(Riviera Nayarit, Mexico) Challenging conditions today at the Laser Standard Men’s World Championship as the wind went from 9 knots at the start of the day’s first race, to 20 knots during the second. Only two of the top-ten sailors avoided adding a discard race to their score line today as the Finals Series got underway in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.
Nick Thompson of Great Britain remains on top of the leader board, but the day belonged to the 2012 Olympic silver medalist Pavlos Kontides of Cyprus who mastered the widest range of conditions seen so far in this championship. Starting near the pin in today’s first race in 9 knots of wind, Kontides quickly got clear and was able to cross the fleet early and pick his way up the beat to round fifth.
A very happy Kontides said, “As the wind started to increase it went right and I was able to get through to first place on the second windward leg. In the second race I went middle right and hiked hard as the wind increased to over 18 knots. I rounded the first mark with Philipp Buhl and we had a great race in the full planing conditions. I passed Philipp near the end of the reach, extended a little downwind then I had to work hard to keep him behind on the second upwind leg.”
Championship leader, Nick Thompson, also chose the pin in the first race, a tactic that nearly backfired as he struggled to keep clear of the pin boat anchor line. That small delay meant that he did not have the same advantage as Kontides and had to hold the left side longer. But as soon as Thompson was clear to tack he could sail his own race up the middle.
Tompson’s 7th in that race was a championship saver for him as he tried the pin again for the second race but could not tack across the fleet this time. Thompson rounded the first mark in the twenties and in the stronger wind could only recover to 18th by the finish.
Thompson keeps his overall lead since his two nearest rivals, Jean-Baptiste Bernard of France and Robert Scheidt of Brazil, each had a bad ninth race, scoring a 22nd and 25th respectively. Unlike Thompson they each posted a single figure 6th and 5th to keep themselves in reach of the lead.
With four scheduled races to go, at this point it’s still anyone’s regatta to win. Racing continues tomorrow with the forecast calling for another spectacular day in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico.
Overall Results after 10 races with 2 discards
(Riviera Nayarit, Mexico) Nick Thompson of Great Britain had another good day at the races to close out the qualifying series in first place overall in the Laser Standard Men’s World Championship in Riviera Nayarit, Mexico. Thompson’s 2nd and 4th place allowed him to increase his advantage over Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France to five points, a margin by which Laser Championships can be won or lost. Tomorrow the sailors will be split into gold and silver fleets to begin three days of finals series racing.
Celebrated Laser World Champion and Olympic medalist, Robert Scheidt, moved into third place with two more top-ten results while the previous third place holder, Croatia’s Tonci Stipanovic, scored an 8th and 25th. Stipanovic now has to count a 14th (his previous discard race) but holds on to fourth place overall.
The top-3 sailors at the end of qualification have all, so far, maintained single figure results excluding their discard races. However, a close look at the score cards reveals that several sailors are starting to find the consistency that was missing at the beginning of the championship. These include the best sailor of the day, Wannes Van Laar of Belgium, who posted two second place finishes today to jump five places into fifth overall.
Today’s slightly lighter winds from a more southerly direction provided another mix in the results on this final qualification day. Changes in the wind strength and direction were minimal, between 215 and 230 degrees and 9 to 12 knots during the three hours of racing. However, these variations were enough to keep things interesting for the sailors and proved sufficient to provide significant changes in positions from one race to the next.
With three days of Finals Series racing to come, the sailors are certainly aware that the coming days of will be long and twice as hard, as the world’s top sailors now go head-to-head. Sailing skills need to be at a sailor’s best. Places will be won and lost by a meter or a second. A cool head under the hot sun and maximum concentration will be needed to stay consistent over the upcoming six scheduled races – even more so if the weather changes.
Overall Results after 8 races with 1 discard
(Nuevo Vallara, Mexico)The 2016 Laser Standard Men’s World Championship at Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico was always expected to be one of the highlights of the sailing year as the world’s top Laser sailors make their final preparations for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Winning a stand-alone world championship in an Olympic class is the ultimate goal for every sailor, apart from a coveted Olympic medal, and is certainly contributing to the pressure before the Games. A good result is not only a morale boosting personal achievement but also a message to your opposition in Rio to beware!
Defending a world championship title is a challenge only a few top sailors ever face, so for Great Britain’s Nick Thompson, returning to the top of the leader board after 6 races and a difficult day on the water is surely extra satisfying. Thompson finished first in today’s first race in the Blue Fleet to draw level on points with the overnight leader, Tonci Stipanovic of Croatia sailing in the Yellow Fleet. At the first mark the Croatian looked as if he would match Thompson race-for-race as he led New Zealand’s Sam Meech until the beginning of the second downwind leg when they split tacks. When they next met Meech had the advantage, which he held to the finish.
The second race for both fleets saw the usual southwesterly wind catch out a number of sailors as they expected the right side of the first windward leg to pay as it had in the previous race. The 11 knot wind increased to 13 knots and swung 10 degrees to the left soon after the start. Unfortunately for some the wind stayed left, stranding those who placed their faith in finding a right shift. Amongst these was Stipanovic, who suffered most in the Yellow Fleet rounding the first mark in 21st position, five places behind overnight 5thoverall Robert Scheidt. By the finish, Scheidt had made a good recovery to 8thand Stipanovic mirrored his gain to 14th, which became his discard. Slowly the first leg mix sorted itself out with Kristian Ruth from Norway improving his fourth place rounding at the top mark to take the winning gun ahead of his fellow countryman Hermann Tomasgaard and Philipp Buhl of Germany.
In the Blue Fleet it took three recalls to get the fleet away in a building breeze. The course was more balanced although the fleet still favored the right. Belgium’s Wannes van Laer did the best job of picking his way through the shifts in the center right to lead at the first mark ahead of Julio Alsogaray from Argentina and Australia’s Tom Burton. Meanwhile, Thompson protected the right to round in 7th. Van Laer swapped places with Alsogary on the first downwind as Thompson gained three places. By the end of the race Burton had taken first place, which with a 4th in the previous race made him the second most improved sailor of the day jumping 11 places up the leaderboard to 8th compared to best of the day, New Zealand’s Sam Meech, who climbed 13 places to 11thoverall.
Thompson now has a three-point cushion over new number two, Jean-Baptiste Bernaz of France, going into the final day of qualifiers before the real excitement begins in the finals series when the world’s top 56 Laser sailors race head-to-head.
Overall Results after 6 races with 1 discard
Tonci Stipanovic from Croatia heads the leader board with a well deserved win in the first race of Day 2. In a 10 knot south westerly breeze Matthew Wearn from Australia led the blue fleet round the first mark ahead of Wannes van Laer BEL and Julio Alsogaray ARG. Stipanovic took the lead ahead of Wearn after a good second windward leg when both pulled clear of Alsogaray and the chasing pack to then lead the fleet home. Germany’s Olympic representative, Philipp Buhl, was a major casualty at the start of the blue fleet race when he had to retire after being given a second yellow flag penalty on the start line.
In the yellow fleet, sailing on the outer loop, overnight leader Nick Thompson GBR,could only manage a 5th behind Jean-Bapiste Bernaz and the first three Marco Gallo ITA, Kacper Zieminski POL and Franccesco Marrai ITA who traded places in front of him.
The wind increased for the second races of the day bringing larger waves enabling sailors to catch some good downwind rides and, for a few, also the attention of the on-water jury.
The previously favoured right right-hand of the course was not so dominant although most of the favourites scored well. In the yellow fleet, Olympic silver medalist, Pavlos Kontides CYP won the port end pin position at the start and tacked to cross the fleet early to lead all the way home ahead of Bernaz. 5 places back from the pin Thompson got trapped at the port end and had to take a two turn penalty after he inadvertently impeded another boat whilst trying to clear his wind. Thompson did well to round the first mark in 20th and then recover to 13th which is currently his discard race.
Luke Elliot AUS also led from start to finish in the blue fleet with Alsogaray and Scheidt again in single figures after both climbing through the fleet.
5 points separate the first 7 places in the overall results after 2 more races at the Laser World Championships at Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico.
Overall Results after 4 races with 1 discard