The Calm Before The Storm
Day 2 of the RS:X Youth World Championships proved as difficult and frustrating for the competitors waiting to get the event under here at Lake Garda, Italy. Another day of light winds, this time interrupted by extreme conditions and violent storms ripped through the northern end of the lake causing at times, total chaos both on shore and on the water.
Despite an early start scheduled, the morning breeze failed to materialise until 1230 with competitors frustratingly sat ashore looking at a patch of water that normally provides iconic sailing conditions – which everyone will hope to return to normal planning conditions later in the week.
A light and gentle 6-7 knot wind greeted the sailors afloat and one short sharp race was run with the race officer cautious in shortening course as dark clouds approached from the south. Luckily this move paid off as a storm swept across the course areas just as the competitors headed ashore with a 500% increase in wind speed of 45 knots hitting the race area – devastating conditions at any level but with all sailors safely ashore, an incredibly wise decision from the race team.
With one race on the scoreboard, the championship was underway and Israel’s Daniel Cohen and France’s Titoun Pillot won a race apiece to lead the championship overnight. Impressively Fabian Pianazza from France is the first U17 in fifth place overall. France and Israel laid down their intent dominating the boys fleet occupying eight of the top ten spots after a single race. China’s Zhaoguan Gong is in third place overall, a testament to the depth of the talent coming through from outside of Europe in the windsurfing world.
In the girl’s fleet, it is a battle of the world champions with reigning Youth Sailing World Championship from 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand, Emma Wilson (GBR) just losing out to Katy Spychakov (ISR) who is the reigning RS:X Youth World Champion from last year’s edition . This battle will surely carry on for this event and into the World Sailing Youth Championships in Sanya, China at the end of the year, if they perform and are selected from this event.
With many more selection battles being played out this week, not only will RS:X Youth World Champions be decided, many countries will be selecting sailors for future representation.
The Race Committee seemed to get older by the minute as the conditions challenged every ounce of their knowledge with variable and shifting conditions for the remainder of the afternoon, proving that fair racing would be impossible with the team finally admitting defeat just before 1800 (local time) this evening.
With only one race completed after two days, this puts significant pressure on the final series, something which is being trialled further at this event. The organisers hope to catch up over the coming days and allow sailors to prove their skills over the final few races and justify their places in the Grand Final. There are so many sailors and races to, hopefully, watch over the coming days so stay tuned and keep following to see who will compete for the titles as the racing continues! We are all hoping that the weather gods listen to the wind dance of Ewa and finally come to play nicely!
Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class
Photos: Robert Hajduk / Shuttersail.com
Event website: http://www.rsxclass.org/youthworlds2017/