Big swell off the Suyong Bay in Korea today delayed the fourth day's racing at the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship

Despite an early delay due to the breaking swell which was guarding the twin entrances to the marina and the poor, very hazy visibility racing stayed right on schedule at the 35th Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championships on Suyong Bay, Busan today.

With the most wind of the championships yet, 8-12 knots, at times there were opportunities for those who have been praying for more breeze to prove their mettle. The swell, a product of a tropical storm which has been hitting south-east Asia, presented another new dimension on the three race course areas.

With just one race scheduled for the final day, Friday, and all fleets reaching the required nine race threshold to allow for their second worst score to be discarded, then the new champions are starting to emerge.

In the girls 420 Class Marie Lumeau and Claire Bossard now have aggregated only nine points from nine races after winning the second race today to give themselves a handy 16 points lead over the USA’s Megen Magill and Briana Provancha. An eighth or better from any of the last three scheduled races would clinch the gold for them.

Their astute percentage sailing paid off, as it did for the Americans, in the first race. They started alongside each other in the middle of the line and played the middle of the first leg, which meant they did not suffer too much when most of the fleet overstood the windward mark which was hard to see in the haze.

The American pair rounded the windward mark in 11th and gained eight places with a punchy first downwind leg when they flew a solo mission down the right flank of the run and were rewarded with third at the first leeward turn. “It was really difficult to see the mark but we were not too bad and then just figured we needed to split from everyone and give something a try. I was doubting myself at times but then we just told ourselves to think positive and just concentrate on going fast and it paid off.” Grinned helmsman Megan Magill, “But generally we have loved it here. It is really challenging sailing. It is not easy because the current is quite confusing, but perhaps not as confusing today.”

The US duo’s 3,3 for the day keeps them two points ahead of Britain’s third placed Hannah Mills and Peggy Webster whose 8th, and 2nd leaves them locked on 27points with Brazil’s Mariana Basilio and Gabriel Biekarck.

In the Mistral Boys, Poland’s Lukasz Grodzicki may have relinquished his chances of matching his compatriot Kamil Lewandowski’s unblemished string of wins last year when he won gold on home waters, but Grodzicki’s pair of second places today means that he too has a grip on the title, needing only a tenth from any of the last three races in the 17 strong fleet.

As the French crew and the Polish windsurfer got to within touching distance of their titles today, the pressure increased even more in several of the other classes.

In the Girls Laser Radial Class the meteoric rise of China’s Xu Lijia continued as the ninth race now means she sheds both of the OCSs which she had been punished with in consecutive races Sunday and Monday, but returning a second and a seemingly easy first in the second race of the day elevates her to second only six points behind the USA’s hottest medal favourite Paige Railey.

Railey is still on track for her second overall girls’ singlehander title, with no counting score worse than second at the moment, but an OCS in the second race did nothing to relieve the building tension.

If there has been a dominant force in the Laser Radial in recent years it has been Railey, but Shang Hai based Xu Lijia finished only her tenth ever day in a Laser Radial ever today and it yielded a second and a first.

“My coach told me that the first thing I should do is learn to sail the boat, so I did not expect to do so well. I lost USA (Railey) in the first race and was a bit disappointed with that, but overall I am very relaxed and am under no pressure. I have been top girl in China in the Europe but I find the Laser Radial hard hiking and getting used to. I have good tactical sailing from team racing in the Optimist.” Explained Xu, who will not swap from the Europe to the Laser Radial until the end of this year, after China’s National Games. A pair of fifth places today keep Britain’s Alison Young in third overall.

“It was certainly not bad for me today. The tide was a big influence today but the swell was nice and it was good to be fully hiked out. It has been a good regatta so far in terms of the range of conditions we have had. It has been vital to get good starts and make gains through getting into good lanes of clear wind.”

The balance swung in the Laser Boys class where RYA Team GBR’s Giles Scott’s second and a fourth was enough to give him the overall lead in the 36 boat fleet, the regatta’s biggest class. Scott now has four points in hand over the Netherlands’ erstwhile leader Rutger van Schaardenburg.

“I had a mixed day but I am feeling OK about it.” Said van Schaardenburg, “He was just quicker than me today. Simple as that. And you needed to make good starts today and I didn’t. Top three was my goal here but I did not really know what to expect here because I did not really know who I would be sailing against.”

“Tide was one of the big factors to watch because I think we are on to spring tides today and I was able use that to good effect in the first race because a lot of guys over-stood the mark and I was able to tack under them and come up underneath them.” Commented Scott who is on course to retain for Britain the Laser Boys’ title which was won by Nick Thompson last year in Poland.

“I try not to think about how I have been doing because it would be unnecessary pressure, so I just don’t. I’ll just keep doing what I have been doing, keep it the same. I like this championship because you are forced to think for yourself because the coaches have less influence on the water. But it gives you a lot of confidence to know that if you are up there in British terms then you will do well worldwide.”

Results (Day 4 standings after 9 races including 2 discards)

Mistral Girls: 1. BM Dominguez (ESP) 11 pts, 2. AS Le Page (FRA) 15 pts, 3. L Linares (ITA) 16 pts, 4. M Davidovich (ISR) 17 pts, 5. C Chun (CHN) 31 points

Mistral Boys: 1. L Grodzicki (POL) 8 pts, 2. P Lecoq (FRA) 23 points, 3. J.Moreno (ESP) 23 pts, 4. A Sofroniou (CYP) 29 pts, 5. N Mashiah (ISR) 30 pts

420 Girls: 1. M Lumeau, C Bossard (FRA) 9 pts, 2. M Magill, B Provancha (USA) 25 pts, 3. H Mills, P Webster (GBR) 27 pts, 4. M Basilio, G Biekarck (BRA) 27 pts, 5. S Flukes, E Flukes (AUS) 43 pts

420 Boys: 1. WC Teo, T Koh (SIN) 20 pts, 2. W Saito, H Yoshinaga (JPN) 27 points, 3. T Mallindine, J Clark (GBR) 34 pts, 5. T. Silva, F Gomes (POR) 43 pts

Hobie 16: 1. J Villion, M Bataille (FRA) 18 pts 2. E Walker, E Langford (AUS) 18 points, 3. T Phipps, J Cook (GBR) 20 pts, 4. JI Maegli, AC Guirola (GUA) 23 points, 5. V Bissaro, L Lejari (ITA) 27 pts

Laser Boys: 1. G.Scott (GBR) 24 pts, 2. R Van Schaardenburg (NED) 28 pts, 3. JB Bernaz (FRA) 29 pts, 4. B McLay (NZL) 31 pts, 5. R Weber (USA) 42 pts

Laser Girls: 1. P Railey (USA) 9 points, 2. X Lijia (CHN) 15 pts, 3. A. Young (GBR) 31 pts, 4. T Mihelic (CRO) 37 points, 5. AH Lindberg (DEN) 44 points