Building breeze brings building pressure

Day 2 of the RS:X Europeans and Youth Europeans being held at Sopot, Poland had a mixed bag of tricks for the 220 competitors as they completed another 3 races on schedule. With a split into gold and silver fleets for the senior and youth men it was a critical day in securing the cut, whilst for the female sailors it was another ordinary day on the water – cut throat battles to get up the leaderboard and into the top ten positions.

With a start time of 1100 (local time) and with warm sunny days here in Sopot, it was always going to be a week where sea breezes would play some part in the racing. Like yesterday, the first races were held in light, marginal conditions whilst the last leg of the last races were full on planning and high speed planning. This switch in conditions throughout the racing would ensure that the sailors who could change gears quickest and make the most of the building breeze would capitalise the most.

The senior women, who are racing in a single fleet this week, saw local sailor Zofia Noceti-Klepacka rocket up into first position with a 3, 1, 1 scoreline, having discarded her opening days 27th in the first race of the event. Noceti-Klepacka leapfrogged overnight leader Stefania Elfutina from Russia who drops down to second overall, Elfutina scoring a consistent 4, 4, 2. With no gold and silver fleets, it’s a simple race to be in the top ten come Saturday’s medal race, so mistakes aren’t punished as much but opportunities still exist.

Noy Drihan from Israel remains in third place overall and leads the under 21 fleet, just ahead of Great Britain’s Emma Wilson who is the second under 21 sailor and is in fourth overall. Wilson had the marginally better day than Drihan to close the gap to just two points behind the Israeli sailor. Another Israeli sailor, Noga Geller, took the only race win away from Noceti-Klepacka in the first race of the day to climb into 8th overall.

Noceti-Klepacka at 32 is the second oldest sailor in the fleet and is enjoying her racing this week, “Today was very good. I am really happy as I sailing really fast and stable. The first race was very shifty and I was a little lucky as I went to the good side of the course. The wind picked up each hour and I am happy as I am fast in these conditions. I like sailing here in my home country, it is our home in Poland and it’s a cool event in Sopot. My kids are out of school and playing on the beach whilst I am racing which is really nice.”

In the men’s fleet the pressure was very much on, with the critical split of the fleet into two halves. If you are in the bottom (or wrong) half, there is no chance of getting into the medal race and no chance of the title – where if you are in the top half of the fleet, the dream lives on. Where Thomas Goyard had a dream start yesterday with three race wins, today was a little tougher for the Frenchman who scored 5, 9, 24 to drop down to 3 overall. Instead it was Israel’s Yoav Omer who leads the men’s fleet going into gold fleet racing tomorrow. Omer scored 11, 3, 1 which was enough to give him a three point lead over Poland’s Radoslaw Furmanski in second who is tied on points with Goyard.

The best scores of the day went to Yoav Cohen, again of Israel, who scored 3, 4, 1 to move up into 5th place overall just behind Italian Mattia Camboni who lacked some of his consistency from yesterday to score 29, 1, 10 for the day. There are currently six different nations in the top ten of this competitive fleet.

Yoav Cohen on the racing, “Today was pretty good, I lost some stupid points at times but I had a good day. The first two races were shifty and railing conditions and in the last race planning. Normally I don’t like these conditions but it worked for me today as I won the race. I won here in the Technos in 2013 so it’s a lucky place here in Sopot for me, I am even staying in the same room so it’s a great feeling to be back.”

In the youth women, it was a slight navigational error that was the talk of the board park at the end of the days racing. In the second race of the day, eleven sailors went the wrong way and sailed the wrong course and retired, including the overnight top three sailors proving that even the best can makes mistakes at this level. Instead it was Alysia Gibson who made the best of the fleets misfortunes to win the race, and have a reliable day overall to move up to 2nd overall.

Giorgia Speciale from Italy retains the lead despite her second race blip and scored a 2, RET, 1 to keep her yellow jersey going into Thursdays racing. Naama Gazit from Israel moves up into third place overall with Palma Cargo (Croatia) and Weronika Marciniak (Poland) slipping down into fourth and fifth respectively. Speciale has a bit of a buffer over Gibson at this point in the event and the chasing pack will have to work hard to have a chance to wrench the Youth European title away from Speciale.

The youth men also had a fleet split but this was of little interest to Frenchman Fabien Pianazza who had an identical scoreline to his first day taking a 2, 1, 1 and now discards a second place. This would be an impenetrable position in most events but countryman Yun Pouliquen is keeping the pressure up on Pianazza to sit just six points back – waiting and stalking Pianazza to pounce if he makes a mistake.

Nicolo Renna from Italy had a better day, dropping his 33rd place from Tuesdays racing to score a 4, 1, 1 and move up into third overall on equal points with Pouliquen. Greek sailor Leonidas Tsortanidis moves up to fourth overall and is just two points further back from Renna.

Pianazza on todays racing, “I had a very good today – the same day as yesterday with a second place and two race wins. The first race was very light wind and very tricky. The second race was between 10-12 knots and the third race was 13-16 knots which are my favourite conditions. I have one more year in the youth fleet before moving up so I am enjoying the racing here.”

There are another three races scheduled on Thursday for all fleets – the forecast is for a hotter day which will certainly reflect the temperature of the condition as the regatta works its way towards the titles and medals.

Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class

Photos: Robert Hajduk / Shuttersail.com

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