DOUBLE DELIGHT FOR YOUNG GERMANS ON DAY 115 May 2023
San Remo, Italy, 15 May 2023
- Seven to nine knots of wind, huge windshifts, gusts and lulls make for a demanding first day
- Germany’s Löffler & Hoerr defy the random conditions to win two races
- A yo-yo performance for defending champions from Sweden
- Race win for Israel’s Liam Faytlovich, age sixteen-and-a-half
Theresa Löffler & Christopher Hoerr (GER) surprised everyone including themselves to take the lead after scoring two wins from two races on day one of the 470 European Championship in San Remo, Italy.
Among the 67 international teams from 26 nations, no one came close to reading the random conditions as well as the young Germans. “Winning the first race was a special moment for us,” said Hoerr, grinning from ear to ear. “Our first win ever as a team, first win in an Olympic fleet and our first penalty flag too, unfortunately.”
Hoerr said he wasn’t sure what the yellow flag from the umpires was for. “I assume it was for pumping, but we’ll ask and find out this evening,” he said. Taking the penalty turn dropped the Germans back to fifth but a good upwind leg brought them back to within striking distance of the frontrunners, according to Löffler. “We had a very good downwind leg and got into first again. Our last regatta was not so good, so we were very happy to win that race.”
After a quick celebration, it was back to business to see if they could repeat the magic. And they did. “We had a very good start,” said Hoerr, “were in the top few at the first mark, and the rest is history!” As for rounding off the evening and taking stock of a perfect first day, Löffler said she might allow herself some ice cream, but nothing more. “A lot of races to come,” she smiled. “We have to be ready.”
Nine nations in the top 10 speaks of the high calibre of this international fleet, with only the French claiming two teams in single figures on the leaderboard. The best of the French are Camille Lecointre & Jeremie Mion (FRA), the double Olympic medallist combined with the former men’s world champion. No surprise to see them up in third place, just two points behind Jordi Xammar & Nora Brugman (ESP) in second overall.
Xammar & Brugman are one of the teams that were passed by the young Germans on their way back into the lead of race two in the blue qualifying fleet. “We were leading, and they overtook us, but that’s OK,” said Xammar, the bronze medallist from Tokyo 2020. “We were like, OK, do we cover three over there or one over there? We decided to cover the three, so that’s fine. It was a hard day to defend everything. We’ve had a good start to the regatta.”
All of the top three in the overall standings were racing each other in the yellow qualifying fleet. On the other side of the draw, top performers of the day in blue fleet were Diogo Costa & Carolina João (POR). In the first blue fleet race, defending European Champions Anton Dahlberg & Lovisa Karlsson were fast out of the blocks, the Swedes taking the winner’s gun.
Things were looking fine for the Swedes in the second race until a 40-degree wind shift caught them by surprise. “We were in about 10th place, maybe a bit higher, and then this huge left shift came in, and we couldn’t cross,” said Dahlberg. “It had paid right on the first beat, then it went further right on the downwind, but then the wind died and went back further left. We were maybe a bit too exposed. You had to keep your head out of the boat, be smart and also execute. It was a hard day.” With scores of 1,22, the Swedes are 18th overall.
The other race winner from blue group was the Israeli team of Gil Cohen & Liam Faytlovich. “Actually we started very badly, probably back in the 20s,” said Cohen. “Then we saw the wind went down and went a bit right and we made a lot of gains from the right. We got to third by the windward mark. Then it was very tricky on the second upwind because of some gusts but we did well on the left when most were going right. We got to the second windward mark in first and managed to keep the lead for the rest of the race.”
Winning the race was a special moment for Faytlovich in particular. “This is his third regatta in a 470,” smiled Cohen proudly. “We started sailing together five months ago, I got him out of the 420 fleet, he’s just 16 and a half years old.” What a way to start his first ever European Championship in an Olympic class.
Monday has been a day full of surprises, and the only surprise from such a tricky venue as San Remo is if we don’t see more challenging days like this.
Qualifying races in yellow and blue fleets continue on Tuesday 16 May, with the first gold and silver fleet finals races set to take place on Wednesday 17 May.
To get all the news, photos and updates from the racing, go to 470.org
written by Andy Rice
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Photo Credits: Nikos Alevromytis/ Kazushige Nakajima/ Andy Rice / Int. 470 Class
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