Sun sets on a long day at RS:X Europeans

For the 333 competitors sailing in the RS:X European and Youth European Championships, it was an epic day of waiting and more waiting as the wind toyed and teased the race officers and fleets. By the time the Women were coming ashore, the sun set providing a beautiful backdrop against the multi-coloured fleet, it had been a massive ten hours of waiting, postponements and sore arms and legs for some of the fleets.

Palma, Mallorca, again looked to test, but this time the race officers were the ones being tested with a fluctuating breeze that never really stabilized throughout the day. For the Youth Women and Youth Men, fortune favoured their course area a little more than the Senior course area with better conditions. The Youth course was a little further offshore and benefitted from a more stable wind and allowed for all three races to be completed in good time – sailors coming ashore tired but with a good qualification series completed.

In the Youth Women, Natasa Lappa from Cyprus is the overnight leader with a slim three point margin over France’s Manon Pianazza in second and Israel’s Maya Nadler in third. Nadler is in fact the first of six Israelis in the top ten, continuing their dominance of the leaderboard in this fleet. Race wins for the day went to Linoy Geva (Israel), Naama Greenberg (Israel) and Julia Matveenko (Belarussia). What is impressive is that Pianazza is leading the Under 17 fleet at the halfway stage of the event and has a considerable points margin over Sharon Kantor (also from Israel!) in second Under 17 sailor.

The Youth Men also got three races in and after scoring three race wins on the opening day, Vardimon Tomer from Israel scored a 3, 4, 7 but still holds the lead – just. There are three sailors tied for second with Liam Segev (Israel), Yun Pouliquen (France) and Fabien Pianazza (France) all tied just one point behind Tomer. With this level of consistency, where no sailor in the top four has scored worse than 6th in any race, the Youth Men European title is likely to go down to the very last leg of the medal race. Leading the Under 17 and in fifth place overall is Israel’s Daniel Basik Tashtash.

Whilst the Youth enjoyed back to back races with minimal interruption, the Seniors had a very different experience with postponements, abandoned starts and delays – all thanks to the fickle wind. By the time the women had been released to the water, it was already late in the afternoon and the men had been afloat for nearly four hours and were coming ashore weary.  

Making the best of the day was Louis Giard from France who tops the rankings going into tomorrows gold fleet racing with a five point lead over compatriot Pierre le Coq. Kiran Badloe from the Netherlands is in third position with the overnight leader from day one, Daniele Benedetti dropping down to fourth after an unusual day at the office. Israel’s Yoav Cohen is the leading Under 21 and sits in 7th place overall.

Giard has been in the position before, having led for large parts of last years European Championship. Giard on todays racing, “It was really long day on the water but really happy that I managed to score a third and a fifth. It was difficult to be consistent but I am happy to be in the lead going into the gold fleet. I am not worried about beating the other French sailors, I just want to be the best that I can and if I win the regatta I have beaten them anyway”.

The Women certainly got the short straw for the day. After nearly two hours of being postponed ashore, they were finally sent out as the sun was starting to make its way to the horizon. By the time they got ashore it was closer to 8pm local time. The definition of a long day.

Charlene Picon from France leads after a consistent 3, 3 from the racing follows by the leading Under 21 sailor, Israel’s Noy Drihan in second place having picked up a 33 followed by a race win. With the discard of the sailors worst score coming in after the racing today, Drihan will be grateful to drop her 33rd place result. In third is Yue Tan and Yunxiu Lu from China, with the points between first and fifth all very close.

In the battle between nations, Great Britain’s Bryony Shaw had a very good day to score 2, 2 and jump up to 8th overall, leap frogging Emma Wilson who sits in 10th but with only a point separating the top two Brits. Laerke Buhl-Hansen, who picked up the bronze medal last week on these waters, found her form again taking 1, 7 from the day and rises up into gold fleet in 22nd overall.

As the all important split at the end of todays racing, there was a flurry of protests at the end of racing and all results are provisional at the time of writing – the Jury working late into the night to make the right and fair decisions for the protests heard.

Thursday looks like another difficult day weather wise and there will be many tired, weary bodies dragging themselves out to the race courses for another days battle.

RESULTS will be available when race commences here –

PHOTOS – Credit Jesus Renedo / SAILING ENERGY

TEXT – RS:X Class

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