The beautiful town of Cesme welcomed the 2014 RS:X European and Youth Championships and Open Trophy that started today. One of the most popular holiday resorts in Turkey, Cesme has gathered the top windsurfers from across the world to compete at the Championship - the third Continental Championship of 2014.
The popularity and success of the Championship is evident from the number of athletes competing. 39 nations are represented, with 81 men and 52 women in the senior division and 67 boys and 27 girls in the youth division - for a total of 227 competitors from all 6 continents. So the bar will be set high this year for those athletes with an ambition to get their hands on the medals.
Out on the racecourse, conditions were ideal for the opening day of racing. The wind increased to 16 knots, and the boards planed over the choppy waves of the Aegean Sea. The course area for the senior fleet was located further out in the gulf, with youths racing closer to the yacht club for enhanced safety.
In the men's fleet, it was a Polish domination, with former World and European Champion Piotr Myszka claiming a hat trick perfect score of 3 bullets in the green group, while his teammates, world Champion Przemyslaw Miarczynski and youth world champion Pawel Tarnowski shared bullets in the purple group.
Reigning European Champion Byron Kokkalanis was the only one who managed to break their domination and snatch a bullet in the opening race of the purple group.
In the youth girls fleet it was the Israeli Tibi Shahar that matched Myszka's performance and took victory in all three races. The 2013 European Champion under 17 years of age has left in second place the French Malle Guilbaud, bronze medallist in 2013 Youth Worlds, while Imogen Sills from Great Britain is following close in third.
After the men and youth women had wrapped up with three races it was time for the women and youth men to take their place in the two course areas.
British Bryony Shaw had a steady performance that put her in the leading spot, but is soon to tell with another four racing days to follow. Polish Maja Dziarnowska is on equal points with gold Olympic medallist Marina Alabau from Spain, while the defending European Champion Charline Picon from France fell back on the scoreboard after a black flag disqualification during the last race.
Finally in the Youth Men Polish windsurfer Radoslaw Furmanski had some close battles with Artiom Javadav from Belarus but it's Furmanski that is currently on the top spot with Javadav in second and Yoav Omer from Israel in third.
Tomorrow is the final day of the qualification series for men and boys. With a light wind forecast, all is at stake to make the cut. Stay tuned
Here you can view the video from day 1: http://youtu.be/Cm9G4_72z4w