GBR sailors Natasha Sturges and Nick Dempsey have both made a steady start to the Mistral world championships

The Mistral world championships got underway on Sunday at Cesme, Turkey and RYA Team GBR sailors Natasha Sturges and Nick Dempsey both made a steady start to the championships.

In the women’s fleet 59 boats are racing and the event has attracted many of the best Mistral sailors in the world. With the Olympic Games just over four months away the competition is really getting tough and this event is no exception, attracting past world and European champions as well as a number of Olympic champions.

The first day saw two races completed and Great Britain’s Natasha Sturges scored a second and an 11th, which placed her fourth overall at this early stage in the regatta. The top three has three Olympians battling is out, with Alessandra Sensini of Italy currently leading the fleet from Lai Shan Lee of Hong Kong and Barbara Kendall of New Zealand, who finished runner up at the worlds last year, is currently placed third.

With 99 competitors, the men’s fleet has been split into two groups and is currently being led by Nicola Huguet of France who put in a great performance on the first day, scoring two first places. Fellow countryman Julien Bontemps is second with the 2003 world champion, Przemek Miarczynski of Poland, currently lying in third place overall. Team GBR sailor Nick Dempsey, who finished sixth at the world championships last year, put in a consistent performance to score a seventh and a fourth, and is currently places tenth.

A total of 12 races are scheduled for the event which concludes on the 17 April and the week looks set for top competition as the average wind speed for the race area at this time of the year is 10-18 knots and the air temperature is 18-20 degrees Celsius.

Results (day 1)

Women

1, Alessandra Sensini, ITA (1,1) 2 pts

2, Lai Shan Lee, HKG (7,2) 9 pts

3, Barbara Kendall, NZL (4,8) 12 pts

GBR

4, Natasha Sturges (2,11) 13 pts

33, Bryony Shaw (30,30) 60 pts

Men

1, Nicola Huguet, FRA (1,1) 2 pts

2, Julien Bontemps, FRA (4,1) 5 pts

3, Przemek Miarczynski, POL (3,2) 5 pts

GBR

10, Nick Dempsey (7,4) 11 pts

71, Leo McCallin (39,31) 70 pts

79, Adam Pepelasis (43,34) 77 pts