Superb racing conditions and blue sky were a fitting conclusion to the 2015 420 World, 420 Ladies World and 420 U17 World Championships on Castle Bay Karatsu, Japan.
Clear blue sky on the final was a total contrast to the preceding days, with the Championship sandwiched between two typhoons rolling in from the Pacific ocean. A breeze of 12-14 knots ensured the two final races gave plenty of room for leaderboard changes, particularly in the 420 Open fleet where the points were neck and neck.
The home nation’s sailors were the stars of the show, sealing a gold and bronze medal, as well as top overall nation. Yumiko Shige, 420 Worlds Event Manager, has been instrumental in the growth and popularity of the 420 Class in Japan, as well as being a national heroine. Shige achieved Japan’s first ever Olympic medal in sailing at the 1996 Olympics, a silver in the 470 Class, and shared her views on Japan’s success, “Competing at a home venue means our sailors could stay relaxed and familiar surroundings, so they could keep their usual style and environment, which helps.
“We are so happy for Japan’s success,” Shige continued. “This is the start of a great legacy and I feel will help make sailing even more popular here. There has been support from a lot people, which has helped our success.”
In a World Championship favouring all-round sailors, the intense six day 12 race series featured a range of conditions from light to winds of over 25 knots. Teams from 21 nations competed, with a total of 330 sailors enjoying the opportunity to race in Japan.
Marta Garrido/Maria Jesus Davila (ESP) held firm in first overall, and sealed World Championship victory with a race to spare, as their 11th place finish in race 11 sealed the deal. France's Charlotte Yven/Marine Riou (FRA) managed to upgrade their overnight leader board position of third to a silver medal with a 26, 2 scoreline. Japan’s Misaki Tanaka/Sena Takano claimed the bronze medal.
“We knew we had won after race 11, we were counting points,” smiled Davila, “It is the most amazing thing,” she added, referencing the recent partnership of just a few weeks’standing. “We just go in the boat together and felt good with each other and it is easy to sail together because of our personalities. We became friends quickly and I think that is the reason we did well.”
Although a new partnership, they both have years of experience racing the 420 with different crew, including appearances at the 2013 and 2014 420 Worlds.
Referencing last year’s 420 World Championship gold medal achievement by her brother, Davila laughed, “My parents are so happy. They are really proud of us and there are just the two of us, so it is pretty amazing to both have World titles.”
Garrido explained their teamwork dynamic, saying, “At the beginning when we started training, we didn’t understand each other very well, so we worked hard together. When we arrived here in Japan, we felt very comfortable in the boat and I think Maria understands me very well and knows my style of sailing. I think I understand Maria too.
“The level in this Championship was so high and so difficult. Each race was completely different from the other races and we needed to be so concentrated and focused in each race, as the other competitors sailed so well.
“I think our age helped us a lot, as the experience we have makes us complement each other and able to react to situations faster than others. When we have a problem, we know have to solve it quickly.”
Davila continued, “After race 11, we just took some big breaths to stay calm, and we no longer felt nervous. For the last race, we just wanted to enjoy it and have fun.
“This win is the biggest achievement in my life,” said Davila. “I couldn’t imagine winning until this moment. I thought we would do well here, but it is hard to believe we have won.”
With the Spanish untouchable, the battle intensified for silver and bronze. Two double-digit finishes dropped Misaki Tanaka/Sena Takano (JPN) from 2nd to 3rd overall, with France’s Charlotte Yven/Marine Riou managing to pull back from a 26 in race 11, to a 2nd place in race 12 and seal silver by 1.2 points.
For many, including the silver medallists, the 2015 420 Worlds marked the end of their 420 career, as Yven commented, “It is amazing to be here. It is our last World Championship in the 420, as next year we will move to the 470. We like sailing the 420 as it is a real boat. You have to be strong and the 470 is then a level more.”
Seven nations featured in the final top ten standings, twelve in the top 20, in a showcase of 420 Class strength around the world.
420 Ladies – Final Results after 12 Races
1. Marta Garrido/María Jesus Dávila (ESP) - 44 pts
2. Charlotte Yven/Marine Riou (FRA) - 67 pts
3. Misaki Tanaka/Sena Takano (JPN) – 68.2 pts
4. Nia Jerwood/Lisa Smith (AUS) – 83 pts
5. Sarah Norbury/Mari Davies (GBR) - 83 pts
6. Marina Lefort/Lara Granier (FRA) – 86.6 pts
7. Mano Udagawa/Yuri Saito (JPN) – 88 pts
8. Theres Dahnke/Birte Winkel (GER) – 96 pts
9. Sofia Giondi/Giulia Gatta (ITA) - 99 pts
10. Margot Vennin/Marie Zugolaro (FRA) - 103 pts
420 Ladies Silver - Top 3 after 12 Races
1. Sumiko Masumoto/Saya Himeno (JPN)
2. Laura Selvaggio/Maria Pastorelli (ITA)
3. Yukimi Nakayama/ Nana Miyano (JPN)
The Asian dominance swapped hands yet again on the concluding day of racing, as Japan's Daichi Takayama/Syota Nakano stepped up to the challenge and achieved the goal they had set themselves of winning won gold on their home waters.
The pair went into the day on a 2 point disadvantage to overnight leaders, Calum Gregor/Hugo Christensson (HKG). They paced themselves around the race track, protecting their silver and attacking for gold, with a safe 6,18 scoreline.
“I am so happy,” said Takayama. “The strong breeze days we had really good boat speed, and we just kept our minds neutral. Our target was gold, and we succeeded.We had to keep our concentration for gold, and this helps me step up to my next stage which is the Olympics.”
“This is like an acknowledgement that all our hard training has paid off,” added Nakano.
The pair have been sailing together for two years having both stepped up from the Optimist. Takayama’s path included seven years of Optimist sailing, counting two appearances at Optimist Worlds, and the chance to represent Japan in the Laser Radial at the 2013 ISAF Youth Worlds.
A stunning performance from Wiley Rogers/Jack Parkin (USA) pushed them up to silver medal position, with Gregor/Christensson securing bronze. On the penultimate day of racing, Rogers was relieved to have achieved the leader board standard the team had set for themselves, and was hankering after a climb higher.
“It helped,” said Wiley, referencing the race 11 win. “We were just going for top five the whole day, just consistency to finish it off . The win was a nice gift.
“We tried to go out there, have fun, sail fast and worry about the results later. This is just an amazing feeling. We have really been working hard the whole year and to come out with a silver at the Worlds is truly an honour. It feels good that all the hard work has paid off. This is definitely going to boost our confidence levels for the Junior Europeans.
“This is a really big jump for 420 sailing in America and hopefully we can get a whole load of other youngsters sailing the 420 and raise the level in the United States, so when we come to the next worlds we can have more boats in the top ten.”
Wiley/Parkin will now take a few days off before heading to Bourgas, Bulgaria for the 420 Junior European Championships, which gets underway on 8 August.
As the protests came in, a tense wait shoreside for Hong Kong and Greece on tie-break in third position, and neither sure if protest outcomes might impact their results. Ultimately, bronze to Hong Kong as Greece remained in fourth in the tie-break.
Thirteen nations secured places in the overall 420 Open top 20 leader board.
420 Open – Final Results after 12 Races
1. Daichi Takayama/Syota Nakano (JPN) - 80 pts
2. Wiley Rogers/Jack Parkin (USA) - 85 pts
3. Calum Gregor/Hugo Christensson (HKG) – 93 pts
4. Vasillios Gourgiotis/Epameinondas Orestis Batsis (GRE) - 93 pts
5. Hiroaki Kato/Takuma Yoshinaga (JPN) - 97 pts
6. Will Logue/Bram Brakman (USA) – 101 pts
7. Pedro Correa/Philipp Essle (BRA) – 106 pts
8. Felipe Diniz/Ivan Aranguren (ARG) - 107 pts
9. Arnaud Herail/Paco Lepoutre (FRA) – 120 pts
10. Maxime Pedron/Eliott Michal (FRA) - 123 pts
420 Open Silver Fleet – Top 3 after 12 Races
1. Marc Lladó/Javier González (ESP)
2. Andrea Totis/ Marco Zanni (ITA)
3. Kent Sakakibara/ Taisei Sakamoto (JPN)
In the under-17 420 World Championship fleet, there was simply no stopping series leaders Edoardo Ferraro/Francesco Orlando (ITA) who raced another dominant 1, 3 scorecard and walked away with gold on a 21 point advantage. Greece's Aggelos Arvanitis/Theofanis Kanakaris (GRE) held on to their silver medal position, and brothers Carlos Balaguer/ Ignacio Balaguer (ESP) upgraded to a bronze medal.
The Italian pair had a significant lead, so were virtually assured of gold if they could repeat their ongoing form.
"We couldn’t take any risks,” said Orlando. “But when we won race 11 we were then sure we had gold. We weren’t scared by the other teams. This is a dream come true. Every sailors dreams of becoming World Champion and now we are the World Champions, under-17, but we are the World Champions.”
“We very happy, because it is the first World Championship we have won,” said Ferraro. “We are much stronger than we were last year, which has helped us.”
Looking ahead to their future plans, Ferraro added, “First we hope to race another positive result at the 2016 420 World Championships in Italy, which will be really important as it is at home and we are going to work really hard. “
Next week the team will race at the 420 Junior Europeans in Bulgaria. Extra pride for Ferraro, as his younger twin sister Veronica, with crew Giulia Ierardi, finished as the top placed ladies team in tenth.
2015 marked the first ever U17 World Championship, a new title which recognizes the growing participation of younger teams at the 420 Worlds. Featuring thirty-three teams, the U17 fleet raced an open format of Open and Ladies teams.
420 U17 – Final Results after 12 Races
1. Edoardo Ferraro/Francesco Orlando (ITA) - 30 pts
2. Aggelos Arvanitis/Theofanis Kanakaris (GRE) - 51 pts
3. Carlos Balaguer/ Ignacio Balaguer (ESP) - 63 pts
4. Enrique Lujan/Pablo Lujan (ESP) - 71 pts
5. Andre Fiuza/Stephan Kunath (BRA) - 78 pts
6. Matthew Logue/Cameron Giblin (USA) – 99 pts
7. Andrea Spagnolli/Kevin Rio (ITA) - 103 pts
8. Albert Torres/Antoni Massanet (ESP) – 106 pts
9. Riji Wong/Xavier Ng (SIN) - 116 pts
10. Veronica Ferraro/Giulia Ierardi (ITA) - 120 pts
Many of the teams will now head to the 2015 420 Junior European Championships in Bourgas, Bulgaria, 8-15 August 2015.
Presentation of 420 Class Prizes and Trophies
Huck Scott Memorial Trophy - to the youngest boat crew competing in either the Open or the Ladies fleets, was presented to Olivia Belda/Marina Anrdt (BRA)
William Sanchez Trophies - presented to the highest placed team, both aged 16 or under, in the year of the Championship was presented to Olivia Belda/Marina Anrdt (BRA) in the 420 Ladies and Calum Gregor/Hugo Christensson (HKG) in the 420 Open.
John Merricks Trophies – presented to the highest placed team, both aged 18 or under, at the end of the year, was presented to Misaki Tanaka/Sena Takano (JPN) in the 420 Ladies and Daichi Takayama/ Syota Nakano (JPN) in the 420 Open.
Francis Mouvet Trophy – was awarded to Japan, as the nation with the highest placed three teams in the World Championships, across both the Open and Ladies fleets.
Participating nations in the 420 World, Ladies World and U17 World Championships are:
Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Turkey, United States of America.
Media enquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jun Hiria of Bulkhead Magazine is the Official Championship Photographer. Daily photo galleries are available on the Championship website and Facebook. High Resolution images are available at: http://junhirai.photoshelter.com/
420 Junior Worlds Twitter @420worlds
420 Class Association Twitter @420class
420 class on Facebook facebook.com/international420classassociation
Championship website: http://2015worlds.420sailing.org
About the 2015 420 World, Ladies World and U17 World Championships
The 2015 420 World, Ladies World and U17 World Championships, 17-25 July 2015, was held in Castle Bay Karatsu and organized by the Japan Sailing Federation, in partnership with: the International 420 Class Association, Japan 420 Class Association and Saga Prefecture Yachting Federation. 330 sailors from 21 nations competed, with 72 boats in the 420 Open and 60 in the 420 Ladies and 33 in the U17. The 420 Open and 420 Ladies teams contested a 12 race series, with 6 races in the qualification series and 6 in the final, with a single race discard coming into play after race five. The 420 Open and 420 Ladies were each split into fleets for the qualification series with reseeding after each day’s racing. For the 6 race final series, teams advanced to gold and silver fleets, based on their position on the leader board from the qualification series. Teams contesting the U17 World Championships raced a single series of 12 races.