Four way tie at the top
Largs delivered the Laser Radial World Championships competitors a testing measure of its notoriously difficult offshore, easterly breeze for the second day of competition on the Clyde estuary.
With the breezes gusting and swirling off the heather clad hills and down the glens at the back of the town of Largs the sudden changes in direction, and the pressure rising and falling on different sides of the race course, the challenge was especially difficult to stay consistent across the two races which both the Women and the Men’s fleets sailed today.
Even those who had a good day came ashore admitting how hard they had found it to read the breeze, to predict what was going to happen next, whilst there were several top seeded sailors who suffered a rollercoaster day – one good result and one bad one; even the odd horror show.
France’s Sarah Steyaert, who won the Laser Radial world title in Auckland in 2008, upped her challenge here when she won her first race of the day and then backed up her first win of the series with a third, to lift her to second overall.
Vital to the first race was being in a position to reap just the right amount of benefit from the right side of the course when the wind shifted right. At the top of the leg it had changed so much that some of those who had invested most heavily came reaching in to the windward turn. The second women’s contest saw the wind fade back slightly from the puffy 5-10 knots with bigger holes in the breeze to be avoided at all costs.
But the only sailor to manage to keep it solid, posting scores all in the top ten so far is Holland’s Marit Bouwmeester. Her fifth and seventh today ensures she retains her overall lead, but also discards a seventh in her armoury for the future. The world no 2 leads the top five which otherwise comprises four or past or reigning world champions.
Sari Multala (FIN) the current world champion was just one of the many who had an up and down day in the easterly. First race for her she won ahead of Scot Charlotte Dobson who came back strongly in the lighter breezes after a moderate opening yesterday, but Multala discards the 49th from her second race which she later described as ‘pretty terrible’.
Multala’s compatriot Tuula Tenkanen won the yellow fleet’s second race as did Poland’s Ewe Makowska in the blue fleet.
Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) admitted later she just had not got her head round the conditions today, her 37th and discarded 50th sliding her down into the mid twenties overall. "I was just not keeping it simple. For me it was a difficult day and I just didn’t seem to figure it out.”
Of Britain’s Skandia Team GBR sailors Ali Young scored a sixth and a discarded 18th and holds 11th whilst Dobson’s second place was paired to a hard won 32nd which she also discards and lies 18th overall.
At the end of day two there is a four way-tie for the lead between Marit Bouwmeester, Sarah Steyaert (FRA), Paige Railey (USA) and Sari Multala.
"It was okay for me today, but a difficult day," said Bouwmeester. "The first race the wind was a lot to the right but the whole day was mostly the same – really tricky sailing. I am really not interested in the overall results just now, there are still so many days to go.
The second race was a bit lighter and still pretty tricky but it is the same for everyone. It was good but I lost three boats on the small upwind and so I was a bit annoyed at myself for that, I guess it is the type of weather where these things happen.”
Sarah Steyert added: “ I made a very, very good start and then just was good on the shifts. And I had very good speed on the downwinds all day. That is mainly why I won. On the second downwind I passed first. On the second race it was very difficult with the wind shifts. But for me it was better because it was lighter than on the other days I have been here. I seemed to have a real good nose for the shifts today, with good feelings for the breeze. I have not sailed for the past few months because I have been studying, so I am not so sure why I was quick downwind. I have not raced since Miami where I got a 22nd. The wind is good and the waves good here, but it is a little wet and a little bit cold.”
Sari Multala added: “ I did not lead the first race the whole way but I was sort of in the right place in the top 10, but I caught up on the second downwind and went from fourth to first. I could keep up the lead to the end but it was really closely fought until the end. The wind was really up and down. The second race I was a bit late at the start and I wanted to get to the right, which was not so good. There was no wind and no shift. I lost even more on the second run. It was not great. I only had a few boats behind me, it was pretty terrible.”
British hope Charlotte Dobson said: “It was a real hard introduction to Largs in an easterly. There was more pressure coming in from the top right of the course and I seemed to keep using that quote well. I was quite quick upwind and managed to fend everyone off a bit downwind but I managed to make the gains upwind. But then the second race I did not have a very good start and that made it hard from there, to get to the right hand side and to find the pressure. People on the very hard right just went a bit too far. Then at the top mark there was the biggest shift of the day 30-40 degrees and these boats came reaching in from the right. It was always going to be a struggle. The second race where I got to was actually quite good for where I started from, it would have been in touch. You can’t really see the pressure coming.”
Top 50 results
|6||Elias Calles Wolf Tania||MEX||4||-10||7||5||26||16|
|15||Romero Steensma Susana||ESP||7||-26||6||13||52||26|
|17||de Kerangat Mathilde||FRA||-18||7||15||5||45||27|
|20||Van Acker Evi||BEL||6||11||-21||14||52||31|
|34||Xu Lijia||CHN||2||(DNC [58.0])||5||37||102||44|
|36||Weir Krystal||AUS||(DNF [58.0])||12||8||25||103||45|