[photos: Robert Hajduk]
Partly cloudy skies and 8 – 11 knots on the course area provided good racing conditions for the last day of the qualifying series and all fleets completed the slate of scheduled races, though some fleets took quite a bit longer than others.
For racing group “A”, which included the two girls fleets and the green fleet of boys, occasional adjustments to the starting line and course axes had to be made, but most of the wind shifts were transient and moderate, giving attentive sailors who make the right decisions opportunities to make gains over the other competitors.
There was a substantial and lasting shift to the right during the final downwind leg of the last girls’ blue fleet race, turning it into somewhat of a broad reach, but the order of finishers had been well established by that point.
Racing group “B” (three fleets of boys) had quite a bit more difficulty getting in their races, as the second start of the boys blue fleet was plagued by numerous recalls (three under black flag!) as well as other delays involving the need to reset the start line and re-orient the course axis. I don’t know if six start attempts is a record, but it was pretty remarkable.
Ece Aysa Ikizler of Turkey, had a pretty rough day on the water: “During the start, I ended up with a sailor who came in underneath me and pushed me into tacking and I couldn’t get back below the line so I ended up with a BFD, which is probably only the second time I have ever had one! Then in the second race, I got a yellow flag.” In spite of today’s difficulties, she has sailed well enough to join the gold fleet tomorrow.
Flo Nicholls (GBR) is another sailor struggling with the conditions. “I’m pretty disappointed. I was coming in to the Championship with the idea of doing quite well. I had finished as the top Under-16 sailor at the 2108 European Championships, but it has been very rough so far.”
For both sailors, tomorrow is another day, another opportunity to have a good race and working to climb up a little bit in the overall standings.
Not everyone is struggling here. Chiara Benini Floriani of Italy finished 2nd and 1st for her two races today and after discarding a 23 (now that four or more races have been completed), to move into the overall lead, displacing Simone Chen (Singapore) who is three points back with 11 and tied with two other sailors also at 11 points: Croatian Ursula Balas and Italian Giorgia Cingolani.
The overall leader in the boys’ division, Won Kye Lee from Singapore, had another outstanding day with two more first place finishes in the yellow fleet. “Before each race I would check the pressure on each side of the course and try to figure out where the wind strength was and basically sail that side of the course.” That strategy plus good boat speed was certainly a winning combination.
As well as Won Kye Lee has sailed, he is far from alone in having great results in the first five races. He sits just four points ahead of Michael Compton (Australia), six ahead of Sergey Doroshenko (Russian Federation) and eight in front of Doruk Demircan (Turkey).
Going into the finals series, the Championship is obviously still wide open. The going will be a bit tougher in the gold fleets where all the top finishers will be competing starting tomorrow.
Top 5 Provisional Results after Day 3
Laser 4.7 Youth Girls
1. Chiara Benini Floriani, Italy (8)
2. Simone Chen, Singapore (11)
3. Ursala Balas, Croatia (11)
4. Giorgia Cingolani, Italy (11)
5. Eline Verstraelen Belgium (21)
Laser 4.7 Youth Boys
1. Wonn Kye Lee, Singapore (8)
2. Jordi Lladó Durán, Spain (12)
3. Doruk Demircan, Turkey (14)
4. Daniel Hung, Singapore (16)
5. Michael Compton, Australia (20)