Adelaide, Australia – The opening day of the 2024 ILCA Masters Worlds in Adelaide threw up a few challenges. Adelaide brought some sweltering conditions, delaying the afternoon breeze by a few hours.
A hot northwestern wind filled in early in the day. However, with an unstable direction and a forecasted shift to the southwest, the race committee decided to hold sailors ashore and wait for a steady breeze.
Thankfully, a 5-10 knot southwesterly settled in just after 3:00 pm local time, and all fleets on both the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 courses were able to get their first two races completed.
Sailors have traveled from across the world to this regatta, with more than 220 competitors representing 20 different countries. Many are enjoying the climate, hospitality, and off-water atmosphere Adelaide has to offer.
Samoan ILCA 6 sailor Vai Ripley said Adelaide had been a great venue to relax off the water.
“I’ve been told Adelaide is really well known for its wines. I haven’t got there yet, but the (event) organizers have organized a wine tour for our lay day. I think we’re expecting a bit of a mixed bag with light winds and then picking up throughout the week,” she said.
“Being part of the Masters Worlds, I feel like I’m all-knowing, even though I’m an Apprentice. So I’m really glad for the opportunity to be here with some really top-class sailors in their prime.”
New Zealand ILCA 7 sailor Luke Deegan, who has been in Adelaide for all ILCA regattas this summer, said it had been a really great venue for ILCA sailors.
“We got a little bit of training in Adelaide last year, did the Aussie nationals, and then did the senior Worlds here, so I’ve been here for a little while now, probably longer than anyone else here at this regatta,” he said.
“I’m pretty lazy when it comes to doing anything as a tourist, but there’s some great plunge pools just down the road from where I’m staying in Glenelg, great for recovery, great days at the beach. Today was interesting, nice and shifty, and then I think the next five or six days could be an absolute hike off, so that’s what I’m expecting.”
On the race course, a number of sailors are already starting to assert their dominance in their respective divisions as the first two races are put on the scoreboard.
In the ILCA 6 Apprentice division, Tokyo 2020 Olympian Svenja Weger from Germany leads the way with two race wins, while in the ILCA 7 Apprentice division, it was New Zealand’s Luke Deegan who also had a flawless start with two firsts.
In the Masters fleet, it was Australia’s Simon Small finishing the first day atop the ILCA 6 leaderboard with a first and second-place finish, while Australia’s Christoph Bottoni took two race wins to lead the ILCA 7 Masters fleet.
The Grand Masters fleet, the biggest of the regatta, has Ireland’s Sean Craig in the lead of the ILCA 6 fleet with two fourth-place finishes, while Australia’s Brett Beyer leads the ILCA 7 fleet with second and first place on the leaderboard.
In the Great Grand Masters division, Great Britain’s Terry Scutcher leads the way in the ILCA 6 with two race wins in the light conditions, while his fellow countryman Tim Law finishes Day 1 in front on the ILCA 7 course with a second and first place scorecard.
William Symes from the United States took two race wins in the Legends ILCA 6 fleet in the 19-strong fleet to lead after Day 1 and set himself up for a great regatta.
There is a forecast for strong winds over the next few days, which will surely bring some thrilling conditions for the fleet.
Text by: Harry Fisher, Down Under Sail / Edited by ILCA
Photos by: Jack Fletcher, Down Under Sail