2023 29er World Championships Day 1 – More fresh than frightening

‘Full on, fruity, but steady conditions’ was the word from David Campbell-James, the PRO today leading the racing in Portland Harbour. With consistent direction and average wind speeds of 20-23 knots, the yellow and blue fleets launched, managing a single race on the Harbour course before increasing gusts sent all fleets home for a quiet Sunday afternoon to rest and recover for tomorrow!

Australia and Netherlands lead on equal points into Day 2
‘More fresh than frightening’ was the sentiment from Australian team of Ben Craaford and Jakob Marks who were very happy to get their first race win in Yellow fleet under their belts in the challenging conditions ‘good fresh conditions, we like this stuff from back home in Australia, so we really feel at home today’.

Zeb Van Dorst and Yannick Van Den Akker from the Netherlands also enjoyed the conditionsin Blue fleet, ‘we won because it was good wind, perfect wind for us – so a good start with good first upwind, some mistakes, but in the end we came out on top’. At 64 and 73 kilos they enjoy the windy conditions, sharing their top tips for the 29er in windy weather ‘keep it simple, dont gybe and tack too much’, and with only two gybes the whole day they certainly led by example.

2022 Men’s World Champion Maximo Videla (Argentina) with new partner Juan Cruz Albamonte took second place in the Yellow fleet with Irish siblings Clementine and Nathan Van Steenberge taking second place in Blue and currently sitting in the top spot for the Open fleet prize.

Clementine from IRL 22 on the day, ‘difficult conditions, today was all about speed, we had a good start and did our thing’, ‘there was quite a nasty chop so on the downwind you had to watch out not to get your bow in’. Offering their top tips for the day Nathan shared, ‘the most important thing was keeping the boat upright as much as possible, get around the course and you’ll do well – gybes are probably the trickiest bit today, just focus on getting the boom across and worry about the kite after.’

Top Women’s teams today were Slovenian team Alja Petric and Caterina Sedmak with Swedish teammates Tea Zeeberg and Cornelia Widestam close behind, but with only one race competed for two of four fleets and a big day forecast tomorrow in continuing strong breeze, this is just the start if an action packed week ahead.

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