by Richard Crockett
A sunny, windy day greeted sailors on the second day of the Optimist World Championships 2017, setting the stage for a day of perfect racing conditions with a dramatic ending sure to remembered for years to come.
White caps offshore of the Royal Varuna Yacht Club heralded winds of 15 to 18 knots that lasted through the day. As Local Race Officer Neil Dunkley put it, “Bigger wind sailors are going to have their day today.”
He also warned that the wind might soften at the end of the day, but, as the last fleet finished its second race, the wind suddenly gained strength, a freak storm rolling in with little warning, sending Optimists speeding over large waves in torrential rain on their way home.
All fleets did finish their two scheduled races, which was what was most important to coaches and sailors alike going into the final day before fleet splits. Hopes were the stronger wind would overcome the difficult starting sequence seen on the first day of qualification trials when a strong current pushed many sailors over the line. Several fleets did experience general recalls on Friday, however, with 18 competitors black flagged on restarts. While such may have dashed the hopes of a few aspiring to make the gold fleet, it was a great day of sailing for others.
Coaches from South Africa and New Zealand coaches were not flustered. “This is what we are used to,” said one of the wild weather at day end, which was followed by a spectacular sunset.
When results were released late Friday evening, it was clear stronger winds led to a shakeup at the top of the fleet, only four repeats on the leaderboard of the top ten from the first day of racing.
There is one more day of qualifying races are scheduled before sailors will be split into gold, silver and bronze fleets based on rankings. At that time, the battle for the four trophies on offer will
heat up at the world youth regatta, which sees a record-breaking 281 entries from 62 countries this year.
RSA Overall Results
234 Alex Falcon
244 Matt Ashwell
250 Jared Tyler
268 Karl Hofmeyr
276 Chiara Fruet
Johan Hofmeyr sent a report on the RSA team from Thailand. Here’s the edited report:
The team so far seem happy and hopefully they make a lot of new friends. The tension is starting to show, but as a team, they get along very well and that is always a good sign. They are challenged by local conditions and sailing is a 30 minute tow by RIB away. Wind has been light so far. Currents on the start line will be the real challenge.
We see a lot of different sails, Optimax, North Sails and then the is the “1” sail a new sail designed by the coach of Malta and Austria. According to the German coach a good sail for the heavier sailor and easier to trim. To trim the J-Sail is apparently a challenge, obviously the sailor also makes a difference.
So far the kids are focused on sailing. From a technical side we are learning and stealing with the eyes. See the Germans have two rings, one closer to the boom and one not. Light wind and high wind positions. Fabrizio is writing it down and will share. Heavier sailors sometimes sail with Mark iv or Mark iv mast and boom and black gold spar.
According to tide chart we will have current pushing boats away and on second race current will push it into starting line, many sailors find this difficult and we hope for edge and that Langebaan training pays off.
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