Winds of 13 to 19 knots for three Medal Races in poor ‘Calima’ visibility. Last gasp victory for Xammar & Brugman in the 470 Victory for Great Britain in men’s and women’s skiff fleets. Four days of Nacra 17 & iQFOiL windsurfer competition start on Tuesday.
Part one of Lanzarote International Regatta reached its climax with three enthralling medal races in the 470 Mixed, 49erFX and 49er fleets. The thick dust of the Calima wind from the Saharan Desert limited visibility but it failed to put a limit on the drama.
470 Mixed: A last-gasp gold and silver for Spain
In the 470 Medal Race, Sweden’s Anton Dahlberg & Lovisa Karlsson (SWE) went into the 10-boat showdown with a useful points lead. However it was Spain’s Silvia Mas and Nico Rodriguez (ESP) who shot into an early lead to put themselves in contention for silver, maybe even the gold.
Mas and Rodriguez won the race but a late surge by Spanish team mates saw Jordi Xammar & Nora Brugman (ESP) surf past two boats to clinch the gold medal by a single point. Mas and Rodriguez took the silver, and the Swedes had to settle for bronze.
“Anton and I are good friends and we have been training together and racing against each other for many years,” said Xammar, who took bronze behind Dahlberg’s silver at the Tokyo Games. “I think Anton and Lovisa are a really great team and really good people. It was really nice to see our friends and teammates Silvia and Nico win the medal race and take silver. It is great for our team to have gold and silver on home waters.”
49erFX: Black & Tidey win their first big gold together
In the 49erFX, Freya Black and Saskia Tidey (GBR) were going to be hard to beat. The British crossed the finish line in fourth, giving them the gold medal. Italy’s Jana Germani and Giorgia Bertuzzi made a late charge across the finish to grab silver from the Americans, Steph Roble and Maggie Shea who took bronze.
A year ago Black had barely trapezed off the side of any dinghy, let alone a high performance skiff like the 49erFX. Working with the experienced double Olympian Tidey, Black has made phenomenal progress in a short time. “I’m so, so buzzing and so proud of what we've done here this week,” said Black. Tidey added: “We’re slightly ahead of where we want to be and it’s a great start to a really important year as we build up towards qualifying for the Paris Olympics. We’ve had a really good training block here in Lanzarote. We've been here for three years now and the conditions just deliver every single time we've been here, The people involved are so committed to make this Regatta training centre happen and I can't really think of anywhere else we would train in the winter than at Marina Rubicón.”
49er Men: Brits back on track
James Peters and Fynn Sterritt (GBR) have been strong all week in the 49er and a fourth place in the Medal Race was good enough for another skiff gold for Great Britain. After getting a knot in their gennaker retrieval line at the leeward mark and losing valuable ground against their rivals, Logan Dunning Beck and Oscar Gunn held on for a New Zealand silver while young Austrians Keanu Prettner and Jakob Flachberger took the bronze.
“It’s been really difficult conditions this week, big waves and quite challenging at times,” said Sterritt. “So it’s fantastic to come away with the win.” Suffering burnout after missing out on a ticket to the Tokyo Games, Peters and Sterritt took a two-year sabbatical away from Olympic campaigning to get some experience in the corporate world. Victory in Lanzarote is a sign that the British duo are getting their campaign back on track as they aim for Paris 2024. “It’s a good time to be putting in this kind of performance,” said Peters. “We’ve got to keep plugging away and hopefully we’ll get the rewards. It’s great for Britain to win in the boys and girls fleets. They [Black & Tidey] should be really proud of their performance this week.”
Lanzarote Part 2: Bring on the Foilers!
So that’s Part 1 of the Lanzarote International Regatta complete, but Tuesday marks the start of four days of competition for three foiling fleets, the Nacra 17 catamaran and the men’s and women’s iqfoil windsurfers. Racing begins at 1100 hours on Valentine’s Day.
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