A saying from Greek philosopher Aristotle, “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet” rang true for some of the 265 competitors competing in the RS:X European and Youth European Championships as sailors come off either pleased or frustrated with the long days toil on the water. At the Yacht Club de la Pointe Rouge in the morning, all of the signs were for a perfect day on the water, just what the doctor ordered after the beating that some of the sailors received on the opening day.
However, by the time all of the fleets were afloat, the wind had dropped and a long day was looking likely. On the Youth course, sailors managed to get a single race completed for the Youth men and Youth women which took place in a dying breeze which started to shift around as well as oscillate in strength. As the Race Officer sent the sailors ashore, hopes were high that they would be able to get back out and continue racing once the wind had increased in the afternoon as forecast.
The Senior fleet had less luck, with only the Senior Men Yellow fleet managing to get a single race in before racing had to be abandoned for the morning, the wind simply deciding it had had enough and deserting the race course. Frustration was evident as sailors returned to the harbour, having been eager to race.
After a three hour wait ashore, conditions started to look more hopeful and all fleets were sent back out to complete the schedule of races. However conditions again proved fickle with a variable wind of between 4-6 knots, just on the cusp of being able to race. The Senior Men fleets both ended the day with an equal compliment of two races, five in total for the event, with the Senior Women less fortunate in only managing to get one race finished.
In the afternoon it was the turn of the Youth fleet to experience frustration as, despite the valiant efforts of the race committee, the wind failed to stabilise enough to get any further races in.
Noga Geller (Israel) won the only race of the day to rocket up the overall leader board to end the day in 13th place overall. Geller commented, “I had a really good day as I won. I prefer to sail in the lighter winds as its like this at my home club in Israel”. Looking ahead to Thursday where strong winds are once again forecast, “In the big winds for the rest of the week I am just going to go for it with no fear and go as fast as I can”.
Helene Noesmoen (France) continues to lead the fleet with few changes in the top ten but the points closing up making for an interesting fight. With some light wind specialists in the fleet, today was the opportunity to make good on skills and this was evident in the results – however consistency pays in this sport and the top three is rounded out with consistent performers in Lilian de Geus (Netherlands) and Maja Dziarnowska (Poland) in second and third respectively.
Reliability was key in the racing today with “big guns” from yesterday having mixed fortunes, leaving the top of the leader board open to be claimed by Dutchman Dorian van Rijsselberge who won both of the races. Both Nimrod Mashiah (Israel) and Louis Giard (France), the top sailors from yesterday, suffered a big score in the racing today to drop them down to third and fifth.
Mashiah on todays racing, “It was an ok day for me. The racing was pretty tough with some big holes in the wind and very shifty. I am third overall at the moment so I am pretty happy with that after a difficult day.”
Kieran Badloe, countryman to Van Rijsselberge, also had a consistent day with scores of second and fourth and lies in fourth overall. It will be interesting to see how this battle between the double Gold medallist and his protégé works out and will be fascinating to watch as we get closer to Tokyo 2020.
As the Senior Men are split into Gold and Silver fleets for the racing on Thursday and Friday, there are an impressive 18 different nations in the top half of the fleet.
In the one race of the day, Israeli sailor Yarden Isaak took on the yellow jersey by securing a third place and dropping overnight leader Olivia Roisque to second. These two sailors are proving that they will be regulars on the podium this week as they fight for the top spot.
Roisque on the race today commented, “It was a difficult day. There were lots of shifts in todays race and Im happy with how I sailed. Im looking forward to more wind later in the week. I am from Montpelier so racing is here in Marseille is very nice for me.”
Behind them the battle for third place is equally as intense between Thais Royer de Vericourt (France) in third and Camille Olivier (France) in fourth.
Bouncing back after a difficult day in Mondays pumping winds was Russian sailor Maria Lemenkova. Lemenkova was unable to complete either of the races on Monday but finished second in the race today showing her mettle and nerve in these championships and sure to improve further as the week goes on.
There were no changes in the top four of the Youth Boys fleet with Luca di Tomassi (Italy) holding on despite a trio of French boys, Arnoux, Grall and Jolivet, desperate to perform on home waters and take the title come Saturday afternoon.
They will have to keep an eye behind them though as the biggest winner of todays long day on the water was Yoav Cohen who the only race and jumps up to fifth overall and within striking distance of the French.
With the Youth Boys splitting into Gold and Silver fleets for the racing for the rest of the week, the best result was for Noe Dorin scoring a ninth in todays race dragging him into the top half of the fleet and with gold fleet racing to look forward to.
With a scheduled rest day on Wednesday, sailors will be back on the bay of Marseille on Thursday where the forecast is for strong winds again. With three races scheduled sailors will be working hard to get into the top 12 come Friday evening to make sure they are in with a chance to battle it out for gold and the European titles.
Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class
Photos: Robert Hajduk / Shuttersail.com
Event website: http://www.rsxclass.org/europeans2017/