The the first day of the 420 world championship produced some close racing, setting the scene for the week-long event at Hayling Island

After the men’s flights had cleared the way, the International 420 Ladies World Championship commenced in perfect sailing weather at Hayling Island SC yesterday. With an ideal breeze of Force 3-4, a slight swell and beautiful sunshine, Junior European and National British Champions Charlotte Savage and Maia Walsh showed their experience and exploited their knowledge of the Hayling Island water, leading from the start. They held off a strong challenge from German pair Dorothea Gebert and Natascha Lorenz to win. A number of other likely competitors also emerged at this stage, with many of the ladies enjoying the ideal conditions.

Gebert and Lorenz had their revenge in the second race, leading from the start and securing a conclusive victory with Savage and Walsh down in 8th. American pair E. Leigh Kempton and Kaitlin Storck chased them throughout the race and finished 2nd ahead of British pair Joanna Brigg and Jane Turner and Italian team Carolina Mariani and Camilla Gabrielli, who had an excellent races to come 3rd and 4th. Virginia Morales Paez and Elena Barambio Hurtaoo of Spain also performed well to take their second successive 5th place.

In the final race of the day, the top three pairs reasserted their dominance, Savage and Walsh leading at the windward mark. Paez and Hurtaoo battled it out with Gebert and Lorenz to take 2nd. These three pairs have already stamped their authority on the championship, Germany leading overnight from Great Britain, whose 8th place has proved costly for the time being. Spain are a close 3rd ahead of consistent British pair Joanne Macdonald and Laurie Marsden. The large British team are making the most of their home advantage in the early stages with six boats in the top fifteen, but with a good spread of results, the contest for the top places looks set to be hotly contested.