“Waiting Game” – Noun – a strategy in which action on a matter is reserved for or postponed to a later time, allowing one to wait for a more advantageous time to act or to see what develops in the meantime.
A frustrating day ashore for the 265 sailors wanting, waiting, desperate to race today in the RS:X Europeans and Youth Europeans. Marseille has served up the heavy and the light winds this week and today saw the return of the strong breeze. Not quite the Mistral from Monday, but a 30 knot south easterly wind this morning and showed little sign of abating all day until, finally, at 1710 the Race Officers decided enough was enough and ended the Waiting Game.
So what does todays events mean in the hunt for event titles and medals? For those inside the top 12, those that are in the frame to qualify forward to the quarter finals on Saturday, probably mixed emotions in that they were unable to consolidate their position – but also maybe relief that they did not have to defend their position from the chasing pack. For those outside of the top 12, the chasing pack, frustration in not being able to get some racing under their belts and move closer to the top of the fleet.
Instead, Friday becomes a critical day for everyone involved in the event. The Race Officers, having lost a days’ worth of racing due to the weather (you can blame Mother Nature for this though) will be keen to make sure that the racing goes as smoothly as possible and that the scheduled three races are completed with minimum fuss. For the sailors, a vital day on the water to either attack or defend their overall position as the standings at the end of Friday will determine whether the sailors are in with a chance of a medal or not, a top 12 position being the hottest ticket in town.
Looking ahead, Saturday presents a new challenge. The format of racing is new to this event and will be the first time that the European titles have been handed out in this way. The top 12 sailors in each fleet will battle in a 15-18 minute quarter final race from which the top 6 sailors will progress to the semi-final race. This race will be slightly shorter in 10-12 minutes, with intensity and pressure increasing as the medals get closer, with the top three progressing to the final – assured of a medal but still needing to fight it out over a 6-8 minute race to determine who gets which colour and which step on the podium. It will be unique to sailing and the RS:X and hopes to end the regatta on a tense thriller.
The forecast for the remainder of the week looks, without tempting fate, promising. Everyone will be hoping to end this event on a high and head home with a medal and a European Championship to their name…
Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class
Photos: Robert Hajduk / Shuttersail.com
Event website: http://www.rsxclass.org/europeans2017/