|ISCYRA Regatta Report|| |
Mon Jul 6th, 2009 through Sat Jul 11th, 2009
Podium: Loof, Tillander, Prada, Scheidt, Percy, Simpson. Photo by Rolex/Tom Korber.
| Regatta report.|
Final results for eight races on July 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11.
Report by Andreas Kling, Rolex Baltic Week
This was a two-lap windward-leeward course, with each leg around 2 nautical miles. In gusty conditions the Stars were powered up and sometimes overpowered, with two boats dis masted, Mats Johansson and Leif Moller (SWE) were first to lose theirs, and teams reported damage or torn sails.
By the second beat the British team of lain Percy/Andrew Simpson had fought their way to the front, a posi¬tion which they held to the final downwind gate, with Fredrik Loof/Johann TiJJander (SWE) and Robert Scheidt /Bruno Prada (BRA) in third and fourth respectively .
However, in the shifty conditions Loof and TiIIander, made the better call up the final beat, heading left to just edge past the British team and take first at the finish line. Behind Percy/Simspon in second, were SuzukiiDaichi (JPN) in third. In fourth was Robert Scheidt (BRA), who suffered some damage sustained in the breezy conditions.
Day Two: For the second day of racing (7 July) the Kiel Fjord yet again produced gusty west-south-westerly conditions which caused more gear damage. Although the skies were dotted with clouds, there were no signs of the thunderstorms of the day before. Racing on a two-lap windward-leeward course for the day's opener, first victory went to Percy/Simpson.
After a close downwind duel with rivals Scheidt/Prada, which saw Scheidt yellow-flagged by the on-the-water jury, the Olympic gold medalists added a win to the second place on the first day to top the leader board. Behind them the Greek team of Emilios Papathansiou and Karnoutsos Apostolos took second. Fellow Qingdao Olympic medalist Fredrik Loof showed consistency in shifty conditions to take third, Scheidt held onto fourth after completing his 720 penalty turns, whilst fifth went to Mark Mendelblatt and Mark Strube (USA).
For the second race of the day Scheidt and Prada didn't put a foot wrong to take the gun, finishing first ahead of Babendererde and Jacobs, who gave the world number one a good challenge until the final leg. Third went to Alberto Barovier and Nando Colaninno (ITA). In fourth place were Juan Kouyoumdjian and Alejandro Colla (ARG). The renowned yacht designer helped create the latest Mader-built Star which was sailed to Olympic gold last year by Percy/Simpson in Qingdao.
After two days of racing this leaves all three Olympians - Percy, Loof and Scheidt - tied at the top on 9 points apiece. With one win and one second place to count, it is lain Percy and Andrew Simpson who top the leaderboard overnight. In second overall is Fredrik Loof, sailing his first event with Johan Tillander. Those young Germans - Babendererde and Jacobs - are currently lying in fourth overall.
Day three of the Rolex Baltic Week brought cloudy skies and showers. The gusty, shifty conditions which have characterized the event so far continued, with south-westerly breezes shifting up to 20 degrees. The average wind strength was around 12-15 knots, but the rain clouds also brought squalls and up to 18-20 knots.
In the first race, Xavier Rohart (FRA), with crew Pierre Alexis Ponsot, sailed a near-faultless race to lead around every mark and take the gun. Behind him there was plenty of scrapping for positions, with Percy/Simpson pushing hard to climb through the fieet from ninth at the first top mark, to sixth at the gate, then finally surging past Hamish Pepper on a wave to take second. The Kiwi duo of Hamish Pepper and Craig Monk held on for third, with world number one Robert Scheidt/Bruno Prada fourth.
The second race of the day saw an exciting match-racing style finale, with Fredrik Loof and Robert Scheidt pushing hard to get their nose in front. Percy/Simpson took the early lead, and showed the fleet the way round until the final beat, when they tacked back in from the favored right-hand side to the middle of the fieet a bit too late to lose a handful of places. This put Loof out in front, and set up a tacking duel for the race win with Scheidt. The Brazilian tacked out to the right just as Loof headed for the left-hand side. The Swede was held out to the left of the pack, whilst Scheidt got a little shift to overtake into first place. Third place went to Mark MendelblattlMark Strube whilst Percy/Simpson finished in fourth.
A day of relaxation: Thursday was a layday for competitors. Tthe evening before the teams got the chance to celebrate the achievements so far in this world-class fleet, with the traditional Star Class Mid-Series Prize-giving and Rolex Baltic Week dinner. Over 200 sailors, organisers and honourable guests gathered in the lavishly deco¬rated Grand Marquee to enjoy a delicious dinner of fine cuisine.
Day Five: With unsettled weather of clouds, rain showers, and southwesterly winds gusting up 23 knots, sailing was postponed until early afternoon. Racing finally got underway on the third attempt at around 15.30. With a current running behind the fleet for the first time this week, the second start was a general recall - of the 88 competitors, 26 were black flagged, and the race committee spotted a further 15 or so over the line that couldn't be identified by either bow or sail numbers.
Racing began in a shifty south-westerly of 14-18 knots, on a two-lap windward-leeward course with a final upwind finish. In an upset to the previous form, Scheidt/Prada found themselves back in 12th for the first lap, with Percy/Simpson around 16th, and LooflTillander in 29th position. However, this Olympic trio's experi¬ence and determination saw them fight their way back into contention, showing phenomenal boat speed. Percy/Simpson leap-frogged their way back up the fleet throughout the second round, pulling ahead at one stage on the downwind leg, but Scheidt/Prada chose the better tactical options, taking the right-hand gate on the second downwind leg to secure the gun at the end. Percy/Simpson opted to go left at the final bot¬tom mark, finishing in third. Fourth went to Hamish Pepper/Craig Monk. Loof too had pulled off some impressive place gains to finish in fifth position .. Today leaves Scheidt/Prada in first place overall on 11 points, with Percy/Simpson just one point back in second. Third overall are Loof/Tillander on 16 points.
Final Day: In a south-westerly of 18-19 knots, racing got underway at the first attempt. The bulk of the pack started close to the favoured committee boat end, with few teams opting for the pin end. Overall leader Scheidt was initially buried in the pack, approaching the top mark somewhere in the upper 30s or lower 40s. Of the podi¬um contenders, Loof was in fifth whilst Percy had dropped down to 14th. The downwind finish saw Rohart/Ponset pushing their boat right to the edge in gusts of around 20 knots, surfing the small waves and grabbing the bullet from Sorensen by less than a boat length. Polgar/Kroeger celebrated their first podium finish in third with LooflTillander coming 4th.
Scheidt/Prada immediately discarded their 30th place, replacing it with a fourth from earlier in the week. Percy/Simpson were also able to discard their 10th from the day's first race, but were forced to bring a 6th place finish from Wednesday into the calculations. Hence, Scheidt/Prada's overall lead crept up to three points, but it all hung on the final race.
With tensions running high, race chairman Christian Haacke from Berlin promptly started the final race on a 1.75-nautical mile course with an upwind finish in blustery breezes. What a finale it was, with all three podium contenders separated by less than two boat lengths at the final gun. Whilst the Olympians duelled for position, at the finish it was Babendererde/Jacobs who took a popular home win and just half a boat length behind them came LooflTillander in second. Crucially in third place were Scheidt/Prada, who managed to hold off closest rivals Percy/Mitchell by half a boat length, who were overlapped in fourth. This gave Scheidt/Prada the 2009 Star European Championships, and the Rolex Baltic Week prizes of two Rolex Submariner Date timepieces, with 18 points. Tied on 22 points overall were lain Percy/Andrew Simpson, and Fredrik Loof/Johan Tillander, with the Brits taking second on countback.
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