Photos: David Kneale/Volvo Ocean Race

Light opening day

Brit duo leads the 29ers after the opening day of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship

Sunday July 11th 2010, Author: Sophie Luther, Location: United Kingdom

In contrast to the wet and unstable conditions of the practice race the opening days racing provided a light breeze of 5 – 7 knots from the north-west and warm dry conditions once the early clouds had dispersed.

The first starts were scheduled for 12:00 local time (15:00 UTC), but most fleet were only able to complete two races with the breeze fading during the afternoon. The 29ers however did manage to complete the schedule of three short races.

At the end of the day there are eight different nations leading each of the eight classes and the battle for the Volvo Trophy for the best performing nation is very close between Poland, Spain, Denmark and Great Britain.

The two RS:X windsurfing fleets were the first to return ashore after two races. In the RS:X boys division. Wondoo Cho of Korea has started his campaign in great form winning both races.

“It was very light winds, the first race about seven knots but dropping in the second. I finished first in both races so I am very happy,” said Cho. In the first race I broke a batten but managed to fix it. I have been getting good starts. We have the same conditions in Pusan where I come from so I like these conditions.”

At the end of day one, second spot overall is held by the Spaniard Mateo Sanx who scored two second places and third position by the current RS:X Youth European championship bronze medallist Omer Sofer (ISR).

In the girls RS:X fleet it was another young Israeli sailor, Ofir Halevy, the current RS:X Youth European champion, who sailed two commanding performances to score two bullets in the light conditions. Coming from Tel Aviv she also enjoyed similar sailing conditions as she is used to at home.

“I won the first race and the second, for me its perfect conditions, the races were really long and I am tired but I am ready for tomorrow,” said Halevy.

Britain's Izzy Hamilton, who battled with Ofir all the way down to the wire for the title at the recent RS:X Youth Europeans, sits in silver position here in Istanbul with two second places. Making up the podium is Laerke Buhl-Hansen from Denmark.

In the 28 boat 420 girls fleet, Khairunnisa Mohd Afendy and Ameira Izla Zulkefli of Malaysia came ashore quite surprised by their opening day, as skipper Khairunnisa explained: “I have just trained with my new crew for one week, we didn’t come here to win medals or anything, we just came to get experience.”

In a competitive 420 boys fleet of 30 boats the Japanese pair of Hiroki Yamaguchi and Tetsuya Isozaki scored two straight bullets to take an early lead in the light airs from the Spanish crew of Jordi Xammar and Joan Herp who finished the day on seven points, two points clear of Jao Villas Boas and Tomas Camelo.

Despite being one of the heavier crews in the 18 boat 29er fleet Henry Lloyd Williams and Sam Batten started their championship with a consistent 4,2,1 score line to end the day in the lead from the French pairing of Gael Jaffrezic and Julien Bloyet and the kiwis Alex Maloney and Sam Bullock who were unfortunate to snag a plastic bag whilst leading which dropped them a number of places to end the second race with an elevnth place. They recovered in the third race of the day to finish in bronze spot on the podium after the first day of racing

Henry Lloyd Williams said: “We had a good consistent day, we are happy with our results but we have a lot of work to do to hold our position. There were some gusty patches and holes in the wind which made for some interesting racing.”

After the practice race day yesterday, there was a change to the course areas for the two Laser fleets. The Laser Radial course was swapped with the 420 and SL16 catamarans so that the single-handed sailors did not have sail as far from the venue.

The first day saw the young Italian sailor in the Laser Radial boys fleet Giovanni Coccoluto and the host nations competitor, Turkish Levent Ahiskali go head to head. Both snatched a first and second place with Kiwi Thomas Saunders in third. The Lasers only managed to fit in two races before the fickle wind conditions prevailed.

World Cup Final fever hit the dinghy park today and in the Laser Radial girls class the Spanish sailor Patricia Coro and the Dutch Michelle Broekhuizen battled it out in the first race. Broekhuizen led for the majority of the race, but Coro eventually pipped her to the post by winning the race. “She may have won on the water today,” said Broekhuizen. “But we will win tonight at the match!”

In the second race of the day Broekhuizen dropped to 16 ending the day in eighth overall. Coro finished with a tenth in the second race to be in the bronze position after day one but consistent results scored by the Polish girl, Paulina Barwinska and Chiara Steinmuller of Germany gave these two girls the top two spots.

The Danish brother and sister team of Nicolaj and Daniel Bjornholt and the French crew of Antoine Dljou and Guillaume Le Croq had a good start to the championship in the SL16 Sirena fleet of eleven boats ending the day on equal points, three points clear of the Australian team Chase Lurati and Paul Darmanin.

The RS:X fleets have the opportunity to attend a post-race briefing hosted by ISAF Coach Kristine Roug (DEN) and four time Olympic medallist Alessandra Sensini (ITA) accompanied by a replay of the race from the live tracking service which the RS:X boards were using today.

Full results here



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