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High stakes on eve of RS:X World Championship

by 2019 RS:X Torbole 24 Sep 2019 02:57 PDT 24-28 September 2019
High stakes on eve of RS:X World Championship © Robert Hajduk - RS:X Class

The Italians have a special name for the wind for almost every direction on Lake Garda, but they don't have a name for the teasing, light, swirling and drizzle infused breeze that lingered over Torbole for most of Monday.

With a practice race scheduled, today was supposed to be the final test session for the 245 competitors, before racing beings in earnest for the 2019 RS:X World Championships tomorrow. However, the weather had other plans and instead teased the race committee who had to abandon their plans for a practice race.

As the Circollo Surf Torbole club is filling up with hundreds of RS:X boards, sails, masts and other equipment ahead of the World Championship, there is also a growing expectation for the week ahead and the hope for better conditions to race in. For different competitors, this event represents different challenges and each sailor has set themselves different goals.

For some, this event is about the World Title, taking home the gold medal and being able to call themselves the World Champion, an important accolade as the RS:X Class heads into the final year. This championship will certainly give the winners a boost over their rivals as Olympic gold looms just over the horizon - but is rapidly approaching.

For others, its about beating compatriots as well as getting as high up the leader board as possible. This event represents a sailor selection event for qualified countries - where the country has already booked its place in Tokyo, but the country needs to determine the best sailor to represent them. This pits friends against friends, team mate and against team mate and can really bring out the most competitive streak in a sailor. There are a number of teams facing the challenge of managing the inter-team rivalry whilst keeping a focus on the racing around them.

For the countries that have not yet qualified, there are eight men's fleet spots and 9 women's fleets spots up for grabs at this event. Sailors will be hoping that the distractions ahead of them will allow them to sneak their way up the fleet and get into a position to qualify their country. Of those countries seeking selection, in the men's fleet there is Korea, Switzerland, Belarus and New Zealand who will be hoping to qualify. In the women's fleet Turkey, Peru, Greece and Brazil are hoping to qualify through this event.

Finally, this World Championship is a chance for rising stars to impress and improve at the highest level and against the best sailors in the world. The Under 21 fleet for the event is massive in both men and women with a smattering of ex-Youth Olympic Champions, Youth World Champions and Youth European Champions eager to get into the final series of races in a good position.

Today, the battles begin across all fleets with three races scheduled for the 130 men and for the 106 women. The women's fleet is the biggest that the RS:X class have ever had in its history and is a great showcase for women's Olympic sport for World Sailing. Due to the forecast for light winds, racing has been pushed forward for an 0800 start (local time), which means sailors will need to be getting ready from 0630 onwards - a very early start for some!

All racing will be tracked from Wednesday onwards which means the battles of the 2019 RS:X World Championships can be played out in front of you on your computer screen.

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