In the Byte CII World Championships, Finland's Niki Blassar finished with two firsts and a second today to pull herself 12 points clear of second place Ling Ying Koh of Singapore. The first two races were sailed in 12 -14 knots but, just before the start of the third and last race, the wind started to fade and the race ended in 5 - 6 knots. While she was not as dominant in the third race, her second place finish will not have left any misconceptions! Eva Paternelj, Slovenia, the first reserve qualifier in the Europeans, sits in third spot.
A female competitor sails into the starting area after the men’s fleet get off their start line under a black flag and against the spectacular Cannes skyline.
The Yacht Club de Cannes reporter caught up with Niki after the race.
An Interview with Niki Blassar, Women’s leader after day one.
YCC: Hello Niki. With two firsts and a second today, you must be quite happy!
Niki Blassar - Byte CII World Championships 2010
Niki: Sure, very happy. I had a very good boat speed and I found the race, tactically, quite easy as the left side was definitely stronger in all three races.
YCC: You seem to be a very good size for the boat. Does that mean that you have good speed in all wind conditions?
Niki: Actually, I find I slow down a bit in the light wind so I have to try to open up the rig for more power and use very little Cunningham.
YCC: What boats have you been sailing before you started to qualify for the Youth Olympic Games.
Niki: I had very good results with the 4.7 but I find it is very underpowered. I find the Byte much more challenging and it is fun to sail.
YCC: Has Finland qualified for the Youth Olympics yet and, if so, are you selected to go?
Niki: Yes. Both of us, myself and Kaarle Tapper, qualified Finland in the men’s and women’s divisions in the European Championships in Imperia and we have both been selected to go to Singapore. We are now training together.
YCC: Good luck in Singapore to both of you!
Editor’s note: Kaarle is standing third after the first day’s racing. The top ten female finishers are shown below.
Byte CII Worlds 2010 - Top 10 Female
In the men's Division, World Champion Darren Choy of Singapore was the most consistent on the day and opened up a modest six point lead on Ian Barrows from the US Virgin Islands. This may well be a fore-runner to the rest of the week as Ian was the lowest point finisher in all the Continental Qualifiers when he won the NA and Caribbean Qualifier in the Cayman Islands last month.
Not all that far behind are Kaarle Tapper FIN and Marco Benini ITA, both of whom qualified their countries in the Europeans. Only a point further back is Owen Siese - much to the delight of the Bermudans in the spectator fleet! Bermuda is already qualified but have not picked their sailor and the same is true for Italy.
Byte CII Worlds 2010 - Top 10 Male
Country qualifying positions after three races. Top six will qualify based on their final results.
Male: UKR, SLO, POR, SUI, MON, DOM, // TUR, FRA, POR, LTU, POL
Female: SLO, DEN, GER, ITA, UKR, ESP // SUI, MON, RUS, SMR
Click here for full results