Dante Cittadini and Teresa Romairone (ARG) won gold in the Mixed Nacra 15 fleet in front of a packed Club Nautico San Isidro at the Youth Olympic Sailing Competition, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On home waters, and in a variety of conditions, the Argentinians sailed consistently throughout the week and led the fleet for the vast majority of the competition.
Already in first place ahead of the Medal Race, Cittadini and Romairone finished sixth, which was enough to hand them the gold medal with a seven-point advantage.
“It’s really exciting to see all the people on this river, which we’ve been sailing on for a long time, cheering for us – it’s amazing,” said Romairone.
“I’ve learned a lot of things this week, such as how to stay focused all the time and how to manage nerves. I never usually get nervous, but this time I did!”
The Athlete Role Models for Sailing are Argentineans Santiago Lange and Cecilia Carranza Saroli, who won gold in the Nacra 17 fleet at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
They have been present at the venue daily, and Romairone believes that gave herself and Cittadini extra inspiration throughout the week.
“They [Santi and Ceci] always give us encouragement and advice – they were a really big help,” she said.
“They are such good sailors, and just to see them in the club and be so close to them was very motivating.”
After going all out for the Youth Olympic Games, Romairone admitted she is unsure of their imminent plans, but expressed an interest in one day moving into the senior Nacra 17 boat.
“Our objective was always the Games. We didn’t project anything further, so at this moment I don’t know,” she added.
“Anything can happen. There are a lot of boats to sail in. It would be amazing [to sail the Nacra 17] – it’s a really cool boat.”
Titouan Petard and Kenza Coutard (FRA) claimed an impressive Medal Race win, which moved them from fourth place overall up to a silver medal position.
The French duo won the opening race of the competition and actually enjoyed more top-three results than their Argentinian opponents, but a discard of 14th and three further finishes outside the top five added extra points to their total.
However, they hit form just at the right time, winning the last race on Friday before their sublime victory in the Medal Race gave them France’s second silver in Sailing so far.
“It’s really amazing to win this medal – we didn’t know if it would be possible so we are very happy,” said Coutard.
“To take bronze or silver, all we had to do was attack in the final race, and we did that.
“After this we won’t continue to sail together – I have another helm and Titouan has another crew – but it’s been an incredible event.”
It meant Laila van der Meer and Bjarne Bouwer (NED), who started the day in the silver medal position, lost out by just one point after finishing fourth in the Medal Race.
But after narrowly missing out on a medal at the Youth Sailing World Championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, USA earlier this year, they were pleased to claim bronze and finish on the podium this time.
“It was so close and we were so afraid because we didn’t want to finish fourth again, but everything came together,” said Bouwer.
“We had a good start and then chose the right side. We lost our chance at winning silver in the last few metres, but we are so happy with bronze.
“This week, the boat-to-boat racing has been intense. With everybody so close, you have to be good at that, and you have to be so sharp because every point counts here.”
On their future ambitions, Bouwer added: “We are going into the Nacra 17 together, so we will now spend some time learning the boat.”
Elsewhere, Henri Demesmaeker and Frederique van Eupen (BEL), level on points with the Dutch sailors before the final race, could only finish eighth, which wasn’t enough for a medal.
The Kiteboarding class managed to complete the first of two semi finals in both the Boy’s and the Girl’s fleets, heading out onto the water shortly before 15:30.
They will use tomorrow’s reserve day to complete the second semi final, before racing the Petit final (which will determine fifth to eighth place) and the main winner-takes-all Final to crown the Youth Olympic champion.
Racing continues at 10:00 local time on Sunday 14th October – an earlier start for the Kiteboarders to take advantage of better wind conditions in the morning.