The 2013 RS:X European Windsurfing Championships, the RS:X Open Youth European Windsurfing Championships and the RS:One European Championships kicked off day one in superb sailing conditions of 15-17 knots, but less than ideal weather with rain sweeping across the race course at times during the day. The conditions invited the comment of, "It's just like Weymouth", home of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Competition and Olympic sailors for the past four years from coaches and sailors alike.
The schedule was split with the men taking to the water in the morning in both the RS:X senior and youth competition before the RS:X women and youth as well as the RS:One sailors taking to Brest harbour in the afternoon. The Race committees for both course areas set up quickly and efficiently and racing commenced at 1105 as advertised.
On the Men's course, split into two groups, current world champion Nick Dempsey showed his appetite to win his first European title with a 1,2,1 score line to top the leader-board. However, it is tight at the top with a host of past winners hounding him for his gold top with previous World and European champions all within a couple of point of Dempsey. Byron Kokkalanis of Greece is sitting in third place two points behind the leader with a score of 3,1,2. Byron has been a bridesmaid at this event coming home with the silver for the past three years and is hoping that this is fourth time lucky in this European Championship.
It is a case of the old guard taking charge for the men with the top ten being composed of seasoned campaigners but the results also show that there are some keen younger sailors chomping to get their time in the RS:X Class spotlight. Tom Squires (GBR) and Kiran Badloe (NED) are in 10th and 14th respectively and are showing their potential for Rio early on in this Olympic cycle.
When the Women came out to play in the afternoon the conditions had livened up a little with the turning of the tide creating a lumpier race course. Making the most of her loaded gun, Maja Dziarnowska from Poland fired off three race winning bullets and leads by a clear margin with a 12 point lead over her nearest rivals of Natalia Kosinska (NZL) and Flavia Tartaglini (ITA). Bryony Shaw (GBR) had a difficult second race with a 16th in race 2, but otherwise showed the consistency she has developed this year with two second places in the first and third races.
The Youth Boys results represent the world wide interest in the championships with Kerian Martin (GBR) leading the Europeans in second place being held off the lead by Bausista Saudibet of Argentina and being chased hard by Chun Ting Lee of Hong Kong on equal points just behind. Saudibet had a perfect scoreline of three race wins from his group with Martin and Lee also picking up a race win each. Local sailor Avel Danycan is holding local hopes high in fourth place just two points off second.
The Youth Girls event is looking to be a warm up for the upcoming ISAF Youth World Championships in Cyprus in a couple of week's time. Leading the form book is Saskia Sills (GBR), reigning ISAF Youth World Champion, and an ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year Nominee from 2012. Saskia scored two race wins followed by a fourth to hold six points, but has compatriot Noelle Finch chasing hard just one point behind in second place. Sahar Tibi from Israel rounds out the top three after taking the race win in the third race of the day.
Men and Women swap tomorrow with the ladies taking to the waters off Brest. Unfortunately they look to be scheduled the rain again in the morning before the clouds are forecast to clear for the men in the afternoon. Tomorrow racing wise is important as it is the final day of qualification before the Men, Women and Youth Men get split into Gold and Silver fleets following the reserve day on Thursday.