Kingston, Ontario, Canada
With about 8 knots of wind from 190, both of the boys fleets were able to start under “U” flag with no one over early. This was certainly an improvement over the previous day.
It took quite a bit longer for the girls to get going, not because the girls tended to be a bit more aggressive on the start line. The wind that had settled in earlier at 190 started moving to the right, before eventually “settling” at 230. As it turns out this was a pattern that would repeat itself for most of the afternoon. The wind would settle in for a bit, and then swing left, or right, sometimes back to 190, then other times 230, or 210. The oscillations might come just a few minutes apart, or you might sail most of a 15 minute leg with a fairly consistent direction.
During the first race, the wind picked up just a bit and for the rest of the afternoon speeds hovered around 10 to 12 knots, with occasional gusts in the mid to high teens and very brief lulls down to 8 or 9 knots. In those conditions, with the erratic shifts, it was important to get in phase. Sailors who managed to sail lifted tacks would be able to move to the top of the standings, while those who were unfortunate enough to sail from header to header would find themselves moving towards the back of the fleet.
While these were conditions that might be enjoyable for those who are skilled at reading the wind shifts, for race committee it might best be characterized as challenging, or frustrating, depending on your attitude at the moment and just how many wind shifts you had to endure while trying to get a square start line for one fleet. Today’s record might have been four line resets for a single fleet as the wind seemed to oscillate every eight minutes. Just as sailors can get out of phase, so can race committee. The race officer didn’t give up though, and was able to get all the starts off with a fair line.
All three fleets finished three races on day three of the Championships, and the qualifying series for the boys is now complete.
Look at the standings, it is clear that some of the sailors found today’s conditions a bit more to their liking, while other sailors would have preferred another day of 20+ knots. Still, very few sailors managed to finish the day without finding themselves on the wrong side of the course at least once when a shift dropped them down to mid-fleet.
Italian Niccolo Nordera was one of the very few who, even if he might have missed some shifts now and then, got enough of them right to finish with the day’s top performance: two firsts and a fourth, which moved him up from fifth to holding the overall lead in the Championship as we move into the finals series.
Most of the others top sailors in the boys division who could handle the bigger breeze of yesterday, had a pretty fair success in the more moderate conditions prevailing today as well. Dmitry Golovkin from Russia and Croatian Roko Stipanovic also stayed in or near the front of the fleet during the day and remain only a few points behind Nordera.
As anticipated, both Iasonas Kefallonitis (Greece) and Mariano Cebrian (Spain) were able to move up over quite a bit in the standings (over 30 places each), climbing into the top ten after a strong day today, each finishing first in one of their races and being able to discard one score.
In the girls fleet, Lara Himmes of Spain had the best day with three top ten finishes, moving her from 12th up to 2nd, just “behind” Italian Sara Savelli, who has the same point total as Himmes and now hold the overall lead in the Championship on a tiebreaker. Marilena Makri (Cyprus) and Anja von Allmen both had at least two solid races today to remain in the top five.
We are only at the halfway point, and the Championships are a long way from over. Those who are near the top can’t afford to make mistakes, and those a bit farther back still have an opportunity to put together a string of good races to move up into contention for a podium finish. But each day is going to winnow the field a bit more.
GIRLS DIVISION – TOP FIVE after 5 races
1st Sara Savelli ITA 20.0
2nd Lara Himmes ESP 20.0
3rd Marilena Makri CYP 22.0
4th Anja von Allmen SUI 24.0
5th Alana Coakley IRL 32.0
BOYS DIVISION – TOP FIVE after 6 races
1st Niccolo Nordera ITA 11.0
2nd Dmitry Golovkin RUS 13.0
3rd Roko Stipanovic CRO 14.0
4th Gasper Strahovnik SLO 22.0
5th Uygar Kizilkaya TUR 24.0