Saxton and Groves poised in the Nacra 17

Delta Lloyd Regatta sets sail

Tuesday May 26th 2015, Author: James Boyd, Location: Netherlands

It was a strong wind opening day for the 700 boats competing at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, Holland.

Poland’s world class windsurfing squad has always enjoyed the strong breeze, and Pawel Tarnowski leads the RS:X Men’s windsurfer division after a perfect day of three race victories. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka leads the RS:X Women’s division with scores of 2,1,2.

In the women’s skiff, the 49er FX, Dutch team Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz blasted around the course with incredible consistency, racking up 3,3,3 to lead the regatta, although the Aussie team in second place, Tess Lloyd and Caitlin Elks, also sit on 9 points with scores of 1,4,4.

It’s a similar tie-break story at the top of the men’s 49er leaderboard; New Zealand’s young team of Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski hold the lead in the men’s 49er fleet, but on equal points in second place is Australia’s Joel Turner and Lewis Brake. Near the back of the fleet, but not surprising after their first day ever of competition in the highly challenging 49er, is the team from Oman, Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi. “If we can get round the course, and not crash into anyone, we’ll be happy,” said Al Hadi, although he was disappointed to finish outside the time limit of the final of their three heats, after multiple capsizes on the last leg of the race.

Part of the challenge of racing on the IJselmeer is that the shallow 5-6m waters generate a short choppy wave pattern that makes it very easy to stick the nose of a fast boat like the 49er into the back of the wave, resulting in pitchpoles and capsizes. It’s a similar problem for the high-speed catamaran, the Nacra 17. However this didn’t upset the World No.1s from France, Billy Besson and Marie Riou who dominated the catamaran fleet with 1,3,1 scores, sitting 10 points in front of Great Britain’s Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves in second place just ahead of Olympic medallists from Australia, Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis.

Matthew Wearn from Australia did well in his side of the three-way draw in the 162-boat Laser qualifying fleet, with scores of 1,2 leaving him well placed after day one. Rutger van Schaardenburg is the top Dutch sailor in a very competitive home fleet, lying second overall with a 4,1 score. In the women’s singlehander, the Laser Radial, Ireland’s Annalise Murphy hammered home her traditional big-breeze advantage to win the first race of her qualifying group. On the other side of the draw, Olympic silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands won her race at a canter, easily justifying her early selection to the Olympic team for Rio 2016.

In the three-person Paralympic keelboat, Colin Harrison’s team from Australia tops the 12-boat Sonar fleet. In the SKUD doublehanders, Great Britain’s Alex Rickham and Niki Birrell hold a one-point lead over the Netherlands’ Rolf Schrama and Sandra Nap. France’s Damien Seguin enjoyed a perfect day in the 2.4mR singlehander keelboat, winning both races.

In the 470 divisions, Finland’s Niki Blassar and Mikaela Wulff lead the women’s fleet, and Korea’s Kim Chang-Ju and Kim Ji-Hoon lead the men. Pieter-Jan Postma didn’t have it all his own way in the Finn singlehander, although the Dutchman still looked impressive on home waters to lead with scores of 3,1. “When it’s windy and shifty like that, and with the waves on the IJselmeer, it can be tricky for sailors visiting here, but they are learning quickly,” he smiled. “I won’t be sharing any local secrets with them, they are working it out already!”


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