Drysdale and Twigg hold Armada Cup
New Zealand’s Mahe Drysdale held off nearly 250 single scullers from around the world to cross the line first in Switzerland’s 25th Armada Cup. Making it a double-header for New Zealand, Emma Twigg then finished as the fastest woman and 27th overall.
In flat, calm conditions Drysdale started at the front and finished at the front in a time of 33:20.18. He took advantage of his power at the start to move away from the mass of rowers and out of danger of any clashes. Through the middle of the race Drysdale had built up about a four boat length's lead. Then three-quarters into the race Drysdale hit a sandbank and had to unwedge himself. But this setback did not cost him the lead.
Kasper Taimsoo of Estonia finished second, 15 seconds behind Drysdale with World Championship A-finalist, Lassi Karonen of Sweden in third. Karonen, like Drysdale, also had to deal with a sandbank but still finished very satisfied with his third place.
This is Drysdale’s fourth win of the Armada Cup and he holds the course record set in 2009 at 32:24. Twigg holds the women’s course record also set in 2009 in a time of 35:27.
The top three women scullers in the world all raced, with world bronze medallist Twigg leading the way. Twigg held off Switzerland’s top lightweight single sculler Pamela Weisshaupt and also several-time Armada Cup winner, Ekaterina Karsten of Belarus. Reigning World Champion in the single, Mirka Knapkova of the Czech Republic did not manage to make the podium and finished in fourth place.
The race began with a mass start of singles where the clashing of oars and boat wake are the norm. The scullers then have to navigate more than 9km of the winding Wohlensee, in Bern, which includes trying to avoid the shallow areas.
The mass start relies on the discipline and respect of the competitors, said organiser Christian Thiel. “These two features were fortunately observed at this 2011 edition after this value got a little bit lost in recent years.”
Thiel noted, “The first part of the course is the most difficult because of the large number of boats. It takes experience to be able to row the "perfect" line through the sandbanks and curves. Of course Pamela Weisshaupt had the advantage on picking the perfect line. She trained hard on the Wohlensee all the week before the BKW-Armadacup.”
Both Twigg and Drysdale received CHF 1500 for winning their respective categories.