Monday, July 5, 2010

RS:X European Championships: Day 2

Once again, the weather is proving most excellent for the tourists, rather than the sailors. After another shorter wait, the wind filled in about 2 knots more than the first day of racing. The committee is quick to race us, having learned these conditions over the past week and a half.

I am unfortunately still struggling and as long as the light wind conditions persist, won't have a chance to do well at this regatta. However it is a good lesson in patience, perseverance, and focus on technique. I am still doing well on the starts, although the race committee isn't extremely strict about calling sailors over early, so it is funny to watch most of the fleet jump the gun to be OCS by one or two seconds. Of course I am doing this too, as being late ensures a poor finish.

Battling it out downwind

Rory Ramsden, class secretary from the UK, summarized yesterday in classic and dramatic style:

"We had a quiet Sunday morning lingering over our coffees and taking
it easy. Just as you may have been doing at home. However, the wind
gods decided to answer our prayers a little earlier than yesterday
so the men were called to the starting area at 1345hrs with the first
race of the day for the yellow group being launched onto the course
at 1415hrs.

Shahar Zubari [ISR] carried on where he left off yesterday posting
a bullet in the first race but he slipped in the second. That is if
you consider a 4th a slip. It was good enough to hold his position
at the top of the leader board but he now has to share the top step
with Piotr Myszka [POL] who posted a 1st and a 2nd . The other guy
who was firing on all cylinders was Byron Kokkalanis [GRE] who
posted a 2 and a 1.

There is a three way fight therefore for the lead. Then a another
struggle for supremacy 8 points back with 6 or 7 boards in contention.
The remarkable news though is that all four men's starts went off
first time with just 3 boards called OCS.

Whereas over in the women's fleet something very unusual was being
played out. Their first start of the day was 'generalled' and
launched again under a black flag with one sailor being 'BFDed' -
disqualified for being over the start line early - Then the second
race was black flagged with no fewer than 7 being disqualified.

For the technical experts among you, the women's fleet is one third
bigger than each of the two men's groups and was started on the same
line - no change in length.

Normally the women are very well behaved and start first time under
a 'P' flag so black flags on successive starts is almost unheard of.
So far it's the men who are behaving well. Call me old fashioned,
but this is not normal

Anyway, back to the racing...

Eugenie Ricard [FRA] must have been upset by all the shenanigans in
the starting area. She posted a 9th in the first race but regained
her composure to take first place in the second. She now sits in
second place because of the 'poor' result in the first just two
points behind Malgorzata Bialecka [POL]. These two light wind
specialists have been handed an amazing 14 point advantage after
just two days racing!

No doubt the discard that comes into play tomorrow will shuffle the
pack but before I go, I have one more remarkable fact to reveal and
it's this

Alessandra Sensini [ITA] who has won four medals in consecutive
Olympic Games went out and snatched first place in the race of the
day and please note that was done in the light air. We are still two
years away from the Games in London so a lot could still happen but
this surely is a warning to anyone who dares suggest that she cannot
medal again in Weymouth.

More light wind tomorrow. Then 15knots is predicted for he lay day.
Nothing unusual in having a nice breeze on the rest day whilst we
are confined to the shore but it does not make it any easier for
the racers to bare (sic)...


It is interesting to see the performance of the light wind specialists as they take the early lead. However, a few sailors with great all-around performance are also near the top, most notably top Polish sailor Piotr Myszka in the men's fleet. The third day's racing should bring some additional surprises. The weather is looking a bit different, so hopefully we will see some pressure early.

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