Laser, Laser Radial And 470 Fleets Bring Aquece Rio To A Close
International Sailing Regatta 2014 has drawn to
a close with the Laser, Laser Radial and 470 honours being picked up on the
final day of action. The Laser and Laser Radial gold medals went the way of Tom Burton (AUS) and
Anne Marie Rindom (DEN). Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) made sure of Men's
470 gold whilst Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) clinched the Women's 470
honours. Racing on the Pão de Açucar race track, a south easterly breeze in between
5-10 knots allowed all the fleets to conclude their racing. The breeze died
towards the latter part of the afternoon as the Women's 470 wrapped up
Tom Burton (AUS) took a four point lead over Nick Thompson (GBR) into the
Medal Race but with the Briton unable take to the course due to injury the
Australian had a strong advantage over the chasing pack.
Burton came through in sixth to take gold in the light breeze and whilst on
paper the result seems convincing, it was far from that as the Australian
explained, "It was
pretty tough. I had a really good start and was going good in the first half
of the first beat but I got a bit conservative and made a bit of an error and
ended up at the back pretty quick. The rest of the race was pretty
Things could have been tighter for the Australian had Thompson raced which
Burton was quick to recognise, "Yesterday I didn't see him in that second race where he got hit but
obviously he got hit pretty bad after seeing him today. It would have changed
things up so who knows what would have happened.”
With the light winds testing the sailors' tactical nous the positions chopped
and changed. Francesco Marrai (ITA) took the bullet and was followed by
Charlie Buckingham (USA). Both sailors finished fifth and sixth respectively.
Rutger van Schaardenburg (NED) came through in third which was enough to push
him up from third into silver medal position.
Thompson's advantage was a good one coming into the Medal Race and even
though he counted 22 points he takes away bronze. Robert Scheidt (BRA)
finished in eighth which was not enough to push him ahead of Thompson.
For Burton and the remaining sailors it has been a good test and offered a
glimpse of what will occur in two years time. With a mixed bag of conditions the
best Laser sailor will Olympic gold as Burton concluded, "If you're good across the
board you'll be good here.”
Denmark's Anne Marie Rindom claimed a hard fought Laser Radial gold medal
following a fourth in the Medal Race.
Rindom trailed overnight leaders Tuula Tenkanen (FIN) and Evi Van Acker (BEL)
by two points heading into the final race and was able to advance up to the
top of the podium as she explained,
"I was in third position and I could become first. I was really nervous,
obviously. I was trying not to be but you can't always do that when you have
all the adrenaline going on. I tried to stay out of trouble and avoid contact
with all other boats and just sail my own race by focusing on my sailing and
speed and it turned out really great.
"I saw that the other
girls in front of me got a really bad start so from there it was just follow
them and make sure they didn't get ahead of me.”
Midway through the race Alison Young (GBR) had moved into gold medal position
as she took the lead. Rindom had work to do and with Tenkanen and Van Acker
struggling behind her she pushed forward. She moved up from seventh to fourth
by the conclusion of the race as Young dropped back a spot.
"It's a huge step for
me,” smiled Rindom. "It's
pretty good and a good signal you can sail in the Olympic venue. I think Rio
is definitely a hard place to sail. It's so much different to what we're used
to in Europe so we're definitely going to have to train here a lot.”
Young managed to take silver whilst Van Acker came through in eighth position
to hand her bronze. With a ninth place finish Tenkanen dropped from first to
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) brought a 17 point advantage into the Men's
470 Medal Race and whilst they got the job done their ninth place finish was
far from their best.
"It was tricky final
race,” admitted Ryan. "We
were comfortable with what we had to do in the final race so we didn't really
feel any pressure or stress. It was the first time we sailed on that course
and we rushed into it a bit. It was nice with some good racing in the fleet
and we learnt something new and we'll practice some more on that area again.”
Luke Patience and Elliot Willis took a third and walk away with silver whilst
Paul Snow Hansen and Dan Willcox (NZL) won the Medal Race to take bronze.
A lot of positives can be taken from the week by the Men's 470 fleet but
Belcher knows there is work to do two years out from the Olympic Games, even
with an excellent performance, "A lot of the athletes that haven't performed to their expectation here
will turn round and say they've got plenty time so they'll be okay. And the
guys that did perform get confidence from it.
"It depends on the
situation and for us we are really happy to come here and win. We knew if we
sailed well we could but it's nice to get a bit of confidence. We've got to
spend some more time here and the other athletes will do the same.”
Jo Aleh and Polly came out on top in a three way shoot out for
the Women's 470 title. Heading into the day Aleh and Powrie were tied on 15
points with Anne Haeger and Briana Provancha (USA) and Hannah Mills and
Saskia Clark (USA).
It was winner take all between the trio and with the Kiwis taking fourth they
had sealed the deal. In a fading afternoon breeze the conditions were
extremely hard for the Race Committee and sailors' as Aleh explained, "It was a pretty tough race.
Sail by the seat of your pants, see what happens and keep hoping it will work
out. We knew we had to beat both of them [Mills/Clark and Haeger/Provancha]
and be top five if the Austrians won. We always wanted to do well but just
had to beat those boats. Pretty early on, as we started we were in the middle
of them and kept an eye on them. The Americans dropped back pretty quickly so
it was just between us and the Brits.
"Everyone found it
stressful. There was a lot happening. When the boys raced before the wind was
a little bit more set but the wind had just changed. It was one of the most
unstable Medal Races we've done.”
Mills and Clark came through in sixth to pick up silver whilst the Americans
dropped out of the podium places following a tenth. Austria's Lara Vadlau and
Jolanta Ogar capitalised on the Americans misfortune with a fifth, enough to
hand them bronze via countback.
Attention now turns to the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championship
which takes place in northern Spain from 8-21 September 2014. The Santander
2014 ISAF Worlds is the first Olympic Qualification regatta for the Rio 2016
Olympic Sailing Competition. 50% of Rio 2016 spots will be decided in
Media coverage and results from the Aquece Rio will be delivered by the Rio
2016 team and ISAF through www.aquecerio.com/en/competicoes.php and http://www.sailing.org/2014-test-event.php
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