The ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships are progressing into the second phase on Dublin Bay in Ireland and after a well-earned layday, the mounting pressure has clearly had an effect today in a number of classes. With two races sailed in very different conditions, the possibility of a completely dry day was scuppered by a huge late afternoon cloudburst.
That particularly malicious cloud not only drenched the 343 competitors from 61 different nations, coaches, race organisers and volunteers ashore, but it also dragged the direction of the breeze around and made tactical choices less than straightforward.
But two of the most consistent pairs of the day were Barcelona's 420 crew David and Alex Charles and their club mates and compatriots Carlos Robles and Florian Trittel in the 29er class
The Catalan 420 crew ramped up their title challenge with a second and a first to bring them within five points of the 36pts aggregate which is now shared by both first and second placed crews
The French duo Guilluame Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan have been the class act, leading so far, but a bad start in the second, light winds race resulted in a 12th place and they now find themselves embroiled in what looks now increasingly like a three way battle for the 420 Boys title, 'In the first race we had a good start but in the second we were slow off the line. We tried to get back into it but the conditions were difficult.'
Piroulle, the helm, recalled, 'There was not much wind and very big shifts. And the first boats were able to get away. We have to fight, it is not over and we have to get back on top.'
But the momentum today was very much with the Spanish 420 brothers, 'The first race we got some luck but in general we got all the gusts and the shifts as we should. I think we sailed really well, we had more luck today,' commented David Charles. 'It is so different to Barcelona but this is a nice place to sail. We are feeling good, we are now sailing well together and will just keep fighting through to the end of the last day.'
That Spanish initiative was also prevalent in the 29er class where the 420 duo's club-mates Robles and Trittel stuck to the same first principles - heads out the boat, watching the best shifts and puffs - to reap two back to back wins to now lead the 29er fleet by three clear points.
Spain’s Florian Trittel in the 29er skiff class at the ISAF Youth World Sailing Championships sponsored by Four Star Pizza on Dublin Bay, Ireland - © David Branigan - ISAF
'It is a very complicated place to sail. I think so far the thing for us is that we have made less mistakes than others and we plan to keep it like that,' revealed Robles.
The pressure to take more risks in search of higher rewards was evident in the very close Laser Radial Boys' class where a rash of Black Flag disqualifications were a salutary punishment for those who pushed the line too hard too early.
Class leader Mitchell Kiss was a key transgressor in the first race, but the US Sailing Team's development sailor was able to bounce back with an excellent third in the second heat of the day to ensure his lead remains a useful 11 points going into the last three scheduled races.
Kiss attributes some of his improvements to training with US Olympic representative Paige Railey, including a spell at the Olympic venue - which if nothing else has acclimatised him for this regatta, 'That is my discard spent. It is going to be tough from here but I will just be out doing my best,' Kiss commented.
'We have done a lot of sailing with Paige in Florida, in Weymouth in the Spring - where it was like this - and then in Texas. That has helped my speed especially downwind. She is so good, and it kind of sucks getting beat by a girl, but I definitely want to get to the Olympics. But seeing how she works is a great insight into how hard you have to work, how hard you have to push your body.'
That same fate affected Ireland's young Finn Lynch who moved up to eighth overall in Laser Radial class also with a BFD and third for the day.
By most accounts today's conditions were the most difficult yet. Runaway RS:X Girls leader Great Britain's Saskia Sills admitted she had perhaps made her racing more complicated than it needed to be, but in spite of her worst finish of the week so far, she is still 22 points clear of Israel's second placed Naomi Cohen.
Korea's defending RS:X Boys Youth World champion Cho Wonwoo admitted he too had his most difficult day of the regatta so far, with a seventh and first, now being pressed hard by the young Italian Mattia Camboni who relished the lighter conditions to land a first and second, now just two points behind the windsurfer who won in Croatia last year.
The 420 Girls class is also poised for the final two days when light winds are forecast. Coached here by past Youth World Champion and Olympic 470 gold medallist Tessa Parkinson, Australia's Carrie Smith and Ella Clark took on board sage advice from their coach to rally to a second after a disappointing 10th in the first race today. Smith and Clark lead by three points from second and four to third.
'It was so tricky,' said Clark, 'Everyone is so good in this fleet that you just have to stay consistent and to be top 10 in every race is good enough.
'Tessa was just telling us to keep smiling because we are going well, to keep our heads out the boat and see what is going, it is changing all the time and to be ready for it.'
Racing resumes tomorrow at 12:00 local time.
ISAF Youth Worlds website
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7:43 PM Wed 18 Jul 2012GMT
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