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470 European Championship

Anton Dahlberg and Lovisa Karlsson (SWE) didn’t sail as well as they would have liked today, but the Swedes still hold a slender lead at the 470 European Championship in San Remo, Italy.

With the wind blowing up to 20 knots and more of the big waves that have been a trademark of the conditions in northern Italy this week, it was tough keeping the 470 moving at full pace.

Even Dahlberg wasn’t that happy with his speed. “I would say we had ‘OK’ pace, but not ‘edge’ pace,” said the Olympic silver medallist. “We didn’t have such a good day. We were not the fastest out there and we are not as fast as the gigantic Germany 11.”

470 Europeans in San Remo, Italy day 5 © A Lelli

When Dahlberg refers to Simon Diesch and Anna Markfort (GER) as “gigantic”, it’s not just that they’re tall, it’s the Germans’ immense upwind speed in stronger winds. “We made a bit of a mess of the first start today,” said Markfort of their 13th place in the first of three windy, rainy races, “but when we managed to find space and a clear lane out of the start we were able to do what we are good at doing.”

By which she means going flat-out fast. The Germans were first and second in the next two heats, and they have closed the gap to the Swedish lead to just 3 points.

“If the Germans are faster than us, we will have to sail smarter,” smiled Dahlberg. “They are very, very competitive and for sure we will have to pay some close attention to them tomorrow.” So perhaps a match race in store? Not easy to execute if the Medal Race takes place in the strong wind that we’ve seen over the past three days in San Remo.

470 Europeans in San Remo, Italy day 5 - photo © A Lelli
470 Europeans in San Remo, Italy day 5 – photo © A Lelli

Nor can the Swedes and Germans afford to think of the 10-boat Medal Race as a pure one-on-one duel. Sitting back in third overall are Hippolyte Machetti and Aloïse Retornaz (FRA), just six points out of second place. In a double-points contest it’s quite possible the French could sneak past both the front runners and snatch gold if they get a bit too caught up in each other.

In fact any of the top five have a more than realistic shot at gold. The two teams with the best set of scores today were Jordi Xammar and Nora Brugman (ESP) whose 2,8,3 results take the Spaniards into fourth overall and just one point behind the French. Lara Vadlau and Lukas Maehr (AUT) had the best day with 1,4,7 which lifts the Austrians to fifth overall and just two points behind Spain.

470 Europeans in San Remo, Italy day 5 - photo © A Lelli
470 Europeans in San Remo, Italy day 5 – photo © A Lelli

With the Austrians only 12 points off the Swedish lead, it’s not inconceivable that they could yet snatch gold. Stranger things have happened at sea, especially in the confused sea state of San Remo this week.

So it all sets up the Medal Race for a fascinating climax to a really challenging week of competition. For many times in his long career in the 470, which started in 2006, the four-time Olympian Dahlberg has sat in pole position going into the final day, only to see it slip out of his grasp. Yet he and Karlsson are the defending European Champions, and even if they are not the fastest they have looked very slick with their boathandling and their tactical and strategic decision making this week.

The Swedes will be hard to beat, but there are four other teams who will give it their all for 470 gold on Saturday.


470 Europeans in San Remo, Italy day 5 - photo © A Lelli
470 Europeans in San Remo, Italy day 5 – photo © A Lelli

by Andy Rice

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