Another difficult day ahead of the final battle on Friday

The penultimate day of the SB20 World Championship opened with a clear start of Race 9. Northerly wind of 8 knots has put the starting line almost perpendicular to the coast and the combination of light with the falling tide created a challenge for the boats to get speed upwind.

Stretching from the far right to the far left, further into the sea, looking for more wind the boats crept toward the marks. Boats sailed with a beautiful background of Scheveningen skyline in misty air, almost foggy.

After reaching the top mark it was getting even more tricky. The tide was pushing the boats down the coast at almost 90 degrees and early gybes were crucial. Bad tactical decisions on the downwind could cost a number of places.

Great performance in Race 9 by France Youth team of Ian Garreta, who weren’t leading on the first beat and top mark rounding. They guessed the right combination for the downwind and have been rewarded with a bullet. Martin Estlander on Freedom and Nils Razmilovic on Glasgow Kiss followed in 2nd and 3rd.

Second race was particularly tricky and it was team Freedom who stayed in the lead from the first rounding until the finish. Sailing closely behind them were Aussie Youth team Ares who scored second and Glasgow Kiss in third. Team Freedom find themselves in 4th overall with 2 bullets and two podium finishes.

For Nils Razmilovic and his team this event has been a rollercoaster. Having scored a bullet in Race 2 and at least three more podium finishes the team had an early start in Race 4 and got penalised in Race 11. After four days of intense racing Glasgow Kiss dropped to 16th position, sadly, with little hope for the podium, but maybe “the magic right shift” will do its magic! They finished 2nd overall in the pre-Worlds event last month, just 3 points behind John Pollard.

Yesterday’s leaders Another Affair struggled with today’s conditions and didn’t get to pick up the pace until the second race of the day, when they finished 5th. Their other two results today in 9th could have both been discards, but according to the Sailing Instructions only 1 discard will be granted at this World Championships. Currently in 2nd they have a good chance to be on the podium.

Team Xcellent of John Pollard haven’t scored in the top 3 today, but had two consistent races with 5th and 4th finish. In Race 10 they stretched so far left on the downwind and sailed almost along the beach. That cost them a number of places and they finished 10th. They are currently in 3rd.

France Youth team of Ange Delerce, who were 6th yesterday moved up and are now 5th with a good chance to finish this event on the podium. Sailors from the South of France they have a good experience sailing in light wind which is predicted for the final day.

Difficult day for Jose Paulo Ramada on AP Hotels, who scored 13th, 8th and a 5th. With one bullet in Race 5 and no black flags they discard their worst result in 15th. This puts them 7th overall after yesterday’s position in 5th. Paul McCartney on Porco Rosso has climbed up to 8th overall since Wednesday after a they won a redress request in Race 7 having been mistakenly black flagged.

Vasco Serpa on Solyd Sailing also struggled in Race 9, but two following races were more consistent and they were 4th in both. With a bullet in Race 3 and no BFDs they are closing the top 10 on penultimate day of the championship.

Team Ares had the best performance today. Despite the tiredness and difficult conditions they stayed focused and concentrated. After today’s 10th, 2nd and 1st they were rewarded with the top position on the board!

“We had a great day today on the water, it was a tricky day. We started off with not the best race in 10th place, but then we paced the last race together with a 2 and a 1. And we find ourselves on top of the leaderboard divided by only 4 points at the top. Really happy with how the team is performing and hope for a couple more good results,” – said Will concluding about today’s racing.

In our yesterday’s report we mistakenly assumed that with more than 10 races the teams will get a second discard. Without the second discard looks like top four or five teams have a good chance to win the event. It’s going to come down to some really exciting last racing day in a lighter breeze. Don’t miss the action and follow the tracking via Sailmon app or by joining via link below!

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Photo credits: Laurens Morel. You can find all high-resolution photos here.