Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Six starts and no races. That is how the 2019 4.7 Youth World Championships opened.
The morning breeze showed more promise than anticipated, and even at the scheduled start of races at noon, there was a fairly consistent 6 to 7 knots. It wasn’t particularly exciting, but it was good enough to race. Except for one boat that was on the course side when the Uniform flag was dropped, the boys yellow fleet hung well back of the start line when the signal went off. The wind hung in there for the boys blue fleet and the girls fleet, with each also having one sailor over early. The girls were actually the most aggressive fleet in the first three starts of the Championship, crowding the line as the count reached down to zero.
But it was not long after the girls’ start that the wind started to dip, first a little below five knots, and then hovering near four. There was some consternation on the race committee boat. Wind readings around the course still seemed to be ok, barely. And then they were a little less ok, until finally, they were not ok at all. The boys fleets heading “down wind” looked like they were frozen in place. The girls were just crawling up toward mark 1. There was absolutely no way to salvage the race for any of the three fleets and November flag was hoisted to abandon races.
Everyone eventually made their way back to the starting area to wait for a little more wind. It was early, and there was time for a delayed “sea breeze” to kick in and get a couple of races in for all three fleets. There was still about three knots in the course area, so only a little more pull towards shore would get things back to race worthy conditions. Sure enough, the wind started to pick up half an hour or so and soon it was back in the 6 to 7 knot range. It was light, but definitely enough to get under way.
Race committee wasted no time getting the course set up, a bit shorter and a little different angle than before. And the start sequence for the first race of yellow fleet proceeded for the second time. On this occasion, no one was over early. The next two starts – boys blue and girls green – each had one sailor over early.
Just as the three re-starts of the first race for each fleet went off as an almost mirror image as before, in five to seven knots of breeze, unfortunately the race followed the same pattern, too, only more so. Not long after the start of the girls fleet, the wind dropped down to just under five, then closer to four, and it became pretty obvious this set of races, too, would need to be abandoned. And so the November flag was hoisted once again and everyone returned to the starting area. Unfortunately, the little bit of breeze that had been holding on before, collapsed – not just down to zero, but to 0.0 where it remained while the race committee waited to see if a miracle would occur so we could get at least one race in.
No miracle was forthcoming, and after waiting another half an hour in the dead calm, everyone returned to shore.
In the end, each of the competitors had two opportunities to practice their starts. And there are no standings as of yet. Hopefully better winds will prevail tomorrow.