Long day afloat
Shifty was the word of the day for the penultimate day of the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships in Istanbul. For the third day in a row the Istanbul sun burned down on the Sea of Marmara and competitors were held ashore until the winner of the battle between the land breeze and the sea breeze was decided.
It created a nightmare scenario for the race officials, but by midday the AP was lowered for the Blue course, followed shortly afterwards by the Yellow and Orange courses. By 15:00 hrs local time all classes were out on the water but there was a difference of approximately 6-8 knots in wind strength between the courses.
The RS:X boards got two races finished before returning ashore for a deserved bowl of pasta but the wind had already started to shut down for its evening siesta so both the boys and girls fleets were told to relax and get an early night before the final race day in the morning.
In the girls fleet Kamila Smektala (POL) has been battling with Ofir Halevy of Israel all week and finally ended the day with a smile on her face with her two point lead. “It was hard today because it was very shifty, I don’t like no wind and I don’t like 25 knots but on days like today it’s good. I come from Warsaw and have to travel 350 km to the sea to sail. Last year I sailed in the world championships in Turkey, but never in Istanbul,” said Kamila
In the RS:X boys, Korean Wonwoo Cho still maintains his lead despite dropping to eighth place in the last race today. He is very hard on himself when he explains: “Its okay today, but I am unhappy! The Israeli and the Polish guys are very fast in the light winds, they get planing easily and I can’t get planing.” Wonwoo still has a three point advantage over his Spanish rival Mateo Sanz.
The 420 girls and boys spent nearly eight hours out on the water trying to get two good races in today in what became a marathon test. In the boys division the Spaniards Jordi Xammar ad Joan Herp from the Barcelona Olympic training centre, have now opened up a huge lead of 16 points over their nearest opposition, the Australian team of Angus Galloway and Alexander Gough who have been steadily rising up the leader board all week.
Jordi and Joan were cautious about their commanding position but described the conditions as very testing: “We sailed one regatta and had to stop because the wind swung around to much, the gusts were coming from left and right.”
In the 420 girls Austrians Lara Vadlau and Hannah Hanke just held onto their overall lead despite recording an 18th in the second race of the day. They are now on equal points as the Swiss, Linda Fahrni and Maja Siegenthaler.
The big movers of the day have been Joanna Freeman and Hannah Mitchel (GBR) who have jumped up onto the podium thanks to a bullet in the final race of the day. The local Istanbul girls, Ipeknaz Ozden and Deniz Gokmeral have steadily advanced up the rankings to finish the day in sixth overall.
The 29ers managed to polish off three quick races on the inner course today in incredibly shifty conditions. “It was massively shifty; we were tacking every 30 seconds. Wind strength difference around the course was up 10 knots, at times we were even overpowered,” explained the British pair Henry Lloyd Williams and Sam Batten.
The French lads Gael Jaffrezic and Julien Bloyet are still leading the fleet by three points after nine races. “You can lose a lot of places with one mistake, we have to focus a lot,” claimed Jaffrezic. The kiwi pair Alex Maloney and Sam Bullock remain tied in second place with the British crew going into the final day.
The Lasers also spent around seven hours on the water and after a number of recalled starts the girls division has produced a new leader. Amelie Riou of France scored two bullets to leap up the leader board into the gold position and help boost the chances of France retaining the coveted Volvo Trophy (awarded to the best overall team performance in the championship). Viktoria Andrulyte (LTU) and Erika Reineke of the USA have both taken the remaining podium spots from the earlier leaders.
The Laser boys division have completed seven races and a new leader has emerged in the form of Tomas Saunders of New Zealand. His strong results today leave him with a commanding lead of 15 points over the Italian Giovani Coccoluto. The Kiwi team are another team now challenging for supremacy in the Volvo Trophy for overall top nation.
Across the ditch from New Zealand the boys from down under, Chase Lurati and Paul Darmanin have now sailed themselves into a very strong position after eight races completed in the SL16 Sirena open multihull event. They lead the Danish pair Daniel and Nicolaj Bjornholt by nine clear points going into the final day of the championship.
The final day of the championship will decide the medals and which sailors become the best in the world in the eight different events. Depending on the weather conditions the race committee will endeavour to start racing as early as possible.
Full results here