The World Cup Final kicked off in Santander, Spain today (6 June) with sailors aiming to put some ‘keepers’ on the board.
It’s a common phrase in sailing, you cannot win on the opening day, but you could lose it. Therefore the 260 competitors from 41 nations racing across the ten Olympic and open kiteboarding fleets strived to put good results on the board and lay the foundation for the week ahead.
A 10-13 knot westerly breeze enabled sailors to complete all their races across a cloud covered Bay of Biscay and Santander Bay.
The top five teams in the Women’s Skiff, 49erFX, are split by three points after a day where each of them put three ‘keepers’ on the board. Argentina’s Victoria Travascio and Maria Branz occupy the first place followed by Great Britain’s Kate Macgregor and Sophie Ainsworth and Brazil’s Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze.
Singapore’s Kimberly Lim and Cecilia Low are tied with the Brazilians and for their first-time racing in Santander, came off the water with smiles on their faces. “It was a pretty good first race, we were easing into it,” said Low. Lim continued, “We got a good understanding of the race area from our first race and that helped with the rest of the day.”
The pair recently finished third at the Princesa Sofia Regatta in Palma de Mallorca, Spain and ninth at the French World Cup and they’re enjoying their sailing together, “We have been competing together for two years. Cecilia is five years older than me, so I just finished youth and then we jumped into sailing together. It’s been an awesome partnership,” explained Lim.
Low added, “We have been able to gel together and communicate very well. It’s going very well.”
Although they’re close to the podium after day one, the Singaporeans know there’s nine fleet races remaining ahead of the Medal Race and their plan, for now, is simple, “We’re looking into our processes and seeing how we can improve,” concluded Low.
In the Men’s Skiff, 49er, Lukasz Przybytek and Pawel Kolodzinski (POL) are tied on five points with James Peters and Fynn Sterritt of Great Britain. Three races were held with wins going the way of the Polish pair, Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas (GBR) as well as Argentinean brothers Yago and Klaus Lange.
Switzerland’s Mateo Sanz was prepared for a final day Men’s Windsurfer, RS:X, duel with Louis Giard (FRA) at the French leg of the World Cup Series to decide the honours. However, after failing to keep clear of a rival competitor ahead of the final day, Sanz received a disqualification and dropped completely out of contention.
Fast forward to the World Cup Final and Sanz has erased the French headache from his memories and knows what he must do to perform in Spain.
“I will try and avoid those situations,” Sanz said through a smile, “I need to be more consistent. That is in the past and now I am focusing on this competition and trying to do my best.”
Sanz certainly brought his best on the opening day of racing. He finished second in the opening race, backed it up with a first and solidified it with a fourth, which he discards. He holds an early advantage over Thomas Goyard (FRA) but the Frenchman discards a 16th so will have to be cautious this week.
In the Women’s Windsurfer fleet, Katy Spychakov (ISR) is first overall. Emma Wilson (GBR) and Rio 2016 Olympic silver medallist Peina Chen (CHN) follow.
Home nation favourite Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco (ESP) got better as the day went on in the Mixed Multihull, Nacra 17. A third, followed by a second and then a first puts them in control at the early stages of the event. John Gimson and Anna Burnet (GBR) and Tom Phipps and Nicola Boniface (GBR) trail the Spaniards by one point.
French World Cup winner Nico Parlier (FRA) was the form rider in the Foiling Formula Kite. Five races wins out of six in the yellow fleet hand him the overall lead. Guy Bridge (GBR) won three races in the blue fleet and is second overall.
Defending World Cup Final champion Oliver Bridge (GBR) is down in sixth place.
In the Two Person Dinghies, 470, Japan’s Ryo Imamura and Jumpei Hokazono controlled the men’s division, snatching up a 1-2. Four Japanese Men’s 470 teams are racing in Santander, working as a team to make gains and improvements. Although Imamura and Hokazono lead, the remaining three crews will be piling on the pressure in the coming days.
The second win of the day in the men’s fleet went to Italy’s Giacomo Ferrari and Giulio Calabro. However, before racing started the Italians received a discretionary penalty as their boat did not weigh-in the specifications laid out in the class rules. They therefore received a 40% penalty to their days scores and are ninth overall.
Spain’s Barbara Cornudella and Sara Lopez sailed consistently, picking up a third and a second in the Women’s fleet. Silvia Mas and Patricia Cantero (ESP), Rio 2016 Olympic gold medallist Hannah Mills, sailing with Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) and pre-regatta favourites Afrodite Zegers and Anneloes van Veen (NED) follow, tied on seven points.
Great Britain’s Ed Wright has the early lead in the Men’s Heavyweight Dinghy, Finn, but the pack of racers behind him are all tight. Just ten points split the top eight. Henry Wetherell (GBR) and Alex Muscat (ESP) took the day’s race wins.
Jean Baptiste Bernaz (FRA) and Charlie Buckingham (USA) share the Men’s One Person Dinghy, Laser, lead. Both racers were consistent on the opening day and are level on five points. The Frenchman recorded a race win and a fourth and the American picked up a 3-2 scorecard.
2016 Youth World Champion Dolores Moreira (URU) opened her Santander account with a fifth in the opening race but moved to the top of the Women’s One Person Dinghy, Laser Radial, leaderboard after a bullet in the final race of the day.
Moreira is three points clear of Vasileia Karachaliou (GRE), gold medallist at the 2017 World Cup Series event in Miami, USA. The opening race win went the way of Evi van Acker (BEL) who is seventh overall.
The discard kicks in after three races in the Laser, Laser Radial, 470s and Finn so changes are to be expected after Wednesday’s action.