Training partners are stepping up
Most of the big names in 49er sailing are taking a well-deserved leave after Tokyo. As such, now is the time for potential Paris stars to usurp aging veterans.
Some names one would expect, like Tim Fischer with Fabian Graf (GER), who won the bronze medal at the 2018 world championships, do just that. They were modest in their assessment for the day, saying they were lucky with their picks upwind, but it was clear that they were able to execute their plans downwind. With the wind turning left all day, they jibed to widen the lingering lag on the tracks, and passed all day to score a 1, 2, 4 and move up to second place with 35 points.
35 points is a popular total, with three other teams each tied for second with the Germans. Mollerus and Macdiarmid (USA), winners of the Alexander the Great regatta, are among those teams which are targeting Paris after the USA have missed Tokyo. Then there are two training partners Tokyo from Austria and Poland, followed by another Polish team at just one point.
In seventh position are new names in the Spanish fleet, Martin Wizner with Pablo Garcia. The duo are only 20 and 21 years old and have moved to Santander to train with the Spanish federation from their sailing center. Navigating hard while attending college is quite a challenge, but it’s worth it. They scored two third places by starting well and hitting hard on the left side before falling back into race three with a 14th place finish.
Next Generation wins two victories against British Nacra
Gianfranco Luigi (ITA) is a two-time junior world champion. Today he won a Gimson and Burnet race and moved up to second place overall. Typically he sails with Maria Gublei, but she fell injured just before the start of the regatta with a sore back, so Alice Cialfi (ITA) flew as a replacement crew. As the two have never sailed together there is a lot to learn but sometimes it seems like they still do things right and managed to win the first race of the day.
British pair Rupert White and Kirtie Unwin also won the race. They were second in the last lap behind Gimson and Burnet when they turned the layline. White and Unwin continued past the layline, and as the wind turned left so far, they took advantage of a wide angle to pass the silver medalist pair, quite a feat. Overall they seemed to have a better day on day two after scoring a UFD on day one.
However, the Italians and the young Brits also managed to get tangled up in the second race, ending up in the protest hall for an incident at the windward mark. White winger Unwin won the DSQ and ended up placing ninth overall, now with scores of two letters.
Gimson and Burnet (GBR) continue to hold their own, winning the third race of the day while taking second place in the other two races.
Milestones and drama on the FX course
Sailing late in the evening, the 49erFX fleet provided unforgettable moments and other unforgettable moments. Two teams achieved their first ever European Championship victory and two other sailors had to receive medical attention following incidents on the water.
The calm and calm day was shaken by his sleep in the second race. With the buoy in the wind, Odile Van Aanholt (NED) steers from the wire during the set, while the boat behind and above also hoisted did not keep clear. She ended up in their spinnaker as they got off the Dutch boat. Quite suddenly and unprecedented, the recovery line of the windward teams, the rope which is used to pull the spinnaker and which is dead-end at the spinnaker, is wrapped around his neck. When the windward boat flattened, it was hoisted into the air and was held upside down about two meters in the air by its neck for a brief moment. The boat capsizes, relieving the tension, and Odile frees herself in the water. It was a crazy incident for everyone involved, including the fleet of coaches which were on hand, and rushed to lend support in case it was needed.
Odile finished the race, courageously enough, but was very traumatized physically and mentally by the incident. Back on shore, medical teams checked her condition and she ended up going to the hospital for further check-ups to make sure she was okay.
His trainer, Kaj Bocker, commented: “I have never seen anything like it in all my years of sailing, this is the first time that I have participated in a race to try to help. He was on hand to comfort Odile and then successfully filed a claim for redress for the pair who now sit second overall.
Back on the track, and now fourth overall, Mathilde Lovadina with Marine Riou (FRA) started the day with a victory. Mathilde has been sailing the FX for a few years now, and has found a new crew in the Navy, explained, “we won the pin, we set off at good speed and never looked back.” It was a pretty standard playbook for the day.
Canadian sisters Lewen-Lefrance, Georgia and Antonia also won their very first Euro race and moved up to sixth place overall. There are only two boats from Canada competing in the championship, and their 49er counterparts, the Woods, also had a landmark race with a second place finish on the day.
There was a second medical incident during a tiller extension exchange. The Russian team of Victoria Liksanova with Diana Sabirova found themselves forced to change the bar extensions after a failed tackle. The crew removed the old broken tiller bar extension and ended up sticking the charred end into their bar leg. The sharp carbon strands caused a fairly deep cut and medical teams were needed to remove the shards.
The Schulteis sisters (MLT) continue to lead after a strong score in the first race, which they give up, then a second place to close the day.
The 49erFX fleet will be the first to race on day 3, with four races slated to catch up having only done two on day two. The wind picked up a little later that day, and the 49erFX fleet was the last on the water, unable to make their third race as the light faded into the night.
Most of the fleet here in Greece is new to championship level Olympic races. As such, we see new stars emerging, new milestones taken, but also a new set of learning for everyone involved.
The races continue until Sunday when the medal races will conclude the 2021 European Championship in Thessaloniki. Scores, videos, photos and stories on: https://49er.org/event/2021-european-championship/