Day one of the RS21 World Championship has been filled with sunshine, light wind conditions, close racing and lively debate on tactics and tales of what might have been shared on shore. Competitors were challenged with tricky conditions which meant that success came down to focus and fine-tuning to be able to stay at the front of the fleet. The RS21 fleet continues to be a friendly and inclusive class, welcoming family team combinations and bringing together friends to enjoy a seriously good time on the water as well as the opportunity to mix with like-minded sailors in a relaxed, enjoyable environment.
The epic day on the water didn’t stop there. Competitors gathered together in the sailors hub to talk about tactics and strategy and think about how they will go into day two; supported by a coached debrief from Niall Myant. A notable and rather fun addition to the racing was the opportunity to use the amazing MarkSetBots, meaning the racecourse was made up entirely of remote-control electric marks. The friendly mark layers on the course were missed but using the electric marks significantly reduced the environmental impact and saved time in between racing.
With racing in the Vrgadski Kanal, the first beat in the first race was set at one mile, sailors had plenty of opportunities to make gains in their journey to the windward mark. While getting a clean start was important, the light and shifty conditions allowed everyone to make gains. The downwind legs were equally as challenging, with small variances in pressure making a big difference to the speeds and angles that the teams could achieve. Caipirinha, Martin Reintjes, second at the recent Italian Nationals, took a commanding lead in the first race at the first mark, but the other places were far from secure looking down the leaderboard.
With the pressure dropping on the course, PRO Marko Misura had faith that the wind would return and indeed after a short delay, racing was once again underway. The second race was right-hand favoured as the breeze trended right towards the end of the day. Beyond Freedom, Gianluca Grisoli, current Italian National Champion, took an early lead at the windward mark that they would never let go and the top Corinthian from race one, Hugh Watson, UK National Champion, had dug his way back towards the front throughout the first beat and did a great job to spot the right-hand shift on the run, jumping forward to second place. Both Grisoli and Watson held onto first and second until the end, with Martin Reintjes and his Caipirinha team taking third, to finish the day tied with Grisoli for the overnight lead.
Hugh Watson, helm of team GBR 211 and Corinthian Boat of the Day says, “Perfect conditions for our team today so we are pleased to have got some solid results. The next two days look very different with big winds but we will enjoy it whilst we can!”
Niall Myant, a high-level performance coach says, “It’s been a really hard day, not for any physical reason, but concentration and focus was the key. It’s a beautiful racecourse with a lot to look at, but ultimately, winning and losing came down to the fine adjustments on board to keep your speed up around the racecourse.”
Michiel Geerling, Commercial Director of RS Sailing commented, “Well done to the race committee for pulling two races out in fairly tricky, light conditions. In the end, it was exciting racing for everyone and it showed us which boats we need to beat.”
Today’s light winds will give way to a big breeze for day two ensuring sailors will get to compete in a variety of conditions to truly celebrate the skill and ability of the crews.