Winstanley best RYA/Team GBR sailor as four British girls qualify for Gold Fleet in Vilamoura, Portugal

Life could have been made easier for the girls of RYA/Team GBR, but an unsettled offshore breeze once more blowing off Vilamoura in Portugal made for some major, critical windshifts as the 138 strong Women’s fleet vied to make the cut into the top 70 for the Gold Fleet at the Europe class World Championships for the Olympic singlehander.

It proved to be another frustrating day as large changes in wind direction punctuated the races, and the race organisers chose to run only one race today, the sixth of the series. With the wind varying in strength across the course the first race proved a big let down and an insight into the standard of race management at the championships so far.

A change of course was not signalled properly when a new weather mark was laid during the first heat, and the race was abandoned while RYA/Team GBR’s Kirsty Bonar lay second and her compatriot Amanda Simpson fourth.

Debbie Winstanley went on to score the best result of the day for the British contingent, to lead a probable complement of four girls into the top fleet for the final two days of racing.

The Scot recovered from a third ranked start to fight from the early 20s on the first round to rescue a morale boosting 14th place. After the OCS which was widely thought to have been her fate from Tuesday’s second race actually emerged as a 23rd she qualifies comfortably and is pitching for a good top 20 finish in the fleet.

“I was pleased to come back after a not very good start today, so now I’ll just have to see what I can do in the next couple of days, but I am fairly happy with my results so far,” admitted Winstanley.

In the other of the two girls fleets Bonar (Rutland, Leicester) recovered her composure after her first race dejection and matched Winstanley’s 14th.

“Overall so far there have been some encouraging signs but the biggest disappointment has been the standard of race organisation, which for a World Championships is not good. Some of the girls have not made it easy for themselves and it has been a difficult place to sail, but we have had some good results so far. Now they have a day off and will come back refreshed for the final phase.” RYA/Team GBR’s Europe class coach Mark Barron said.

Results: Europe World Championships – Day 4, Race 6:

Blue Fleet:

1, N Garriga Turon (ESP)

2, M Coleman (IRL)

3, F Beal (SUI)

Yellow Fleet:

1, C Petzke (GER)

2, C Smidova (CZE)

3, S Livbjerg (DEN)