|BALATONFÜRED, HUNGARY-(15-6-2006) Wind conditions at Lake Balaton might have a major effect on the 470 European Championships. Due to a lack of wind, racing was not possible yesterday. Heavy rain and thunderstorms roll over the venue during night, making space for windless and sunny conditions during the day. Waiting for hours racing finally started at 14:00.
Excitement grows in this early stage of the event, as the new Olympic format allows less races. If wind conditions remain like last few days, it means the 470 European Championships event is almost half the way, with a true shake on the leaderboard if discards of worst results become effective.
In a light breeze of only 3-4 knots the Championships’ third race for both the 470 Men and Women in all groups got underway.
Today the circumstances demanded the utmost appliance of the sailors’ skills to handle the light conditions.
According to special 470 Class “Rule 42” everything is allowed to speed up the boat, using equipment, wind and body which includes pumping, rocking, etc. if a minimum of windspeed has been reached and the Race Committee has given the signal that sailors have freedom to “rock the boat”.
In wind conditions as today where wind does not reach these limits, it seemed hard for the sailors to control their energy. The Jury had to raise the flag for several times.
On top of the 470 Men’s results list, common leaders get back together again, except for ruling World Champions Nathan WILMOT / Malcolm PAGE who have weakened their position with a 22nd place in today’s race.
Dutch Brothers Sven COSTER / Kalle COSTER from the Netherlands fought their way back in line after ending up 33rd overall after two races yesterday. Half the race at 12th position, they finally crossed the finish line in 1st place in Group Pink which lets them step up to a 16th place overall.
Italian opening leaders Enrico FONDA with Marco GUERRA still retain the lead in the event after gaining a 3rd place in their group today , putting them in a quite convenient position to reach the finals. Benjamin BONNAUD with Romain BONNAUD (FRA) took over 2nd place on the overall rankings by winning the race in Group Blue.
In Group White of the Women’s Fleet, Therese TORGERSSON / Vendela ZACHRISSON (SWE) saw Stefanie ROTHWEILER / Vivien KUSSATZ (GER) and 470 legend Ruslana TARAN with Olena PAKHOLCHYK (UKR) leading in front of them during the major part of the race. Greedy for the lead they decided for an heroic attack by gybing downwind and move towards the shore line to become more pressure. Althought the chosen move seemed to poor, they gained an invincible lead, more than good enough to win the race.
Still three days to go and expected is that during the remaining days the Race Management will try to have three races a day instead of two as planned. The weather forecast predicts no significant changes. It might be well possible that the Championship is already in a further phase than expected.
Racing resumes tomorrow at 10:00 local time. The last day of qualifiers is at June the 17th. On the 18th the Finals will take place, featuring the top 10 of the 470 Men’s and Women’s Fleet.