Late May - ha! It was one of this day when you dream of a good log fire and a captivating book...Despite the rain and cold, the sailors put on all the warmest gear to start the first races of the 2013 Delta Lloyd regatta.
It was an intense day on the water with a tight programme. Olympic and Paralympic classes sailed three races apart from the 49ers and RS:X which had four races back to back.
“We realise it is an intensive schedule, particularly for the RS:X in non-planing conditions, so we decided to lower their target time to 20 mins and optimise resting periods between races.” explained PRO Robert Lamb.
RS:X Gold medallist Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) didn't mind the conditions, nor the intensive programme with four victories taken on the day: “A perfect start here: Four wins," he said. "The circumstances were difficult today. Cold and rainy. People expect a lot of me, but winning stays difficult. The racing was nice. Four races on a day is not what we often do, in Garda we had that also. It's tough, especially when it is so cold as today. Lots of guys in the RS:X had problems with the cold. In these conditions it's important to sail smart, at least smarter than the other guys.”
Van Rijsselberge's success story is an inspiration for the younger generation. Young Dutch windsurfer Kiran Badloe who has started the year with a podium in Palma found it harder today, but managed to place 11th in a strong fleet: “My races were unstable today," he said. "The wind turned a lot, that made it tough, besides the cold. It is nice to compete against Dorian, but today I didn't see him so much. He is so fast. Dorian is an inspiration for me. His success is very important for Dutch Sailing. My goal here is qualification for the top 25 in the Gold fleet.”
Close score in the Women 470 with Olympic champions Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (NZL) in first place, a point ahead of Britain's Sophie Weguelin and Eilidh Mcintyre.
There are no surprises in the Men 470. Mat Belcher and Will Ryan (AUS), undefeated since the start of the season, claimed the day with three wins.
The Danish won the day in the 49er. Norregaard/Thomsen took the first two bullets but it is Warrer/Lang who lead the fleet after winning the last two races. In the women's 49erFX, Annemiek Bekkering and Claire Blom (NED) hold first after four races.
Canadian Finn sailor Greg Douglas leads the Finn fleet with Piotr Kula (POL) in second.
With two Sailing World Cup victories in Melbourne and Hyères and a second place in Palma, Laser class favourite Tom Burton (AUS) leads in the Laser, while Palma winner Alison Young (GBR) leads the Radials ahead of Annalise Murphy (IRL) and Marit Bouwmeester (NED).
Mandy Mulder and Thijs Vissel (NED) have taken the first two races to lead the small, but strong Nacra 17 mixed catamaran fleet.
Moana Delle (GER) is continuing on her good form in the RS:X women in front of a deep field. There are 12 countries in the top 15 and some of the best sailors taking part.
The British are dominating the Paralympic classes after three races. Megan Pascoe is ahead in the 2.4,mR fleet, while John Robertson, Hannah Stodel and Steve Thomas (GBR) lead the Sonar on equal points with Hyères winners Bruno Jourdren, Eric Flageul and Nicolas Vimont-Vicary (FRA).
The forecast for the second day of racing is for strong winds.
The EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup is innovating this year with a new format across all its events. After the first regatta in Garda, it is now the turn of the Delta Lloyd Regatta to test this new format.
“The objective to have a competition understandable for the media and the public while being as fair as possible” explains Arjen Rahusen, Regatta Chairman.
In order to assess the changes and the impact on the regatta image, the DLR is conducting an online survey aimed at collecting comments from sailors, coaches and officials involved in the event. “We value the sailors opinion and encourage them to answer the survey.” added Rahusen.
All classes will race between 12 and 16 races (for the 49ers, FX and RS:X) in an opening series. The opening series will include a qualifying stage and a final stage for the Laser split in two fleets. All other classes will race in one single fleet. Only the RS:X men, the Laser and Radials will race a final stage with the top 25 boats.
The opening series overall result for the classes racing in a single fleet as well as the results from the finals will count as one race which will count in the Medal stage for the top six boats. On Saturday, a single point medal race for the top six will be added to the opening series placing, to decide the winner of the event.
The 49ers will keep experiencing their own format with three medal races for the top 8. Their Medal stage is scheduled on Friday evening.