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470 European Championships at Cesme, Turkey - Day 3

by Andy Rice 15 Sep 2022 17:04 BST 13-18 September 2022

The Spanish and Japanese teams looked right at home in the softer breeze that ruled the third day of the 470 European Championships in Çesme, Turkey.

With the 5 to 9 knot breeze wafting the gold and silver fleets along at a much gentler pace than the previous breezy days, a different set of skills came into play on Thursday.

Japan & USA going fast in slow conditions

In the first race of gold fleet, Daichi Takayama & Fuyuka Morita (JPN) made a good start and showed good pace to earn a race win for Japan. Meanwhile in silver fleet, Ai Kondo & Naoya Kimura (JPN) were setting the standard in silver fleet, winning the first race and coming second in the next. If only the former Women's World Champion had avoided that UFD disqualification from the previous day and perhaps this Japanese crew could have proved how well they belonged in the gold fleet. But that opportunity will have to wait until the 470 World Championships in Israel at the end of next month.

Coming in second across the line behind the Japanese were the only USA crew in gold fleet, Louise Nordstrom & Trevor Bornarth (USA). The Americans went on to score a ninth in the next race, proving that they're a force to be reckoned with in the lighter winds as they move up to 16th overall and within striking distance of Sunday's 10-boat medal race finale.

When you lose is when you learn the most

Also showing mastery in these lighter conditions were the Italian team of Giacomo Ferrari & Bianca Caruso (ITA) who scored 3,5 to move up to sixth overall in the standings, just a point behind today's yellow bib wearers from Germany. Simon Diesch & Anna Markfort (GER) were all smiles as they came ashore despite dropping from first to fifth overall. "That was an up-and-down day," shrugged Diesch philosophically. "We had some pretty bad starts but there was some light at the end of the tunnel. We only teamed up six weeks ago and I think it's these kind of lighter conditions that really test the teamwork the most. This is the area where we have the biggest learnings to do."

Where one German team faltered, others climbed, including husband and wife duo Malte & Anastasiya Winkel (GER) who scored two fourth places to rise to seventh overall. Anastasiya's helm from the women's Tokyo 2020 campaign, Luise Wanser, is now sailing with Philipp Autenrieth (GER). A 6,8 combined with good scores from the first two days of qualifying lifts this team to third overall. Wanser had her doubts about returning for another campaign after an emotional rollercoaster at Tokyo 2020 where she and Anastasiya missed out on a medal, but she's glad to be back. "I never wanted to get in a 470 again after Tokyo, but Philipp convinced me to do another campaign and he made it really easy for me to say yes, and I'm really enjoying being back in the 470 again," she smiled.

A day to bang the corners?

Yves Mermod & Maja Siegenthaler (SUI) made the most of the light airs to score 8,2, proving that the Swiss are never to be underestimated in sub-trapezing conditions. "It's true that we have a lot of light winds in Switzerland," said Siegenthaler. "Today we had good starts and found good lanes and we learned from the first race that the sides of the race course were stronger than the middle. Once we found good pressure on the left and we committed to it."

Back on top of the standings are two Spanish teams who know each other very well. With last year's men's Olympic bronze medallists forced to split into separate 470s, the enforced divorce appears to be going very well for all parties. "We're very happy," said Jordi Xammar who, with Nora Brugman at the front of the boat, is back in first place overall. "We didn't start so well in the first race and we got a jury penalty [Rule 42 kinetics] and had to take a turn. But we fought back and then we had a much better second race."

It was a similar pattern for Silvia Mas & Nico Rodriguez (ESP) who started with an acceptable ninth but followed up with a sensational race win, lifting them to second overall and five points behind their teammates. "I think we were very connected with the wind and the pressure," said Mas. "It was a tricky day and you had to be very 'eyes out' of the boat, always looking for opportunity."

Friday will be two more races for gold and silver fleets, and an opportunity to see who can make a dent on such a strong Spanish performance.

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