Four teams are tied at the top of the 470 rankings after day one of the Lanzarote International Regatta in the Canary Islands.
A young Austrian team, Keanu Prettner & Jakob Flachberger (AUT), made their mark on a world-class 49er fleet after winning the last two races of the three-race session in tricky conditions, westerly breeze of about 7 to 12 knots and big ocean swell.
“We managed to be fast out of the start line and we had good speed with some new sails,” said Prettner who has been sailing with Flachberger for three years. “Winning two races today, feels quite amazing, I hope we can keep it up this week. It feels good to have the reassurance that you’re going fast in these difficult conditions against such a high quality fleet.”
James Peters & Fynn Sterritt (GBR) sit in second place, 3 points behind the Austrians. “It’s really good to feel that pressure of racing again, after such a long time training,” said Peters. “That was good racing today and you can really see that Marina Rubicón and the organisers are working hard to turn this into a top-end competition.”
Big Swell, Flaky Breeze
As for the challenges of the day, Peters said they were many, but highlighted three in particular. “Big swell, big shifts, and flaky breeze, and some or all of them came into play at different times. There were times when we were surfing upwind on waves, and you were underpowered trying to climb up a wave then overpowered as your surfed down the face of the wave. So there were times when we felt we weren’t on the right settings but we didn’t let it worry us, you just work with what you have.”
Behind the third-placed Irish team of Robert Dickson & Sean Waddilove (IRL), winners of the opening race, are Diego Botin & Florian Trittel (ESP) “We’ve been training in Marina Rubicon for two months now, over the winter,” said Trittel. “You can sail pretty much every day here, you hardly lose a day of sailing and that’s what it was like today. We had a very untypical day, normally we have north-easterly breeze but today it was more from the south which made us have to wait but then the skies cleared and we ended up with three really good races. Our day was a keeper with a 5,2,5, which in such a strong fleet is a very good thing.”
Olympic Champs at the top of the FX
By the time the 49ers finished their session on Bravo Course it was getting late in the afternoon but with the sun shining and the wind blowing nicely, the race committee sent the 49erFX on to the water for two races before the sun set. At the end of day one the double Olympic Champions, Martine Grael & Kahena Kunze (BRA), lead with scores of 8,1. The Italians Jana Germani & Giorgia Bertuzzi (ITA) are in second and a race win in the opening heat puts Freya Black & Saskia Tidey (GBR) in third overall.
Four-way 470 Tie
Things are super tight at the top of the 470 leaderboard with four teams sharing 6 points. However, this is counting only two of the three races and discarding the worst score, so it’s not really representative of how things will shake out in the coming days. The reigning European Champions, Anton Dahlberg & Lovisa Karlsson (SWE), hold top spot with ever-improving scores of (7), 5, 1. That 7th place could prove useful to the Swedes later in the week even if they’re not counting it right now.
Dahlberg was rightly happy with their performance. “A special day, one for the books. Most of the time we were in the right place at the right time, we pushed the boat well, and we went into the day with an open mindset. I think we got the big picture correct, and that helped a lot. There was a wind oscillation and some pressure differences, and a big shift in the first race which was costly for us. It was quite technical, some swell coming in, so you had a lot to think about, but we like it when it’s like that.”
Sitting on equal points with the leading Swedes but less consistent across the day are teams from Switzerland, Spain and the reigning World Champions from Germany, Luise Wanser & Philipp Autenrieth (GER).
The forecast for Saturday and the coming days is looking very good. Racing starts at 0945 hours on Saturday morning for the 470 Mixed on Alpha course and the 49erFX women on Bravo.
Only in its third year, Lanzarote International Regatta is rapidly establishing itself as one of the ‘must go’ events on the Olympic sailing circuit, with 367 sailors from 39 nations attending this week. Following swiftly on from the recent Lanzarote iQFOil Games, the Lanzarote International Regatta has brought together a world-class group of race officials to run the event for six Olympic disciplines: 49er, 49erFX, 470 Mixed, iQFOil Women and Men and Nacra 17 catamaran.
The regatta is divided into two halves. 470 Mixed, 49er and 49erFX fleets complete their racing on 13 February. Then the iQFOil and Nacra 17 fleet will race from 14 to 17 February.
This international event, organised by Marina Rubicón with the support of the Royal Canarian Sailing Federation is possible thanks to the institutional sponsorship of Promotur Turismo de Canarias with the financing of the REACTEU Fund and Tourism of the Cabildo de Lanzarote through the sports product European Sports Destination (managed by SPEL-Turismo Lanzarote), as well as the public collaboration of the Yaiza City Council and the private entities Dinghycoach, Naviera Armas & Cabrera Medina (Cicar).
Andy Rice, event reporter