Photos: Katie Ashworth

Team Russia the class act

On day four of the Magic Marine SB20 European Championship in Medemblik

Wednesday September 26th 2012, Author: Katie Ashworth, Location: Netherlands

The best get better on day 4 of the Magic Marine SB20 European Championship in Medemblik, The Netherlands.

Team Russia, helmed by Rodion Luka, with Oleg Zherebtsov, Anna Stepanova and Andre Klochko, now leads the Championship by 8 points; their two discards are a 5th and a 7th. Their performance, professionalism and passion for the event and the SB20 class is as clear as ever. 

The first attempt of the Race Committee to get the fleet away at 10.30 ended in a general recall. On the second attempt, the fleet got away cleanly: 470 sailor Ben Saxton (GBR), one of the youngest helms in the fleet (and seemingly unaffected by his poor performance at pool the night before in a Medemblik back street bar), port tacked the entire fleet and was a comfortable 25 boat lengths ahead of Team Russia at the windward mark. Consistent with previous strategies, Saxton gybed early to favour the left downhill, however the breeze remained stronger on the right and by the leeward mark Team Russia had not only over hauled 'the kids' in turquoise, but had a comfortable 25 boatlength lead of their own, which thereafter never looked in doubt. The Russians kept extending where as the Saxtons were looking over their shoulder to defend their position from Robert Greenhalgh (GBR). Danger man of the day was Roberto Caresani who came in 4th and is looking increasingly comfortable in the top five.

Also seemingly unaffected by the previous nights entertainment, Russia's Anna Basalkina swapped dancing in the car park for dancing downwind and gybed her way into 6th position in Race 10, pursued hotly by Jerry Hill.

Race 11 was one about consolidation at the sharp end of the fleet as those that were still able to count their scores covered their rivals. Greenhalgh and Luka came out of the top left evenly with Luka having slight leverage to leeward which paid off as they approached the windward mark. However, those that had gone right earlier, five or six boats, were split by Luka and Greenhalgh but clean away were Andrea Racchelli (ITA) and Paul Gast (NED). At the hoist, the experience of Gast with Serge Kats helming (twice winner of the Optimist World Championships, three times winner of the Europe Dinghy World Championships and numerous J22 and Laser titles) took them clear away from Racchelli as he “schooped” for fish at the spreader mark.

Carveth returned to form after his not so legendary performance downhill yesterday and by the leeward gate he was nose to nose with Luka; choosing the left mark while Luka gybing to the right. Carveth tacked back to protect his gain and at the first cross up the beat he was clear, and never looked back, and focused on reeling in Gast/Kats. Jerry Hill moved un-noticed to fourth having been deep on the first beat, but picking hard right downhill on both runs. Once again Caresani performed well downhill and followed hill over the line in fifth.

Two final races of the Magic Marine SB20 European Championships will be sailed tomorrow on Thursday where the Champion will be decided, stay tuned for more an exciting finale to what has been an excellent event.

Full results here

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