Day 8 of competition, three more gold medals awarded, and the 2023 edition of Lanzarote International Regatta is complete.
The Israeli squad have dominated the iQFOiL women’s racing all week. Tricky breeze on the race course meant the medal series couldn’t go ahead. So Israel took all three spots on the podium, with Shahar Tibi (ISR) on the top step. In second and third respectively were Sharon Kantor (ISR) and Maya Morris (ISR).
“I would liked to have done more racing today but our format means we didn’t complete enough races to run a medal series,” said Tibi. “Anyway, I am very happy to win, and it’s a great result to see Israel take all the spots on the podium. We have been working very hard as a squad, back home and here in Lanzarote.
This place provides perfect conditions, all kinds of waves, some waves that I don’t think you can find anywhere else in the world. Nearly every day is sailable and we have had a good time training and racing here.”
iQFOiL Men: Mestre makes a late charge for gold
It proved to be a much more dramatic and unexpected outcome in the men’s iQFOiL fleet. Sam Sills (GBR) had won the leader’s yellow bib since day one, but the winner-takes-all format of racing favoured by the iQFOiL often throws up surprise victories at the end of competition. Sills fractionally misjudged his approach to the start while France’s Adrien Mestre (FRA) was fast out of the gate and went on to snatch the gold medal.
“It's an amazing feeling,” smiled Mestre, who had climbed from fourth place at the start of the day. “We have this final format where the winner takes all, so I knew I had a chance. I told myself, ‘don’t think, just be yourself, and go.’ I’m really happy that it happened for me. It's an amazing feeling.” Having already been here a month, Mestre is staying on a while longer. “I want to train here in Lanzarote before the other races begin in Europe.”
Luuc Van Opzeeland (NED) took second place while Sills, who had reigned supreme all week, had to be satisfied with third.
Nacra 17: French beat Argentina and New Zealand
Billy Besson & Noa Ancian (FRA) won Nacra 17 gold with Argentina and New Zealand taking silver and bronze. “That was my first medal race in my career,” said Ancian, sailing with the vastly experienced Besson. “To win gold here today feels amazing. We’ve been here training for two months and it’s a great way to finish our time in Lanzarote.”
It was a close battle for second overall, eventually won by Mateo Majdalani & Eugenia Bosco (ARG) who beat Micah Wilkinson & Erica Dawson (NZL) by a single point.
This evening the winners stood on the podium in Marina Rubicón as the sun set over the Canary Islands. Tomorrow some will fly home, others will rest up or even carry on with the training programme in these ever-challenging waters.
And so ends eight days of dramatic competition which delivered all forms of waves and weather. It’s why even more of the world’s best Olympic sailors will be back in 2024 for Lanzarote International Regatta.
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
Nacra 17 (after 8 races)
1. Besson/Ancian (FRA), 17 points
2. Majdalani/ Bosco (ARG), 33 points
3. Wilkinson/ Dawson (NZL), 34 points
iQFOiL Women (after 7 races)
1. Tibi (ISR), 23 points
2. Kantor (ISR), 23 points
3. Morris (ISR), 45 points
iQFOiL Men (after 9 races)
1. Adrien Mestre (FRA), 44 points
2. Luuc Van Opzeeland (NED), 47 points
3. Sam Sills (GBR), 12 points