as we had not felt really good, and this is the first day we have not had a problem with the boat and other issues," said Berta in reference to boat damage sustained in an incident soon after the race 3 start on the opening day.

"The wind was lighter and it was all about finding the pressure and the shifts, which we did. We will try to do our best we hope to get three good races tomorrow."

Impressively, China's 470 squad now holds three places in the top ten.

Until a black flag penalty in today's race, Australia's Nia Jerwood/Monique De Vries were riding high, sitting just outside the top 10. They are now in 16th, and well up on the goal they set of qualifying to gold fleet. They have now reassessed their goal and are gunning for a top 10 finish, which will qualify the pair to the Australian Sailing Team.

"It's very big and a bit of a carrot," grinned Jerwood on the possibility of making the AST grade. "We are doing better than expected, so we are pretty happy at the moment."

"We had time here between Kiel Week and the Worlds starting, so that was good to just get used to the heat and the racing areas," continued Jerwood on the experience gained racing at lead-in events and training in Thessaloniki.

"It is different from course area to course area, as the inside course area is quite choppy and shifty, but the outside course area you get stronger wind and more one-sided."

Next up, the Australians will head to Enoshima, Japan for the 470 Junior Worlds.

Germany's Fabienne Oster/Anastasiya Krasko lead the women's silver fleet.

470 Women - Provisional Results after 8 Races:

1. Agnieszka SKRZYPULEC/Irmina MRÓZEK GLISZCZYNSKA (POL 11) - 18 pts
2. Hannah MILLS/Eilidh MCINTYRE (GBR 321) - 31 pts
3. Tina MRAK/Veronika MACAROL (SLO 64) - 34 pts
4. Barbara CORNUDELLA/Sara LOPEZ (ESP 14) - 40 pts
5. Linda FAHRNI/Maja SIEGENTHALER (SUI 5) - 41 pts
6. Afrodite ZEGERS/Anneloes VAN VEEN (NED 1) - 46 pts
7. Xiaoli WANG/Haiyang GAO (CHN 1221) - 46 pts
8. Shasha CHEN/Xufeng HUANG (CHN 0619) - 51 pts
9. Silvia MAS DEPARES/Patricia CANTERO REINA (ESP 18) - 53 pts
10. Mengxi WEI/Ping ZHANG (CHN 621) – 62 pts

Championship Website - 2017worlds.470.org
Entry Lists - 2017worlds.470.org/en/default/races/race-inscriptions
Official Noticeboard - 2017worlds.470.org/en/default/toa/race
Results - 2017worlds.470.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall
Facebook - facebook.com/470-Olympic-Sailing
Twitter - twitter.com/470Sailing
YouTube - youtube.com/470OlympicSailing

Update from Australian Sailing

Will Ryan told the story of the day. 'Mat's groundhog prediction was spot on, clear blue skies, blazing sun, high 30's, late light sea breeze. We are locked in the 7-9 knot range at best.

'We were held ashore for quite a long time, then the first race looked like it was going to be windy and then died out before the start. It actually picked up mid race, with a left shift. We had been mid-pack and we managed to catch up quite a lot.

'The other teams in contention generally didn't have a very good race either so that was a good thing for us. I think we are happy to have three races tomorrow and to be still close. It is a good situation to be in.

'We had a second race but it got abandoned halfway through. We were going well. It was very light, five knots or so but getting lighter and the sun was disappearing behind thin cloud.'

Mat Belcher, 'Actually we were pretty happy with our performance today. We certainly out sailed the Swedes in the first race and we were right next to them in the second abandoned race.

'We still have three races and that is plenty of time to bridge the gap. While we lost a little ground today, that eight-point difference in drops could mean a lot come tomorrow. We know we are sailing well, even though these are not our favoured conditions. Let's see what happens and see if we can get the results to come back from that position.'

While Belcher and Ryan are fighting at the front of the fleet for four of the six Australian crews racing today, it was a Black day at the office. They were all disqualified either for OCS's under Flag U or the Black flag.

Belcher commented. 'I am not sure what happened last night in the Australian camp but we got our fair share of Black. Both the women and the guys. I think we are coming to the end of the Championship and people are trying to push it. Taking it a little bit too far.'

About OCS's 470 Coach Victor Kovalenko smiling wryly and talking about the newer members of the Australian squad said, 'They are all young, they have had several good starts and became a bit bold but the punishment is always there, just half metre in front of them.'

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