[photos: Robert Hajduk]
In the Laser Standard class, it was the first day of the finals series. So the sailors have been split into gold and silver fleets for the last three scheduled days of racing. The Radial fleet continues as they have been sailing, with little separation in the standings near the top.
And in the conditions faced by the sailors, what might seem like a comfortable lead can evaporate very quickly. That was nowhere more evident than in today’s results. Coming ashore, almost everyone, when asked how their day went, said “Mixed” or “Ok and Bad”. Tomás Pires de Lima summed it up: “Conditions were very difficult. It was pretty random out there.”
In the first race of the day, all three fleets managed to get started on the first try, with perhaps only one or two sailors being disqualified for being on the course side.
With an oscillating breeze shifting left, the Standard gold fleet bunched up at the pin end, with only a handful of sailors staking out a claim on the start line near the committee boat. A further shift to the left after start sent everyone quickly on to port tack. Then it was a cat and mouse game with sailors trying to catch the shifts as the could. But there seemed to be no pattern. Combining that with uneven pressure across the course meant it was exceedingly tricky to get the right call. “It’s kind of a roll of the dice out there. It will definitely be a high scoring regatta.”
The wind fell off a bit on the outer course, and the big question was where it might fill back in first. If you took your chances with the left side, you were sorely disappointed with the outcome. That’s the kind of day it was. Overall leader Philipp Loewe had his worst race of the series so far with a 23 to close out the afternoon. But it could have been worse. Many competitors had a pair of scores on the day like 52 and 4 or 14 and 63.
Most of the sailors near the top of the standings had at least one decent result, minimizing the damage. But there were a few sailors who made enough fortunate calls to end up with fairly remarkable results. Caelin Winchcombe (Australia) had a terrific day, winning the first race and finishing second in the other, while Henry Marshall (USA) finished just ahead of Winchcombe to win that second race following a 7th place finish in the first, moving him up to 6th in the overall standings.
In the Radial fleet, there was a similar pattern as the men but, where they had a little more wind on the inner course, the results weren’t quite so extreme. Overall leader Anna Munch (Denmark), for example, finished 38 and 12 in the two race. And Zoe Thomson (Australia), followed a 28 in the first race with a 6 in the second race, moving her into first place, tied on points with Italy’s Carolina Albano.
Problems didn’t only come from the difficulty of reading the wind. Louise Cervera (France) was on starboard when a port tack boat got caught up in her mainsheet! “I was up at the front of the fleet and became tangled up with an Australian boat and dragged away from the mark, losing something like 30 boats! She made back some of those places, but it certainly cost some points in an event where every point seems to matter.
Lola Moreira (Uruguay) had the best performance on the day in the Radial fleet, winning the first race and managing a 7th in the second race, bringing her into 6th place overall. Poland’s Magdalena Kwasna won the day’s second race to move into the top 10.
There is still very little separation at the top and it is likely going to come down to who makes the fewest mistakes to win an Under-21 World Championship in 2018.
Top 5 Provisional Results after Day 4
1. Zoe Thomson, Australia (42)
2. Carolina Albano, Italy (42)
3. Anna Munch, Denmark (44)
4. Elyse Ainsworth, Australia (47)
5. Caroline Rosmo, Norway (57)
1. Philipp Loewe, Germany (29)
2. Liam, Glynn, Ireland (43)
3. Jakub Rodziewicz, Poland (45)
4. Caelin Winchcombe, Australia (56)
5. Kirill Evfimevski, Russian Federation (63)