Thessaloniki, Greece (July 10, 2017) – The 2017 470 World Championships got underway today with three qualifying races for the 132 teams from 32 nations. After a two-hour postponement ashore waiting for the thermal breeze, patience was rewarded with 8-10 knots for the first race at 1400, building to 15-16 knots under a clear blue sky.
All fleets are split into yellow and blue fleets for the 5 race qualification series, and will be reseeded overnight for the final 2 qualification races tomorrow. From Wednesday’s day 3 of racing (on July 12), the fleets will contest six final series races, before the top ten men and women teams advance to the Medal Race on Saturday, July 15.
Anton Dahlberg/Fredrik Bergstrom (SWE) claimed a 1,2,1 to lead the 470 men at the end of the opening day, and sit on a 3 point advantage over Mat Belcher/Will Ryan (AUS) in second. Third to Turkey’s Deniz Cinar/Ates Cinar.
Carrying the world #1 ranking on their bow are Greece’s Panagiotis Mantis/Pavlos Kagialis. The Rio 2016 Olympic bronze medallists have every ability to mount a credible bid for the World Championship and most recently won the Sailing World Cup Final in Santander. Their opening scorecard was a 10,4,2 and 5th overall.
South Africa’s Asenathi Jim has come a long way since he competed in his first international event, the 2010 420 World, including racking up two Olympic appearances in London 2012 and Rio 2016 with crew Roger Hudson. Here, Hudson has switched to coach and Jim, or “Squirrel” as he is more affectionately known, is racing with Sibu Sizatu. An outstanding day for the pair, scoring a 4,6,12 and placing 11th overall. Sizatu is competing in his first ever 470 World Championship having passed through an intense selection process.
“We are a big group and as in the past members get nominated to compete at international events,” explained Jim on the selection system within the South African 470 squad. “There will be new faces every time, as we never know who is the perfect fit and we are training together so hard and everyone deserves a big event like this.”
“It wasn’t easy to be selected to compete here,” continued Sizatu. “There are a lot of crews back at home and I am one of the crews, but we needed a lighter team to come here and we had a trials and I got the slot. It is a really good feeling to be here.
“It was very stressing,” he explained on facing his first 470 Worlds starting line. “There were tights situations and I was quite nervous as well. I am really pleased about today.”
Another performance of note went to 2016 470 Junior World Champions, Giacomo Ferrari/Giulio Calabro from Italy. The pair bucked the fleet by making an appearance inside the top 10 at the 470 Europeans in May, finished 3rd at the Sailing World Cup Final and launched today’s World Championship assault with a win. Follow-up scores of 14,15 places them in 19th overall.
470 Men – Provisional Results (Top 10 of 72; 3 races, 1 discard)
1. Anton DAHLBERG/Fredrik BERGSTROM (SWE 349) 2 – pts
2. Mathew BELCHER/Will RYAN (AUS 11) 5 – pts
3. Deniz CINAR/Ates CINAR (TUR 890) 5 – pts
4. Stuart MCNAY/David HUGHES (USA 1) 6 – pts
5. Panagiotis MANTIS/Pavlos KAGIALIS (GRE 1) 6 – pts
6. David BARGEHR/Lukas MÄHR (AUT 1) 6 – pts
7. Zangjun XU/Chao WANG (CHN 067) 9 – pts
8. Paul SNOW-HANSEN/Daniel WILLCOX (NZL 2) 9 – pts
9. Simon DIESCH/Philipp AUTENRIETH (GER 11) 9 – pts
10. Jordi XAMMAR/Nicolas RODRIGUEZ (ESP 44) 10 – pts
A standout performance from Hannah Mills/Eilidh McIntyre (GBR), who knocked out three wins in the blue fleet. Mills, the Rio 2016 Olympic medallist has transitioned straight back into the groove, despite stepping out of the 470 this year to race a skiff. After the discard kicked in with race 3, a 3,1,1 scorecard from Slovenia’s Tina Mrak/Veronika Macarol (SLO) puts them on tiebreak in second.
It’s all the experienced campaigners up front, as Amy Seabright/Anna Carpenter (GBR) place in third overall, also on tiebreak over two-time Olympian Xiaoli Wang from China who is racing her 10th World Championships, and is in fourth overall with crew Haiyang Gao.
“It was pretty cool,” grinned McIntyre on the British pair’s dominance. “Two really good starts,” she responded when asked about their success, before continuing, “In the third race we had a bad start, but had really good wheels downwind and just picked a few boats up the second beat and extended on the reach. It was nice!”
“It’s cool to be sailing with a gold medallist,” McIntyre concluded on her partnership with Mills. “It’s been brilliant, lots of learning but really cool. We work relatively similarly and Hannah is lovely.”
Time out of the class has not diminished Mills’ dominance in the 470, although she appreciates their win at the World Cup Final last month was easier. “Yeh, I was well aware that our win in Santander was a smaller fleet and we got away with lots of small mistakes,” reflected Mills. “Coming here we were well aware it was going to be brutal racing and fighting for every point. So, to get a day like today you have to take them when they come, as they don’t come very often.”
470 Women – Provisional Results (Top 10 of 60; 3 races, 1 discard)
1. Hannah MILLS/Eilidh MCINTYRE (GBR 321) – 2 pts
2. Tina MRAK/Veronika MACAROL (SLO 64) – 2 pts
3. Amy SEABRIGHT/Anna CARPENTER (GBR 7) – 4 pts
4. Xiaoli WANG/Haiyang GAO (CHN 1221) – 4 pts
5. Agnieszka SKRZYPULEC/Irmina MRÓZEK GLISZCZYNSKA (POL 11) – 6 pts
6. Afrodite ZEGERS/Anneloes VAN VEEN (NED 1) – 7 pts
7. Shasha CHEN/Xufeng HUANG (CHN 0619) – 8 pts
8. Cassandre BLANDIN/Aloïse RETORNAZ (FRA 22) – 9 pts
9. Silvia MAS DEPARES/Patricia CANTERO REINA (ESP 18) – 10 pts
10. Gil COHEN/Stav BROKMAN (ISR 311) – 10 pts
Three USA teams are competing from North America: Stuart McNay/ David Hughes, Lucas Calabrese/ Ian MacDiarmid, and Wiley Rogers/ Jack Parkin. In total, all six continents are represented in the 32 nations competing at the 2017 470 World Championships: Australia, Austria, Chile, China, Ecuador, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and USA.
Races will take place over two race courses, for each of the men’s and women’s fleets. Fleets will be seeded for the five race Qualification Series into yellow and blue fleets, before being split into gold and silver for the six race Final Series. The top ten teams in the men’s and women’s fleets will advance to the Medal Races on Saturday 15 July 2017.
10-11 July – Qualification Series (5 races)
12-14 July – Final Series (6 races)
15 July – Medal Races, Closing Ceremony/Prize Giving