Nearly 200 competitors are contesting the Splash and Flash world championships at Weymouth this week

Sunday marked the first day of sailing in the Splash world and Flash Eurocup championships being held at Weymouth and Portland sailing academy this week, officially opened by RYA Racing Manager, John Derbyshire.

Conditions could hardly have been better with wall to wall sunshine and a Force 2-3 to greet the competitors onto the water in portland Harbour for the practice race.

A total of 194 boats are competing from nine different nations from as far away as New Zealand. Other nations represented are USA, Poland, Greece, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden and a 22-strong contingent from the UK.

The practice races in both classes, underlined the current dominance of the Dutch competitors who took the top three places in both sections. Last year’s World Champion, Erwin Veldman (NED), now too old for the Splash, continued his winning ways by taking second place in the Flash class.

Monday was the first of two days of fleet selection races for the Splashes and the start of the championship racing for the Flashes. Again, the sun smiled on the competitors, but a fickle westerly delayed the start until the sea breeze settled into the south-west for the sailing in Weymouth Bay. Ideal conditions continued throughout the day, building from 10-15 mph as the day progressed.

The USA team went over the top with their support boats with two US Navy fleet support vessels anchored nearby!

In the Splashes, from the beginning, it was obvious there were some over-enthusiastic starters in the fleet and the Black Flag was immediately imposed. The finishing times highlighted the competitive nature of the fleet when no more than 10 minutes separated first and last finishers.

Karel Wagner (NED) came out on top over the three races, recording a first and two thirds, followed by Michiel van der Meulen with 1, 2 and 6, then Jeop van der Doodeward with 2,3,4.

Andrew Friend was the highest placed UK entrant in 28th (157).

In the Flash fleet, last year’s world champion, Erwin Veldman (NED) stamped his authority on the the day with three straight wins. Raul Gonzalez (ESP) was lying second at the end of the day with 2,4,5 followed by Erwin’s brother Staphan with 2.3.11. Ben Bainbridge from the UK put in a consistent performance to end the day 23rd.

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