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Irish Youth Sailing Team Off To A Strong Start at World Champs

29th December 2015
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After the first two races of the first day of the Youth World Championships in Malaysia two of three Irish boats are in the top ten of their respective fleets. Howth Yacht Club's Doug Elmes and Colin O'Sullivan counted a 3,13 and are lying 7 out of 33. Ballyholme's Lase sailor Liam Glynn took an 8 and 11 and are lying 8th out of 65. Aisling Keller from Lough Derg Yacht Club in Tipperary has 19, 15 and is lying 16 out of 48.

Day one began with a full on wind to greet the sailors for the first races of the 45th Youth Sailing World Championships.
Laser radial and RS:X were the first fleets back ashore after facing the gusting wind that was hitting 20 knots on the race areas.

With everyone trying to get off to a flyer to set up their tilt at a gold medal, today was reserved for the few who liked the stronger winds that Langkawi had to offer for it's first racing day.

Laser Radial

Returning to the Youth Worlds after finishing fifth in Tavira, Portugal last year, Australia's Alistair Young got off to a great start with a bullet in the first race and a fourth in the second to sit on top of the leaderboard after the first day of racing.

Obviously wanting to push in to the medal places, the Aussie was happy to have strong wind to start of the regatta, conditions which the youngster enjoys, "It started off pretty windy, about 20 knots in the first race and pretty choppy. I managed to do alright though. I picked the shifts and sailed fast and won the race which was great to calm the nerves first race in."

Calm the nerves it has as he looks at the days to follow and the possible drop in knots that could come, "We may get some lighter winds so it will be shiftier so we will all get some bigger scores, so the drops will be needed later on. I prefer the stronger winds but I don't mind to be honest. What you get is what you get so you just have to go out there and do what you can in the conditions that are there."

The second winner of the day was Finland's Oskari Muhonen, who was also at Tavira with Young, so experience in the regatta came to the fore. The Finnish sailor's bullet followed a ninth and leaves him laying in fourth overall.

Ecuador's Matias Dyck must have been feeling happy and confident going in to the second race after finishing just behind Young in race one. That was short lived though when he was one of nine sailors to be black flagged out of race two. The Ecuadorian will be looking to drop that from his scorecard with some good sailing for the rest of the regatta.

USA's Nicholas Baird and New Zealand's George Gautrey finished near the top of the order in both races to sit in second and third respectively.

In the girl's section, the top five is held by Europe with Poland's Magdalena Kwasna currently in pole position on six points thanks to a bullet and fifth place. With a ninth place finish in Tavira, Portugal, it would seem that just like the boy's fleet, experience in this event is paying off on the first day.

Sitting just behind in second is Hungary's Maria Erdi who somehow seems to defy her age with an attitude and outlook of a seasoned competitor. Despite making mistakes throughout both races, Erdi never let it get to her as she says with her ever present smile, "I'm happy with my results but I did make some mistakes. I was leading in the first race quite a lot in the first upwind and then I capsized twice in the first downwind so I dropped back to fifth. But I managed to come back to finish third.

"In the second race it was quite tricky, I think I was about tenth around the first mark but managed to move up and finished fifth."

So how does a sailor at the Youth Worlds handle the mistakes? Simply it would seem for the young Hungarian, "I tried to forget about the first race at the second start and I had a clear head. But it's only the first day so anything can happen."

Even with self-confessed mistakes, Erdi sits in second, joint on eight points with Germany's Hannah Anderssohn who had a steady day with two fourth place finishes.

Taking the first bullet of the day was New Zealand's Alexandra Nightingale who couldn't carry the form through to the second race where she finished 19th. Nightingale currently sits in tenth place overall with those two results.

The 45th edition of the Youth Sailing World Championships has been declared open by World Sailing Vice President Chris Atkins at the opening ceremony in Langkawi, Malaysia.

During the ceremony, 425 sailors, 125 coaches and officials from a record 76 countries paraded towards the Astaka of the Lagenda Park with their national flags waving for all to see.

The event breaks all previous numbers in terms of participation and number of nations. The previous best of 67, achieved at the 2014 event in Tavira, Portugal, was easily surpassed with a number of new and returning nations in Malaysia.

Racing continues through to 3 January 2016 where nine Youth World Sailing Champions will be crowned.

Published in Youth Sailing
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