After yesterday’s special dinner aboard the 4-masted historic ship, The Passat, the fleet were out on the water again today for some more hard-fought but fun and fair racing. With six races already in the bag for both fleets, the Race Committee gave them an easy day, two rounds each, leaving Saturday and Sunday to complete the target of twelve races in each fleet to decide our 2019 European O’pen Skiff Champions.
Splendid conditions again in Travemuende today, with wind up to 15 knots and some bigger waves. That has shaken up the leader boards a little, some of the competitors more used to flat conditions, it will have been an important lesson for them and they will be better sailors for it. But the rougher conditions did little to rough up the gold medal candidates, who hold on to their leads moving into the end-game.
Forza Italia, with Federico Quaranta and Manuel de Felice leading their respective U13 and U17 rankings. But where Federico is far enough ahead to have a risk-free weekend, Manuel will sleep less easily with a small lead over his team mate Nonnis Leonardo, closely followed by the honorary European from down under Ben Tapper. With four rounds still to come, anything can happen, it should be a great weekend.
Today’s other main happening, alongside the EC racing, has been a special event one-off contest between the U17s and U13s, to see if bigger really is better.
The top U13s from each country raced off, with the top 3 qualifying for a final against…. the top 3 qualifiers from a similar elimination for the U17s. All this down in town, with the biggest possible crowd to cheer them on. A great showcase for the class and the kids. And who do you think might have won the final? Age before beauty? Experience over eagerness? The French boys; Matteo Fatti (U17) and Sam Duflos (U13) finished first and second respectfully, but the real winner was O’pen Skiff itself.
O’pen Bic, as it was, has proved such an incredible success around the world, but today was the day to officially change the name to “O’pen Skiff”, and hopefully to take the class to yet another level. Tonight’s O’pen Bic/O’pen Skiff General Assembly unanimously provided the rubber stamp needed for the next leap forwards for this, the most dynamic sailing class in youth sailing today.