The Race Committee chanced their luck and sent the 420 Open and 420 Ladies out to the race tracks off Marina degli Aregai, but the zephyrs of breeze failed to convert and any hope of racing was abandoned.
In contrast and exceeding expectations however, is the huge strength of fleets competing. An all-time record has been set at the 2016 420 World Championships of 524 sailors facing each other on the race track. Fleet splits are:
• 420 Open - 110 teams from 22 nations
• 420 Ladies - 84 teams from 21 nations
• 420 U17 - 68 entries from 18 nations
In an attempt to get racing back on schedule, the schedule for Tuesday 20 July is three races for all fleets, with the first starts scheduled for 1000 hours.
After three days of measurement and registration, yesterday's Opening Ceremony saw the 420 Worlds officially unveiled and parade of nations arrive in Baden Powell Square at the heart of San Stefano, a short distance east of Marina degli Aregai where the Worlds are taking place.
The racing schedule features 12 races for each fleet, with the 420 Open and 420 Ladies split into yellow and blue to race a 6 race qualifying and 6 race final series, with the 68 boat U17 fleet racing a 12 race single series.
Featuring 110 teams from 22 nations, the 420 Open fleet will be a battleground for the world’s best junior 420 talent. Most of the teams are male, with a few mixed male/female teams in the line-up, reflecting the accessibility of the class.
The leaderboard is all open, with only a handful of teams who made an appearance in last year’s World Championship top ten leaderboard returning for another shot at the podium. Japan won gold last year, but with that partnership now advanced to Olympic 470 class sailing, the favourites must be the USA’s Wiley Rogers/Jack Parkin.
This punishingly accurate team won the 2015 420 Junior Europeans off the back of their bronze medal at the 2015 420 Worlds, and has won plentiful honours since. Rogers/Parkin has dominated at every 420 event they have contested recently, including last month’s Kieler Woche which featured over 160 teams in the 420 fleet. Add to that the experience they have gained since transitioning to the 470 Class, their Olympic steed of choice, so no question they are on a mission to seize the gold medal and wrap up their competitive 420 Class careers in style.
Also featuring in the line-up are the 4th and 10th placed finishers from 2015, Greece’s Vasilios Gourgiotis/Orestis Batsis and France’s Maxime Pedron who is now racing with Ange-Loup Stimbre.
Looking to boost their profile and stepping up to senior fleet racing in the Open fleet are all three of the podium finishing teams from last year’s U17 fleet. Each is capable of mounting a credible bid for the Championship, with U17 420 World gold medallists, Edoardo Ferraro/Francesco Orlando from home nation, Italy headlining the charge. Since their convincing win last year, the pair has proved themselves worthy of the senior fleet challenge, counting top 10 results at all recent events contested.
Also well up in the mix are a prevalence of reigning National 420 Class Champions. Brazil’s André Fiuza/Marcelo Peek to New Zealand’s Josh Berry/Henry Haslett, Portugal’s Diogo Coasta/Pedro Costa to Spain’s Marc Llado/Antoni Massanet and Switzerland’s Maxime Bachelin/Arno de Planta - have all proved themselves more than capable of National Championship glory. Will they make the grade for a World Championship podium finish?
All change in the 420 Ladies fleet and an open race card with only three of last year’s top ten placing teams returning for another shot at podium glory. Mano Udagawa/Mino Ohashi (JPN) who finished 7th, Sofia Giondi/Giulia Gatta (ITA) who finished 9th and tenth placed Margot Vennin/Marie Zugolaro (FRA) will be intent on an upgrade, as the fleet dynamic changes this year.
Don’t overlook the fact that 2014 420 Ladies World Champions, Carlotta Omari/Francesco Russo Cirillo, who now compete in separate partnerships have all the depth of experience required to claim control of the leaderboard. 2016 Italian 420 National Champion, Omari is racing with Matilda Di Stefano, whilst Cirillo has switched to helming and teamed up with Alice Linussi. Both teams hold the advantage of many days of pre-Championship training on the same waters as the 420 Worlds – so you can expect a fiery assault from both teams when racing kicks off tomorrow.
As in the 420 Open, there are numerous podium leading ladies team more than capable of dominating the race track. Winners of the British Youth Nationals, Isabel Davies/Gemma Keers, Evaggelia Drouga / Eua Maria Vardali (GRE) who won Athens Eurolymp Week and many more top class 420 ladies teams have all the ingredients to make this a battle to the end.
Introduced for the first time in 2015, the 16 years and under division offers younger 420 sailors the opportunity to measure up against rivals in their own age group. A critical performance pathway as younger teams advance into senior careers, boosted by their competitiveness against similar aged rivals.
More than double the number of entries, 68 teams in 2016 compared to 33 in 2015, will contest this division, as the 420 Class’ young raw talent faces off in a battle of wills.
Amongst the many names to watch are Violette Dorange/Camille Orio (FRA) who stamped their intent, by finishing 2nd overall last week in the 85 boat 420 fleet at the keenly contested French 420 National Championships.