It was a frustrating day for the 280 plus sailors representing 60 nations, as well as the volunteers, organizations and race officials, particularly as light winds had been forecast. The cancellation afforded Irish 420 helm Jane Butler some time to interview other sailors for the official Youtube channel (see below).
Walter BODDENOR, Principal Race Officer, explained the situation, “Today’s wind conditions clearly exceeded the limits for racing and it was simply too dangerous to send the sailors out. Tomorrow the forecast is for light and shifty conditions so we will aim to complete the two races scheduled. Following the lay day on Tuesday, the seabreeze should return and will hope to make up today’s cancelled races in better conditions.”
The first of today's races are scheduled to get underway at 12:00 local time (15:00 UTC).
Ireland's three boats had mixed results on day one, in conditions similar to the practice race, with a mid-range northerly wind around 10-15 knots, but as the day progressed the breeze got lighter and much shiftier.
Jane Butler and Jenny Andreasson started brightly with a seventh, but failed to finish the second race, leaving them 16th overall, still the best Irish result. Matty O'Dowd lies in 38th of 53 Laser Radials after day one, with Saskia Tidey 25th of 38 in the girls' fleet. The two windsurfing fleets were the first to return to the boatpark after zipping through their scheduled races. Oliver-Tom SCHLIEMANN, bronze medallist in 2008, is the early leader in the Boy's RS:X, whilst Hong Kong’s Hei Man CHAN, competing in her fifth Youth Worlds, leads the Girl’s fleet.
The first race of the 39th edition of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship was won by Israel’s Ron ASULIN in the Boy’s RS:X event, coming in just ahead of defending champion Michalis MALEKKIDES (CYP). SCHLIEMANN came in fourth, battling back through the fleet after a bad start. In contrast, race two “was pretty much perfect” according to the 18 year old from Berlin, with victory lifting him to the top of the leaderboard. Schliemann leads a three-way tie on five points with Joseph GUEGUEN of France and 2008 gold medallist MALEKKIDES.
One of the standout performers of the day was New Zealand’s Sam MEECH in the Boy’s Laser Radial fleet. After winning bronze last year, MEECH has set an early course for gold with two wins today, both secured by a huge margin. The New Zealander has already established an impressive 11-point lead after the shifty conditions in race two left the reminder of the fleet all counting at least one high score already. Yan CHEKH (RUS) and Matej VALIC (SLO) were best of the rest and are tied on points in second and third respectively.
In the remaining fleets the shifting wind resulted in the late finish as the second races were all restarted. Mathilde DE KERANGAT (FRA) was the major beneficiary in the Girl’s Laser Radial fleet, as she was struggling in the second race before it was abandoned and then went on to win the restarted race two held in the lighter, shiftier breeze. “I was sailing really fast, took good decisions and read the shifts well,” was her summary of an excellent opening day.
Heidi TENKANEN (FIN), like DE KERANGAT a top-10 finisher at last year’s Youth Worlds, scored a big win in the opening race but dropped to 13th in race two to lie second overall. Another trio of experience Youth Worlds campaigners, Isabella BERTOLD (CAN), Elizabeth YIN (SIN) and Michelle BROEKHUIZEN (NED), complete the top-five.
Great Britain won gold in both the Two Person Dinghy fleets last year and today Philip SPARKS and Ben GRATTON (GBR) showed they’ll be tough to topple from the top again this time around. On the back of their recent win at Kieler Woche, the young Brits sailed two great races to top the leaderboard with a 1, 2 scoreline. More unexpectedly, Chile occupy second place, with Benjamin GREZ and Carlos VERGARA following a fourth with a narrow win over the Brits in race two. After a big shift during the upwind leg, the Chilean pair rounded the top mark in first place and whilst SPARKS and GRATTON used their speed downwind to close the gap, GREZ and VERGARA just held on to take the gun.
“We came here with a lot of hours of training,” explains GREZ of the team’s surprise showing today, adding, “We had a very good day, but it could have been better.” He says they alternate their training between Chile and Argentina and although they don’t get to as many international events as they’d like to, they’re happy with their preparations. “Even though we’ve got a low profile, we were planning a good championship and now, after today, we’re really happy.”
The Singapore crew of Griselda KHNG, 2006 Optimist Worlds runner up, and Cecilia LOW take top spot in the Girl’s 420 fleet. A fifth followed by a win in race two puts them three points ahead of the Italians Camilla MARINO and Claudia SORICELLI. The heavily tipped Brazilian team of Martine SOFFIATTI GRAEL and Kahena KUNZE also started strongly and lie third overall with 2, 7 scores.
Australian cousins Jason WATERHOUSE and Lisa DARMANIN made a perfect start in the Multihull – Hobie 16 event, winning both of today’s races. Waterhouse won bronze two year’s ago in Canada, before teaming up with DARMANIN and finishing sixth in Århus last year. APP sailors Matthew WHITEHEAD, silver medallist last year, and Calene LOUBSER (RSA) lie second with the Dutch team of Rob SPRIJ and Mathijs PAULI, competing in their fourth and final Youth Worlds, in third.
More on www.isafyouthworlds.com.