Light winds plagued the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship on day five yesterday 19/7/06

Light winds plagued the Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship on day five yesterday, with most of the sailors waiting for the fickle breeze to fill in outside the breakwater. When the breeze filled in, the RS:X class started the first of two races in front of the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy.

After a few hours of postponements, frustrated sailors were finally sent out and races kicked off in ten knots of dying breeze. The wind slowly dropped leaving the 420 and Hobie Cat 16’s floating around the course. The young Laser and Laser Radial sailors finally got their start but eventually the race was abandoned, resulting in mixed feelings across the fleet.

In the 420 fleet, the leading ladies, Belinda Kerl and Chelsea Hall from Australia, were hoping for a good result. Despite their 12-point lead, they still know that the championship is far from over. The giggly twosome who finished in second commented: “Today was tricky, firstly it was tactical but then it turned into a float off and I suppose we floated quicker. There were definitely two groups in the race and it was a shame that when the wind died, the back of the fleet bunched up towards the front. It could have been very lucky.”

The surprise result of the day was a win by the Hungarian ladies, Reka Karacsony and Nora Loidl, a result that pulled them up four places to 13th overall. The ecstatic girls put it down to tactical sailing and watching for the zephyrs on the water. “We used everything we had to sail in the little breeze we had. We are enjoying the event but would have liked to have been doing better.”

The Israeli 420 girls, Tal Geva and Mia Lebel, were relegated to third by the Spanish. Geva confirmed just how difficult the conditions were today. “It was a tough day – with wind, then no wind. We managed a good finish in seventh place and we are kind of pleased with that result. We were second and hope to have two good days racing as we want a top three finish.” Lebel confirmed that all they would like “Is more wind, please!”

In the boys’ 420 fleet, the Israeli leaders were overtaken by both the Irish team and Argentina’s Sebastian Peri Brusa and Santiago Massseroni. Despite not finishing the race, due to lack of time the Argentineans still clawed their way up the board. “We didn’t have a very good day but somehow we are in first, now we have a discard. Looking forward to the next two days, we’ll see if we can keep it up!”

The Irish 420 team in second were in good spirits. Helmsman Tuathal Mac Colgan and crew Peter Duggan described the condition: “There was a bit more breeze at the start, but it died on the last run. We tried to hold our position by reading the patches where the breeze was filling in. We had to keep our heads out of the boat nearly all the time.” Tuathal added: “We lost a few places towards the end, overlaid the mark, got yellow flagged and had to do a 720 and finished ninth. We are looking for a top three place, we have been pretty consistent so far, but some breeze would be nice!”

In the Hobie Cat 16’s, some teams did not manage to finish within the time period and the breeze turned the fleet inside out. The top placed boat British sailors Tom Phipps and Richard Glover, only placed in fifth, which is their worst result at the event. Both sailors found the conditions shifty, making it hard to stay in control: “We tried to cover the fleet as best we could and we tried hard not to fall out the back of the fleet. We were happy to finish ahead of our nearest rivals, the Singaporeans, and the fifth place we did achieve will be our discard. We were relieved there was only one race today in the conditions, as it could have been anyone’s race.”

Looking towards the next two days of racing, they both said: “We would like more breeze, from a consistent direction and we intend to make sure we stay at the front of the fleet.”

The Italian, Laura Linares repeated her consistent performance in the RS:X fleet, with another one, two to add to her score card. Her two discards are simple thirds, demonstrating the 16 year-old’s talent. She came third in last year’s Youth Worlds in Korea so is looking to swap that bronze to a gold. Fourth placed Wiebke Sradnick from Kiel, Germany and Linares found themselves left behind in the second race falling from top five to last when the wind ran out on them. But the girls persevered and pumped their way back up the fleet.

The seemingly unbeatable Polish windsurfer, Lukasz Grodzicki left the others behind with two wins giving him a 10-point advantage. Meanwhile the Italian Fabian Heidegger and Frenchman Pierre Le Coq battled it out a little too fiercely, causing a port-starboard incident that later got taken to the jury room. Tension built shore side and after much deliberation from the international jury both competitors were later thrown out of the race, giving fourth placed British windsurfer Richard Hamilton a good chance to move into a medal position over the next two days.

In the afternoon, HRH The Princess Royal, joined the young sailors on the water and watched the racing with keen eyes. Later she met the RS:X sailors, most of whom were excited but nervous to meet royalty in such a relaxed and friendly manner.