Weymouth and Portland saves the
best for last
The best of
Weymouth and Portland was on show on Sunday as ten gripping Medal Races
brought the final Sailing World Cup event before the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
to a close.
Sailing World Cup Weymouth and Portland was the final opportunity for sailors
to test themselves at an elite, official event before the summer showcase in
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The Medal Races provided a glimpse of what is to come at Rio 2016 with those
aiming to peak for the Olympic Games topping the podium.
A consistent south westerly 10-14 knot breeze ensured a bumper day of live
Medal Races in Portland Harbour. Great Britain were the big winners, claiming
13 medals on their home waters.
Watch the Medal Races back in their entirety here - https://youtu.be/DljxrjNTyLo
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Men's and Women's 470
Croatia's Sime Fantela and Igor Marenic expertly tackled the Medal Race in
the Men's 470 to win an impressive gold medal.
They grabbed the lead early on and never looked back as they overcame a
six-point deficit over the leading British and Spanish teams.
"It feels great to win in Weymouth,” beamed Fantela immediately after racing,
"We have never done it. When we were preparing for the London 2012
Olympics we were always third and fourth. It's great to finally win here.”
Fantela and Marenic have won key events in the build-up to Rio 2016. They
knocked Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS) off of the Men's 470 World
Championship throne, winning the title in Buenos Aires, Argentina earlier on
in the year. They then snapped up Sailing World Cup Hyères gold and the
Weymouth and Portland victory puts them in a strong place going into Rio
"We are happy with the way we are sailing,” said Marenic, "We're
taking some good points away and some things to work on with Rio really
close. This is showing us we are in a good way and we are looking forward to
Great Britain's Luke Patience and Chris Grube and Spain's Jordi Xammar and
Joan Herp were tied for the lead overnight on 24 points with the Croatians
six points behind in third.
The Croatians concentrated on winning the race as both teams pushed to make
up the places. Xammar and Herp came closest, finishing level on 32 points
with the Croatians, missing out on gold via countback. Even though they had
to settle for silver, Xammar and Herp were both delighted with their week.
"It was a good championship for us,” expressed Xammar, "It's our
second podium in the world cup and having a silver is amazing. We won in
Qingdao  but not all the top guys were there.”
Herp added, "At one moment we thought we could move up [to first] at the
last mark. Our speed brought us up into the silver medal position.”
Patience and Grube finished the race in sixth and completed the podium.
British sailors dominated in the Women's 470, making it a clean sweep of
British flags on the podium.
Hannah Mills and Saskia Clark (GBR) successfully defended the title they won
in 2015 after a second in the Medal Race. Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh McIntyre
(GBR) took the race victory and with it, silver. Amy Seabright and Anna
Carpenter (GBR) completed the all-British podium.
Switzerland's Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler were tied with Mills and
Clark at the top of the leader board before the Medal Race but a seventh
meant they missed out via countback, ending up fourth overall.
Great Britain's Giles Scott continued his dominance in the Finn, claiming another
gold medal on his #RoadToRio. Jonathan Lobert (FRA) won the Medal Race to
secure silver and Max Salminen (SWE) completed the podium.
Scott finished second to Lobert in a physically tough Finn Medal Race that
saw each sailor push the limits. After racing Scott said, "This is about
as physical as it gets. The water was flat, there was not a lot of surfing
and with free pumping in 10 knots, you put as much energy into it as you can.
"The guys who did well made the most of that.”
Lobert was the standout sailor in the Finn class on the day, streaking ahead
to win the Medal Race by 15 seconds. The Frenchman has enjoyed great success
in Weymouth and Portland over the years, winning bronze at London 2012 and
feels comfortable on the waters. "I love Medal Races in Weymouth
as I win most of them,” exclaimed Lobert. "I feel good here, I have good
lines and I am fast.”
The Frenchman will be a major contender at Rio 2016 and has his eyes fixed
firmly on Scott, "We are pushing for Rio and we know that nobody is unbeatable.
He [Scott] is dominating but this week I have been in front of him many times
and I hope I can do it again in Rio.”
Laser and Laser Radial
Training partners Nick Thompson and Elliot Hanson made it a British 1-2 in
the Laser fleet as Australia's Tom Burton was made to settle for bronze.
Burton had led for the most part of the week but a ninth in the Medal Race
compared the Thompson's fourth and Hanson's third saw him drop down.
For the British pair, they shared their success together and highlighted
their regime as the key to success. On the partnership Thompson said,
"He's [Hanson] put in a lot of hard work already so it's great to see
him shine. He's spent a lot of time in Rio with me and it's great to see him
Hanson added, "It feels awesome. It's my first World Cup medal and to be
up on the podium with my mate, it means a lot. I'm proud to be his training
partner. I'm happy with this week and hopefully it will put me in good stead
going to Tokyo.”
Thompson's victory in Weymouth and Portland, added to back to back World
Championship titles, puts a tag on him as favourite for Laser gold at Rio
2016 but he feels no pressure, "Most of the hard work going into Rio is
done,” explained Thompson, "I'm pretty happy with where I am at and I've
been working on some of my weaknesses and it's starting to pay off. I'm
peaking at the right time.”
Marit Bouwmeester (NED) dominated Mathilde de Kerangat (FRA) in the Laser
Radial Medal Race to confirm her gold medal. The French sailor was Bouwmeester's
only rival for gold as she was well clear of the chasing pack. Taking a
13-point advantage over de Kerangat into the Medal Race, Bouwmeester's
approach was a brutal, yet fair one, as she match raced her opponent to the
back of the fleet.
Bouwmeester engaged de Kerangat at the start and kept her at the back of the
fleet for the entirety of the race to claim gold.
"It feels good to win,” Bouwmeester said, "I wasn't certain on the
left of the course so I changed a little bit and took France out. It was
quite difficult to slow someone down in this breeze so I tried to hold her up
as much as I could and I am glad I succeeded.”
At the front of the fleet, Lijia Xu (CHN) sailed away, taking the Medal Race
win and with it, silver as the French racer dropped to third.
Men's and Women's RS:X
Toni Wilhelm (GER) and Peina Chen (CHN) held on to their overnight leads in
the Men's and Women's RS:X.
Wilhelm snapped up the Medal Race victory, taking the win by just six seconds
over Tom Squires (GBR). Wilhelm's main rival for gold, Chunzhuang Liu (CHN)
finished down in seventh enabling the German to comfortably wrap up the
title. Aichen Wang (CHN) completed the Men's RS:X podium.
In the Women's RS:X, Chen's run of race wins was ended by Great Britain's
Emma Wilson but the work done in the fleet races was enough for her to sail
through in second and snap up gold. Victory for Wilson ensured she held on to
silver with Isobel Hamilton (GBR) claiming bronze.
49er and 49erFX
Peter Burling and Blair Tuke (NZL) have dominated in recent times but in
their absence at Sailing World Cup Weymouth & Portland, their compatriots
Logan Dunning Beck and Jack Simpson (NZL) stepped up to the mark.
The pair had a solid advantage heading into the Medal Race and a sixth
confirmed the victory. Immediately after the win the duo were virtually lost
"It [winning] is a bit foreign for us,” said Dunning Beck. "We're
usually chasing at the back of the pack. It's awesome. Peter and Blair are
great role models back at home and they're setting the bar really high.”
Second in the Medal Race confirmed silver for Dylan Fletcher Scott and Alain
Sign (GBR) and race winners, John Pink and Stu Bithell (GBR) complete the
Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth (GBR) held on to their gold medal in
the 49erFX after Alex Maloney and Molly Meech (NZL) made a final assault on
The Kiwis demonstrated excellent teamwork in the Medal Race and once they
grabbed the lead it never looked like they would relinquish it. They came
through 21 seconds clear of their rivals and then had to wait patiently to
see where Dobson and Ainsworth finished.
The Brits followed in fourth place which was enough to give them gold by a
single point and they were delighted with their week, "It's incredible,”
said Dobson, "it's amazing that it's this close to Rio and we pulled
this one out of the bag. It's been a while since we have finished on the
Ainsworth added, "We're happy with where our sailing is right now and
things that we've been working on over the last nine months have come
Maloney and Meech did all they could in the Medal Race but it just was not to
be, however, they were still left with smiles on their faces. "It was
really cool to come out here and execute our plan,” said Maloney. Meech
added, "We're stoked with second but we were really close to first and
that would have been nice but we're happy with the day.”
Julia Gross and Cecilia Jonsson (SWE) rounded off the podium.
Sixth in the Medal Race was enough for Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves (GBR) to
win gold in the Nacra 17. The pair held the lead heading into the final day
and even though their main rivals to gold, Paul Kohlhoff and Carolina Werner
of Germany, finished well ahead of them, the three consecutive race wins they
picked up leading up to the Medal Race proved decisive.
Kohlhoff and Werner won't leave Weymouth and Portland too disheartened as
their silver medal hands them the German Nacra 17 spot for Rio 2016.
Sailing World Cup Hyères gold medallists Fernando Echavarri and Tara Pacheco
(ESP) won the Medal Race but this was not enough to make it onto the podium.
Billy Besson and Marie Riou (FRA) came through directly behind them, snapping
Just 54 days remain until the start of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games so it's
full on from hereon in until the summer showcase. As for the Sailing World
Cup, the series will resume in Qingdao, China before the centrepiece final in
Melbourne, Australia in December.
By Daniel Smith - World
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