Burton Takes Lead in Challenging Light Wind at Laser Standard Men’s Worlds

(Miho Bay, Japan) Today marked the first day of the final series at the 2019 ILCA Laser Standard Men’s Worlds. With the top sailors now all grouped in the Gold Fleet, the battle of the worlds best will now unfold. Today’s conditions were challenging and it showed on the score sheet with some sailors near top of the standings posting high scores.  Winds were light, 6-8 knots from the northeast and a residual 5-foot swell from the past few days of wind added to the testing conditions.

In the first Gold Fleet race, two boats were over the line early including Pavlos Kontides from Cyprus, a score which he now keeps until a second discard race comes into effect. Russian sailor, Segei Komissarov, got off the line cleanly and then led at every mark to take the win. Second went to Mitchell Kennedy from Australia, posting his best finish of the event so far. Kennedy was followed closely by Argentina’s Francisco Guaragna, who had a nice second upwind leg to move into striking range of the leaders. But Komissarov showed excellent speed on the final run to pull away from the fleet by the finish.

In the Silver Fleet, after several Black Flag recalls, Gianmarco Planchestainer of Italy showed excellent form to finish first, while Yang Yang from China won the Bronze Fleet race.

The wind built slightly to around 9 knots for the start of the day’s second Gold Fleet race. With 15-degree shifts, staying in phase and limiting risks were the keys to success. Ireland’s Finn Lynch did both these things perfectly, finding himself near the front of the fleet at the first weather mark, just behind Tom Burton, the current Olympic gold medalist from Australia. Burton and Lynch battled down the first run, but on the second weather leg Lynch played the shifts better to pull into the lead at the top mark. Down the run, Lynch managed to extend his lead and then cruised on to win with a comfortable lead. Burton held on for second while Guaragna again showed excellent light wind speed to post another solid third place finish. In the end, Guragna won the day with his two third place finishes and moved up the standing from 37th yesterday to 19th overall today.

More importantly, this move puts Argentina in a good position to capture one of the available spot to compete in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. By agreement with the International Olympic Committee, this event will be used as a country qualifying event, with five berths to the 2020 Games up for grabs. At present, Sweden looks to be in a solid position to qualify with Jesper Stalheim sitting in eight place overall after a scoring penalty pushed him down from third. Russia is also on track to qualify with Komissarov now in seventh place after eight races. Hungary and Belgium are currently holding the forth and fifth Olympic qualifying spots, but with four more races to go, anything can happen.

The championship continues tomorrow with two more final series races scheduled.

Top-ten results after eight races:
1. Tom Burton                      AUS      27 pts
2. Sam Meech                       NZL       33 pts
3. Philipp Buhl                     GER      40 pts
4. Jean-Baptiste Bernaz      FRA       44 pts
5. Matthew Wearn               AUS      45 pts
6. Sergei Komissarov           RUS      45 pts
7. Elliot Hanson                    GBR      53 pts
8. Jesper Stalheim                SWE     53 pts
9. Nick Thompson                GBR      53 pts
10. Mitchell Kennedy          AUS      55 pts

For more information:
Event Website – https://2019worlds.laserjapan.org/standard/
Results – https://2019worlds.laserjapan.org/standard/results/
Photo Galleries – https://www.facebook.com/2019-Laser-Worlds-JAPAN-284629198769700/