Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Our daily report usually begins with the start of the opening race and finishes with the scoring, but the “race day” begins well before racing commences and continues well after the final finisher, sometimes long into the evening.
The office opens early, when some of us are still sleeping, with staff getting things organized for the day’s events. Check-in/Check-out sheets are prepared and other forms are gathered, food for all the volunteers is arranged, an additional supply of event shirts has arrived, and a handful of email inquiries are answered.
It is three hours before the start of the first warning signal, and the first meeting of the day begins with all the principals in attendance, to go over any outstanding issues and a look at what is on tap for the day: weather (today is looking good, tomorrow not so much), safety, shore operations, equipment, jury chair, race officers from different course areas, class representatives, scoring – everyone provides their input, answers questions and works together to ensure a smooth day on the water, or at least as smooth as can be managed in an imperfect world with lots of unpredictability.
Next is the coaches meeting, where event organizers discuss plans for the day and any changes to be aware of (north ramp is open now and available for launching). Coaches ask questions (why was AP over A not flown at the finish boat?) and provide feedback about areas where they think improvement can be made (the reach down to mark 5 seemed too low).
Then there is the volunteer meeting. These volunteers, and there are a lot of them, are the lifeblood of a regatta. Without their commitment of time, energy and experience, the event would be impossible. This group deserves a great deal of credit for the success of a Championship. It feels that words are not enough to express the amount of gratitude that is due.
Different water and shore teams then meet to address any last minute concerns and discuss what is ahead for the day.
Meanwhile, coaches gather their sailor to go over any items from the coaches meeting, and help them get focused on what is ahead. Boats are rigged, and the ramp helpers are all in place ready to help launch. And it is yet two hours before the first warning signal.
Course boats, safety boats, coach boats and sailors make their way out of the harbour and towards what will become the race area to monitor conditions. Most attention is on the wind. Race Committee gets boats in position to set a course while watching what the wind is doing. The prevailing breeze was farther right than we’ve seen all week (275) but with good speed in the low double digits.
The girls fleet started their first race of the day with a nice, straight line. Unfortunately they started their race twenty seconds before the actual start signal. No more Mr. Nice Guy from the race officer after the fleet is recalled – it will be a black flag from now on. The boys gold fleet also had to be reeled in once under uniform flag, but they managed to get a clear start under black flag. Only the silver fleet kept themselves in check until the start signal sounded.
The breeze was oscillating (275-260), not only in direction but also strength (14 knots to 8), and for now, puffs seemed to be coming in from the right. With three fleets operating in various parts of the race area, making a small change to the course was not going to be an option. Sailors would need to deal with current, wind shifts and finding good pressure.
Everything seemed to be set up for a relatively easy day of race management, but nature seems to have a way of mocking your hopes. First a modest front came through with a wind direction of 240. Then when the fleets were all back on course for race two, the thermal kicked in bringing the wind direction down to 225. Race committee wasn’t able to get gate 3 reset on the new direction without causing a problem for boats on the course at the time. Unfortunately, it made life even more difficult for race committee as the afternoon wore on because the trapezoid on the previous direction was now more of a rectangle with the new wind. It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but with careful timing, they made it work.
With the thermal coming into play, wind speeds again began to pick up, first to the mid teens and then on the final race for each of the three fleets, it was in the high teens and low twenties. Given the prognosis for poor conditions the following day, race committee wanted to get in three good races with good conditions for sailors, and this they managed to do.
If the leaders felt any pressure coming in to the day, it didn’t show on the water. In the girls fleet, Swiss sailor Anja von Allman had her best day of the Championship, winning the first race of the day (her first win of the regatta), and securing two second place finishes. Her exceptional performance capped off a remarkable week where her lowest finish has been 12th.
Her counterpart in the boys gold fleet, Italian Niccolo Nordera, likewise performed remarkably well when the pressure was on, earning a first place in between two top five finishes. In fact, he placed in the top five in every single race but one, so far.
With only one race scheduled on the final day to complete the Championship, there is no one who can catch either of the leaders, and so we know who the new World Champions will be. But, if we are fortunate in having sufficient wind to complete one more race, a number of sailors have an opportunity to move up (or down) in the standings. Significantly, second through fifth place might still be shuffled for the boys and the girls fleets, for either a spot on the podium or earning a Laser cube award.
GIRLS DIVISION – TOP FIVE after 11 races
1st Anja von Allmen SUI 37.0
2nd Lara Himmes ESP 60.0
3rd Sara Savelli ITA 75.0
4th Marilena Makri CYP 83.0
5th Zulal Alev Erkan TUR 104.0
BOYS DIVISION – TOP FIVE after 11 races
1st Niccolo Nordera ITA 27.0
2nd Roko Stipanovic CRO 46.0
3rd Gasper Strahovnik SLO 57.
4th Dmitry Golovkin RUS 71.0
5th Derin Baytur [U16] TUR 71.0