Karatsu, Japan turned on another great day of sailing for the first day of the Gold and Silver fleet racing in the World Laser Radial Women Championship.
It was a warm, cloudy day with 12 – 15 knots, consistent NNE winds and a half metre chop. The course moved slightly west today to counter the apparent right hand advantage. With some port end bias, the fleet was more spread down the line today at start time and all starts were clear. However there were still some who banged the right hand corner today, not necessarily with good effect.
In the first race of the gold fleet, race 7, Evi van Acker rounded mark 1 first ahead of Annalise Murphy from Ireland. Sari Multala from Finland came from behind with some good downwind sailing to finish in first place ahead of Anna Tunnicliffe in second, Evi third and Annalise in fourth. Overnight leader Lijia Xu from China did not have a good race but came second in race 8 and now lies in 4th place overall. Marit Bouwmeester from the Nederlands used the conditions well to lead race 8 from start to finish. Provisional results now have Sari Multalia from Finland in first place on 24 points, followed by Anna Tunnicliffe from USA on 25 points and Sophie de Turckheim of France in 3rd on 34 points.
In the silver fleet Ashley Stoddart from Australia had a very convincing win in race 7, leading from start to finish. Wakako Tabata from Japan sailed well to finish second. Ashley’s 4th place in race 8 has given her the lead in the silver fleet on a count back from Laura Maers from Belgium. Race 8 was won by Claire Dennis from USA who improved from 5th at the first mark with Fanny Le Sausse from France in second.
The organization for the Laser Radial Worlds has been superb. The tireless event organizer, Takao Otani, with his welcoming smile, has brought the local team together to ensure that there is great racing and that competitors and officials have the opportunity to experience Japanese culture. Last night everyone was invited to Karatsu Castle for a traditional tea ceremony and other activities. Many of the sailors and officials were dressed in a yukata kimono, which they are allowed to keep, and two sailors entered in the fashion display. Karatsu Castle is an impressive structure built on a hill that overlooks the city and the racing area. The view from the top is amazing. Tonight is the midweek party at the venue.