Truly awful conditions at the opening day of the J/24 World championship greeted 55 of the World's top J/24 sailors at the opening race here in Malmo Sweden.
A frontal system yesterday brought some sun, but mostly overcast skies with winds topping 26 knots.
The fleet went to jibs in race one and after a black flag restart, racing got underway. Poor light made the windward mark difficult to spot, inshore and to the left of Malmo's landmark, 'Turning Torso' tower.
Race one went to Mattias Perira of Argentina, from Tim Healey and Tony Parker, two USA entries. Directly behind them the battle continued with former World Champion, Andrea Casale of Italy, in Grand Cargo, grabbing 5th by getting inside at the second weather mark and gybing first. British sailors Nathan Batchelor in Serco and Ian Southworth in Inmarsat Il Riccio, took eighth and ninth, despite both ripping spinnakers. Batchelor's caught on the final drop and while Southworth's snapped at the headboard as he crossed the finish line. Both headed for shore to grab spares.
Race two saw more wind and stronger waves. Mike ingham from the USA grabbed the lead and held it, chased by Pereira and Southworth, with Stefan Karsunke of Germany in Max Bahr. Southworth took the righthand gate, heading left as the leader took the lefthand and went to shore. For half the final leg he had the lead but a jib halyard released as he tacked under Pereira and he was forced back left. Mike ingham held off Pereira and Karsunke to the line.
At the close of day one, Pereira leads from Healy, Karsunke, Casale and Southworth.
Torrential rain and frontal conditions are forecast for tomorrow.