The European heatwave has made its present felt, with very hot sun and temperatures, and quite a long wait today for the wind to finally show itself and allow the 87 O’pen Skiff sailors registered for the 2019 O’pen Skiff European Championships to get out on the water, after yesterday’s flat-wind practice day, and finally enjoy some perfect racing conditions.
Sunny skies and a 9 – 10 knot wind that filled in during the afternoon allowed the race committee to run 3 races in each fleet (they could have run more but there is a 12 race maximum and the forecast is good…) on this first day of serious action.
Inspired by the history, location and sheer size of the festival, the O’pen Skiff fleet delivered a day of close-fought racing that has inevitably lead to an early leader board starting to take shape, with three more days of intense racing still to come.
Seven countries are represented here, together with the honorary European Ben Tapper (all the way from Manly, New Zealand), hosts Germany, along with France, Italy and Poland sending the biggest teams.
In the U17 class the top five includes four different countries, a great demonstration of how O’pen Skiff levels the playing field for all. Winner of the two Eurochallenge events Manuel de Felice (Italy) is once again in first place, but he’s trailed very closely by Kacper Bak (Poland), with Nonnis Leonardo (Italy), Ben Tapper (New Zealand) and Balasz P Szolomayer (Hungary) poised for any mistake by the leading pair. Tipaine Rideau (France), bronze medallist in Manly at the World Championships earlier this year is in the U17 fleet now currently in 7th place, hoping to improve on that by Sunday.
Meanwhile in U13, it’s a Poland-Italy split for the top five places with Fedrico Quaranta (Italy) holding the narrowest of leads going into the second day of racing.
Conditions should be similar tomorrow, before the heatwave breaks up and we hopefully get something a little friskier, and a little less hot, as we move towards the business end of the sailing week.