Girls lead the field
Just as the 330 young competitors enjoyed a long stint in the sunshine on Tuesday’s opening day, there was a further opportunity for them to relax on the beach and top up their suntans today, as the lack of breeze prevented any action until the middle of the afternoon.
Just after 1400hrs, the wind had built to around five knots inside the harbour and the 29ers headed out for the start of their day’s racing, while the remaining classes were held on shore for a another hour until the eagerly awaited announcement came which allowed them to launch their boats.
The 29er course saw the best of the day’s action, managing to fit in two races as the breeze increased to around seven knots. Frances Peters and Hannah Diamond followed up their strong opening day with two solid race wins and end the day not only as the top female crew but also at the head of the 49-boat fleet comprising both boy and girl crews.
“We’re really pleased with how it’s gone so far,” said 17-year-old Diamond. “We’ve been planning well and sticking to our race routines so I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be able to keep up with the boys!”
The girls sail out of Hayling Island Sailing Club, and admit that their knowledge of the home waters and tides is proving an advantage. They remain unfazed by the delays and light wind conditions so far.
“We just stayed on the beach and relaxed for most of the day!” said Peters. “But then when the wind started to increase we started getting on with our preparations.
“We’ve got a routine we have before racing and we stick to that – we know pretty well the times when we need to really be focussed and the times when we can just chill out.”
After four races, Peters and Diamond are leading nearest rival James Ellis and Rob Partridge in second, and Anglesey pair Huw Humphreys and Max Todd in third. Current Under-19 and Ladies World Champions Sophie Weguelin and Sophie Ainsworth are poised in fifth and are second female crew.
The RS:X and 420 classes saw their first races of the regatta – Elliot Carney took the first race win in the windsurfing class, ahead of Jacob Brubert and Richard Hamilton , while Peter Irwin and David Kohler of Linlithgow Loch Sailing Club took an early lead in the 420 class after winning the fleet’s only race of the day in which just 14 boats managed to finish within the time limit.
The Laser Radials – the biggest fleet of the regatta with 102 competitors – also managed one race on Wednesday in which Jack Kilburn and Shane Terry each posted race wins. Doncaster’s Tom Willis heads the leaderboard at the end of day two, with another second place to add to his second from Tuesday’s giving him a two point lead over Southampton’s Michael Clark in the overall standings.
The Hobie 16 and Laser Standard classes saw a frustrating day – sent out to their racecourses with the hope of finally seeing some action, the breeze finally shut down for the day just before 1800hrs making it impossible for them to finish a race.
With better conditions expected on Thursday, event organisers and race officials have brought the time of the first warning signal forward to 1025hrs, and will be hoping to make up some lost ground.