After day one the Ukrainian team is leading the Italian 18ft Skiff Grand Prix

The first four races of the 2004 Italian 18ft Skiff Grand Prix took place yesterday in a perfect 15-18kts on Lake Garda.

Spanish reigning world champion Iker Martinez / Xabi Fernander, fought it out at very close quarters with Norwegian pair Chris Sunby/Fronde Bovim, and Ukrainians Rodion Luka/ George Leonewek.

The lead bunch where often so tight that misplaced gybe angles coming into the finish determined who got what place at the finish, only in one race did the Spanish get a jump, often they where leading but always they were defending. The crews where having so much fun that after race 3, the Norwegians and Spanish continued blasting off down wind after the finish, so much so that this missed race four.

At the request of the ISAF Events’ committee the race format has been changed so that going into the final day’s sailing, the first two race will be with the top 20 qualifiers, after race 3, all the places from 20th – 4th will be declared and the top three performers will have their scores zeroed and race each other until one boat has scored two first places, at which point he will be declared the winner. The final races (minimum of 2, maximum of 4) will be on very short tight courses. This should lead to some intense and exciting racing, and will ensure that the overall winner wins the last race.

Results (after day one)

1 Ukraine 2,2,4,1

2 Spain (Padroni) 4,6,5,2

3 France 5,4,2,9

4 Portugal 6,7,6,5

5 Spain (Martinez) 1,1,3,DNC

6 Norway 3,3,1,DNC

7 Japan, 8 Italy (Vacondio)

9 GBR (Coates)

10 Norway (Zahre)