Consistency key ingredient as opening day challenges

The RS:X European and Youth European championships started today at a blistering pace in Sopot, Poland with all 220 competitors getting a full schedule of racing in shifty and gusty conditions that confronted the racers as they took to Gdansk Bay. With four different fleets on the water, the race committee and local volunteers rose to the challenge of the day, mastered the building breeze and delivered racing that was spot on to open a regatta.

It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.

This is, with one exception, a saying that rings true across all of the different sets of results and demonstrates the difficult day on the water; water that looked so tempting from the sunny, sandy beach of Sopot but held many pitfalls and traps.

In the senior men, France’s Thomas Goyard had the only perfect day at the office with three first places in the yellow fleet and leads the chasing pack. Race wins in the men’s blue fleet went to three different winners with Shahar Zubari (Israel), Mattia Camboni (Italy) and Byron Kokkalanis (Greece) taking a win each. Only Camboni could show consistency around his win, scoring a 4, 1, 3 to sit in second place overall behind Goyard.

Polish sailor Radoslaw Furmanski is placed fourth overall and is the best from the home country after a difficult day for the Polish sailors who were hoping to do well at this event. Pawel Tarnowski struggled for consistency with a 4, 28, 5 and is 18th overall whilst Piotr Myszka did not compete in the final race due to injury and is down in 48th place. A bounce back day for Tarnowski and Myszka.

Goyard on his racing today, “A very nice day, light planning conditions and sometimes daggerboard. I was feeling good and was in tune with the shifts today. It would be great to reclaim the title I won in 2016 but it’s still just the first day so anything can happen.”

The women’s scoreboard would lead one to think that this is going to be a closely fought event with winners determined on the final race day. Russia’s Stefania Elfutina had the best day scoring a 2, 5, 6 to sit on top with Israel’s Noy Drihan two points further back in second. Marta Maggetti from Italy rounds out the top three.

It looked to be a case of local knowledge paying good for Karolina Lipinska from Sopot who took the opening race win, only for consistency to let her down too as she followed this up with a 11, 18 to sit in 7th overall. Lipinska is the leading Polish sailor and is just ahead of a chasing duo of Zofia Noceti-Klepacka in 8th and Kamila Smektala in 9th.

In the youth boys fleet, reigning RS:X Youth World Champion France’s Fabien Pianazza, has clearly set his sights on taking the European crown too following a 2, 1, 1 series of results and is leading the fleet. Fellow countryman Yun Pouliquen is in second having also had a solid opening day of 3, 2, 2 to just lead Itai Kafri from Israel.

Italy’s Nicolo Renna had a difficult opening day scoring 33, 1, 5 to sit in 23rd overall. Renna has been Pianazza’s main contender over the summer’s events and he will be disappointed with his opening race but has showed he has speed and will be hoping for a more stable day tomorrow to move up the rankings. Polish sailor Przeryslaw Szbkowski ended with a race win following a 13 and 16 and is in 12th overall and top local sailor.

The youth girls also have the reigning RS:X Youth World champion leading the fleet in the form of Giorgia Speciale from Italy. Speciale scored an improving 8, 5, 2 to hold a narrow lead over Weronika Marciniak from Poland whose last race let her down, scoring 2, 1, 13. Palma Cargo from Croatia rounds out the podium as she took the opening race win but also had an up and down day lacking consistency.

Israel have the potential to dominate this fleet with four sailors in the top ten at the end of the first days racing. Maya Hadler sits in fouth and leads this group with Linoy Geva another notable Israeli sailor in 7th overall but a clear leader in the under 17 fleet here.

Racing continues tomorrow with another three races for all four fleets scheduled. It will be make or break for both the men’s and boy’s fleets who will be racing for a place in the gold fleet which if they are not in, they will not be able to contend for any of the titles or medals.

Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class Photos: Robert Hajduk /

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