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470 World Championships at Thessaloniki, Greece - Overall

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

A nail biting conclusion to the preceding five day of racing came down to the medal races at the 2017 470 World Championship in Thessaloniki, Greece.

In the 470 Women, any one of the top five going into the medal race had a punt at a medal, with the series leaders Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska already guaranteed gold or silver. The three boats behind would tussle for silver and bronze.

In the 470 Men the podium chancers were a bit more clear cut. Series leaders, Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom were guaranteed either gold or silver in a who dares wins first to the finish face off with Australians Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan. The battle for bronze was between David Bargehr/Lukas Mähr and Deniz Cinar/Ates Cinar.

The 470 Women got off first at 1100 hours for their short, sharp twenty-five minute windward/leeward race, followed by the 470 Men.

In the 470 Women, any one of the top four going into the medal race had a punt at a medal, with the series leaders Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska already guaranteed gold or silver. The three boats behind would tussle for silver and bronze.

In the 470 Men the podium chancers were a bit more clear cut. Series leaders, Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom were guaranteed either gold or silver in a who dares wins 'first to the finish' face off with Australians Mathew Belcher/Will Ryan. The battle for bronze was between David Bargehr/Lukas Mähr and Deniz Cinar/Ates Cinar.

The 470 Women got off first for their short, sharp twenty-five minute windward/leeward race, followed by the 470 Men.

470 WOMEN

Gold to Poland in a stunning delivery of performance from Agnieszka Skrzypulec/Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska.

Mrózek Gliszczynska grinned, saying, "For me it is unbelievable. I had said to myself I would not waste time and would come back stronger, but I didn't know we would come back this strong."

Silver to Hannah Mills/Eilidh McIntyre and bronze to Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO).

470 Women - Top Ten Overall

1. Agnieszka SKRZYPULEC/Irmina MRÓZEK GLISZCZYNSKA (POL 11) - 42 pts
2. Hannah MILLS/Eilidh MCINTYRE (GBR 321) - 48 pts
3. Tina MRAK/Veronika MACAROL (SLO 64) - 66 pts
4. Afrodite ZEGERS/Anneloes VAN VEEN (NED 1) - 75 pts
5. Barbara CORNUDELLA/Sara LOPEZ (ESP 14) - 78 pts
6. Silvia MAS DEPARES/Patricia CANTERO REINA (ESP 18) - 80 pts
7. Shasha CHEN/Xufeng HUANG (CHN 0619) - 92 pts
8. Amy SEABRIGHT/Anna CARPENTER (GBR 7) - 95 pts
9. Linda FAHRNI/Maja SIEGENTHALER (SUI 5) - 97 pts
10. Maria BOZI/Rafailina KLONARIDOU (GRE 216) - 107 pts

470 MEN

An epic fight out in the 470 Men for medals meant teams had no choice but to hunt each other out.

Australia's Mat Belcher/Will Ryan crossed the finish in first place and wrapped up gold, the 7th World Championship victory for Belcher.

Series leaders going into the day, Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom were assured of gold or silver, and finished with the silver. Not quite the perfect medal race for the pair as they thought they were over the line at the start, re-crossed and managed to climb their way back to the fleet, but discovered at the end of the race the individual recall was not for them. Silver was still in the bag though, and a career best.

Ninth in the medal race gave David Bargehr/Lukas Mark of Austria the bronze medal.

470 Men - Top Ten Overall

1. Mathew BELCHER/Will RYAN (AUS 11) - 38 pts
2. Anton DAHLBERG/Fredrik BERGSTROM (SWE 349) - 47 pts
3. David BARGEHR/Lukas MÄHR (AUT 1) - 78 pts
4. Hippolyte Machetti/Sidoine Dantes (FRA79) - 85 pts
5. Deniz CINAR/Ates CINAR (TUR 890) - 90 pts
6. Giacomo FERRARI/Giulio CALABRO (ITA 757) - 94 pts
7. Stuart MCNAY/David HUGHES (USA 1) - 96 pts
8. Zangjun XU/Chao WANG (CHN 067) - 99 pts
4. Paul SNOW-HANSEN/Daniel WILLCOX (NZL 2) - 101 pts
10. Panagiotis MANTIS/Pavlos KAGIALIS (GRE 1) - 102 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 the British Sailing Team and RYA

A three bullet opening day saw Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre take an early lead, but a challenging week for the pair at only their second regatta together, saw them slip into the silver medal spot on day two and into the medal race finale.

With a 16-point gap to overcome if the pair were to snatch the World title from Polish leaders Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Irmina Mrozek Gliszczynska, it was always going to be battle to top the podium. Despite finishing second in the medal race and narrowing the point deficit, it would prove an impossible feat with Mills and McIntyre settling for second.

Whilst Olympic Champion Mills is no stranger to 470 World Championship success having secured gold in 2012 and silver in 2015, for McIntyre this is first World Championship medal.

McIntyre reflected on the week: "It's really cool. I feel a bit bittersweet – it's amazing to have medalled at a Worlds but at the same time I really felt like we had it in us to win and we didn't quite pull it off.

"A few things didn't quite go our way and we didn't quite sail well enough but I guess that's why we love sailing, isn't it?"

The week was one of learning, continued Mills: "Definitely the intricacies of the close, light wind, tight racing are not quite there yet – you make one tiny error in terms of positioning and you can get punished very, very hard, which happened a couple of times this week in different scenarios.

"But that's all cool, it's part of the game isn't it when you take a break for nine months? What you can and can't get away with in terms of where you can put the boat [in the light wind racing] you forget a little bit!"

Mills, who has been training in the 49er FX this year, and McIntyre having only trained together briefly are considering their next steps.

"It's wicked [to medal] considering how little we've done together. I'm really excited. Hannah isn't quite sure what she wants to do yet but I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity to sail with her and win two medals with her," explained McIntyre. "It's been amazing, and I'll take the learning forward from this event and improve as a sailor and a 470 crew."

Mills added: "It was a really cool week and I'm really happy for Eilidh – her first World Championship medal and hopefully the first of many.

"I'm taking things as they come. I'm under no illusion that this is my best option for sure right now. Eilidh is a fantastic sailor and I'm sure we'd be a really, really strong and dominating partnership.

"But I'm also quite aware of myself, and I'm not ready to commit fully to the 470 yet. It still feels a bit too soon since Rio and everything with Sas, and so I think for me to do some other sailing still is going to be really beneficial for the next cycle. I'll keep it fresh this year."

British Sailing Team's 470 crew Elliot Willis having been forced to take a break from sailing in order to undergo cancer treatment, was back out in action coaching Mills and McIntyre.

Mills commented: "Elliot's awesome. It's so nice he's back to his normal self. He's not quite out of the woods yet but he's back to his normal self which is great to see, and obviously he's an awesome person to have out on the water with you. He's been through it all and has a whole heap of knowledge to dump on us."

Teammates Amy Seabright and Anna Carpenter also made the medal race cut with four top five results. Crossing the final race in fifth saw the pair wrap up their regatta eighth overall to secure the duo's best ever World Championship finish.

"A great result also for Amy and Anna – they've been training super hard and were awesome with us out in Rio before the Games. It's super nice to see them coming along and hopefully we can continue the British tradition and work together and try and create something dominating again for Tokyo," teammate Mills added.

Podium Potential sailors Jess Lavery and Flora Stewart finished 20th at their first World Championship together. Meanwhile Martin Wrigley and James Taylor finished 32nd in the Men's division and will now prepare for the 470 Junior Europeans in Italy next month.

Update from Yachting New Zealand

Paul Snow-Hansen and Dan Willcox wrapped up their 470 world championships in Greece with a fourth in the double-points medal race overnight (NZ time) to finish ninth overall.

It was an encouraging result for the Kiwi pair who were competing in their first major regatta since last year's Rio Olympics. They were one of the more consistent crews in the fleet, with nine top-10 scores in the 12 races, and were fourth heading into the penultimate day.

But their overall total took a hit when they finished 27th in race 11, a result they couldn't afford after being disqualified for being over the startline earlier in the regatta when they were trapped between two boats.

There was drama in the top-10 men's medal race. The gold would go to whoever crossed first between Australians Mat Belcher and Will Ryan and the Swedish pair of Anton Dahlberg and Fredrik Bergstrom, who had led for virtually the entire regatta.

Dahlberg and Bergstrom thought they were over the line at the start so re-crossed only to discover after the race the individual recall was not for them. They worked their way through the fleet to finish sixth but Belcher and Ryan won the medal race and the world title.

It was Belcher's seventh world title and fourth with Ryan.

"I think it is down to our unique partnership and personalities," Belcher said. "We go to each of the events trying to be the best we can and we often find ourselves in tough positions and we try to find any opportunity we can. I am really proud of Will as the conditions here have been tough and really physical.

"We found a small opportunity yesterday," he said in reference to their 7, 1, 4 scorecard which got them to within one point of the Swedes. "Full credit to the Swedish pair as their performance all week has been amazing."

Austria's David Bargehr and Lukas Mark claimed the bronze medal.

Agnieszka Skrzypulec and Irmina Mrózek Gliszczynska were assured gold or silver in the women's competition heading into the medal race and did enough to win Poliand's first title at a 470 world championship by finishing seventh.

The British pair of Hannah Mills and Eilidh McIntyre claimed silver and Slovenia's Tina Mrak and Veronika Macarol won bronze.

"I am world champion, I am so happy," Gliszczynska said. "I cannot describe my feelings. I can't believe we are the best team in the world."

There were no Kiwis in the women's fleet with Jo Aleh taking a year out from the 470 and Polly Powrie having retired from Olympic sailing.

Belcher & Ryan take historic victory at 470 World Championship (from Australian Sailing)

Australia's champion 470 men's team, Mat Belcher & Will Ryan, sailed into history today winning the 2017 470 World Championships in Thessaloniki, Greece.

Dual Olympic medallist Mat Belcher had previously won three World Championships with Malcom Page and now four with Will Ryan, his Rio Olympic crew, and for Belcher that's his seventh title.

Belcher had won every championship from 2010 to 2015 but stumbled last year to a third on the weed infested Argentinian course.

Under the guidance of coach Victor Kovalenko Australia now has 11 of the last 19 Men's World titles. Kovalenko's charges have 19 titles in all, across 470 Men's and Women's classes.

Going into today's Medal Race Belcher and Ryan were a single point behind the triple Olympian Anton Dahlberg and Frederic Bergstrom (SWE), who had sailed strongly for the first part of the regatta but faded from race eight onwards. Whichever of those two teams won the medal race would take Gold and the other would take Silver.

It was all over in the pre-start as Belcher explained 'The strategy was quite simple going into the race. All we had to do was to beat them and they had the same.

'So, we were match racing in the pre-start. We were pushing them hard and we managed to keep the controlling position, we had a hook on them and with around 15 seconds to go we forced them forward. We were all close to the line and obviously concerned they were over, they went back and we continued. At that point, the Championship was decided.

'The Swedes were still dead last at the third mark, we followed the Turks across the finish line, realised they did not get the gun and saw the course board which showed they were OCS, so we had won the medal race and the World Championship.'

Second in the medal race were Machetti and Dante (FRA) with home town heroes Mantis and Kagialis (GRE) third and Kiwis Snow-Hanson and Willcox (NZL) fourth.

Belcher and Ryan took the Gold Medal, the Swedes Silver and Bargehr and Mahr (AUT) the Bronze. Fourth was Machetti and Dantes (FRA). Fifth were the Cinar brothers (TUR) next was Ferrari and Calabro (ITA) seventh was McNay and Hughes (USA).

Belcher continued 'It's pretty exciting to win another World Championship with Will.

'The Swedish guys started this event very strongly and should be very proud of their achievement. They must be disappointed having led the regatta until almost but not quite to the end and I am certainly feeling for them. Behind them the Austrians signalled to us old guys that we can expected to be pushed hard by the next generation of young 470 sailors over the next three years.'

Will Ryan was grinning 'Obviously we are really happy with Mat's seventh title, my fourth, I am not going to catch him on the same boat.

'It has been a bit of a funny week. We were doing well but were a little more conservative and we just had to wait for the opportunities. It is great to have the win. It's going to take some time for it to sink in, I am sure because we weren't leading until today but that was the time that it really mattered.

'The prestart was the race. When the individual recall flag went up I am sure everyone was doubting themselves but the Swedes went back. We had a chance to go back with them but I think we just capitalised on that opportunity and went on to control their race from there. It was quite a surprise to end up winning the race because it wasn't our intention.

'The Turks crossed the finish line just in front of us and it wasn't until about 15 metres or so before the finish line we could see the board and that it wasn't us and it was the Turks.

'Great outcome and it was very special. I had both my parents here. It was the first time my mother has seen me win a Worlds so it was a really nice time for her to be here.

A simple summation from Victor Kovalenko, 'A lot of hard work from a very talented and experienced team has delivered their fourth World Championship win. For events, you need to have a strategy to deliver results. You have two options, a lot of teams took the high-risk route, as did the Swedes, the Turks, and the Austrians and that worked quite well but ours was the proven low risk high performance approach and in the end, that was the best.' A break now for the Australian 470 sailors, next up are events in Enoshima Japan, venue for the 2020 Summer Olympics, now just 1105 days away.

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