Over 600 sailors from more than 40 nations came to La Rochelle, France, where 470 World Championship took place in August as part of the 470 Class 50th Anniversary celebrations.
For the first day of the 5 race qualification series, 53 boats in women’s race course were split into yellow and blue fleets. Even though the weather did not look too promising, the racing started in a steady breeze of around 15 knots and choppy waves. Tina and Veronika did well on the opening day and delivered a 4th and 7th place in the steadily increasing wind.
On day two a light and shifty breeze kept fleets ashore until 1500 hours, when a stable wind finally filled in. The Slovenian team, who just started their Olympic campaign, struggled to read the challenging conditions and added to their scoreline a 9th, 6th and 13th place, finishing the qualification stage on 15th place overall.
REWARDING FINAL STAGE
The first World Campionship of the Road to Rio continued with the final series. After a fairly even start, the first upwind leg was really shifty and there were continuous ups and downs in the pressure making it incredibly hard to choose the right tactics. Consistent results were hard to achieve, with leaderboard extremes knocked out by many teams, including Olympic gold medallists Aleh and Powrie who delivered a 1st and 18th as well as Slovnenians Mrak and Macarol who scored a 15th and 5th.
On race day 4, a beautiful blue sky with a few scattered clouds welcomed back the athletes. The perfect conditions with breeze up to around 12 knots allowed the 470s to fly on the reach and surf downwind. During the first upwind, the breeze favoured the right side of the track with gusts and current giving it an immediate advantage. Amongst those who predicted correctly and tacked off to the right were Tina and Veronika, who claimed the first race win, followed by a 4th and 12th, climbing up the rankings to 3rd position overall.
With two races left on the concluding day of the finals stage, the pressure was on the leading sailors to post results to advance them in the Medal Race reserved for the top 8. Massive wind shifts caused many teams to stumble around the track, including Slovenian pair, who worked hard to stay in touch with the front of the pack and finally safely made it to the medal race.
Sitting on 7th place, a fight to the end was on the cards for Olympian Mrak and her new crew. The challenge of the short course 25 minute double-points scoring medal race began with all the teams choosing the race committee end of the start line. Mrak and Macarol then tacked immediately to the right, but it was the Austrian boat to round the upwind mark first. By the downwind gate, Chinese Xu and Yu had taken the lead with Aleh and Powrie closing on in. An amazing last leg saw the kiwis crossing the finish line first, followed by China and Austria.
In pursuit of a jump up the leaderboard, Mrak and Macarol completed their performance with a 5th place but ultimately remained 7th overall, which is their best success since partnering up.
- Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) – 31 pts
- Lara Vadlau/Jola Ogar (AUT) – 51 pts
- Xiaoli Wang/Xufeng Huang (CHN) – 58 pts
- Camille Lecointre/Mathilde Geron (FRA) – 59 pts
- Sophie Weguelin/Eilidh McIntyre (GBR) – 61 pts
- Xiaomei Xu/Chunyan Yu (CHN) – 64 pts
- Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO) – 66 pts
- Elise Rechichi/Sarah Cook (AUS) – 93 pts