Thermometer rises as competition heats up

On a blisteringly hot day at the RS:X Europeans and Youth Europeans, being held in Sopot, Poland, the competition notched up a few degrees as the 220 competitors took to the water under fiery skies to position themselves against their rivals ahead of Saturdays medal races. As the temperature rose, the density in the air added to the pressure on the sailors’ shoulders to not drop a place, not miss a shift and not miss that critical gust that could give them the race win or drop down the fleet.

The men’s leader board had a reshuffle as Italy’s Mattia Camboni powered around the race course to win the first two races of the day before following this up with a well-fought 13th placed in the final race. This puts Camboni in pole position going into the final day of fleet racing tomorrow ahead of Yoav Omer from Israel who is 7 points adrift of the Italian. Spaniard Sergi Escandell Mari had the best day out of the men with a 4, 6, 3 to climb up to seventh overall. Omer is also the leading under 21 sailor, ten points ahead of Yoav Cohen (Israel).

And it is Israel who have stealthily crept up the rankings today with Yoav Cohen in 5th, Shahar Zubari in 6th and Nimrod Mashiah in 9th. Sitting just behind Mashiah is Byron Kokkalanis from Greece who had a difficult start to the week having only landed the day before racing started as his flight was delayed. Kokkalanis is the oldest competitor in the fleet and will be aiming to close the gap on those ahead of him and create the opportunity for a medal on Saturday.

Camboni on the racing, “Everything went fine today – with this wind it is easy to make a big mistake, especially in gold fleet. So I wetn to the water with the intention to take it easy and just sail well. I had two good races, with a little bit of luck, but good races. In the third race I missed some shifts and missed a gust at the top mark and rounded in 25 or maybe a bit further back. I had a good downwind and managed to finish 13th but it was a hard race. I love sailing in Sopot, the club is special and we have had great conditions this week.”

The leading trio in the women’s fleet of Zofia Noceti-Klepacka (Poland), Stefania Elfutina (Russia) and Emma Wilson (Great Britain) all had a solid day to put some sunlight between themselves and fourth placed Maya Morris (Israel). Noceti-Klepacka continued where she left off yesterday and scored an impressive 1, 2, 4 to extend her point’s advantage to 13 from Elfutina. Wilson also had a reliable day scoring 2, 10, 1 to have a 19 point buffer from Morris – this pair are also battling for the under 21 title but Wilson will also have an eye on picking up her first senior championship medal this week.

Similar to the men, it is the Israeli ladies that have snuck three sailors into the top ten. With Morris leading, they are followed by Noy Drihan in 6th and Katy Spychakov in 7th – showing that Israel are one of the more dominant nations within windsurfing.

Wilson on her fortunes this week, “It was a gusty and shifty offshore breeze with anything from 5 – 15 knots. I try to do my own thing and not worry about anything or anyone else, I can’t control that. We have a strong training group in Bryony Shaw and Saskia Sills so that’s really helped me improve across all of the wind strengths. Tomorrow is the same, it’s just another day and I will sail the same and enjoy it and race my best.”

The youth women sees Giorgia Speciale from Italy remain top for the third day running having scored a 1, 1, 3 from today. Speciale has a very comfortable 21 point lead and is the only sailor who could sew up the title ahead of the medal races on Saturday such is the dominance of her sailing this week. Behind her is local sailor Lidia Sulikowska from Poland in second and Israel’s Linoy Geva in third who is also the leading under 17.

Speciale has had an impressive season, “Today I had three really good races, so it’s a good score. Today was really shifty and gusty so it was a little bit difficult. I have been in the class since 2015 but I was very young, but this year I am doing both RS:X and Techno Plus – I have won the Techno Plus Europeans, RS:X Youth Worlds, 3rd in World Sailing Youth Worlds, 4th in Techno Plus Worlds and I hope to do well here and at the Youth Olympic Games”. We wish her well!

The youth men have also had the same leader for the week in Fabien Pianazza from France who made an unusual error in being over the line in the second race today. That didn’t stop him from retaining the lead which is still a notable 18 points over arch-rival Nicolo Renna from Italy. Pianazza, like Speciale, has the option of being World and European Champion and is very close to achieving this.

Behind them is a log jam of French and Israeli sailors taking up all of the spots between 3rd place and 12th place with the party being ruined by the lone Greek sailor Leonidas Tsortanidis in 4th place overall.

Three more races are scheduled for Friday 24th, after which the top ten will progress through to the double points medal race on Saturday. Racing is scheduled to start at 1100 local time and can be followed online with live Twitter updates from the course areas.

Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class

Photos: Robert Hajduk / Shuttersail.com

RESULTS will be available when race commences here – http://www.rsxclass.org/europeans2018/

WATCH the tracking online when racing commences here –

http://RSX.SailRacer.org

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