The Junior U23 World Championship for 49er and FX sailors has kicked off at Travemünder Woche in Germany, and the first day of racing has brought forth some consistent performances from emerging top sailors. With the offshore winds proving to be shifty and tricky, the competitors faced challenges, but some managed to excel and grab the early lead.
The 56 49er teams started the regatta in split fleets. For eighteen-year-old, Richard Schultheis (MLT) it was a dream start along with new crew Yoenn Bertinn. They began the day with a third-place finish and then improved each race to score a second and a first to take the overall lead, giving them a solid start to the championship. Richard is the younger brother of the Schultheis sisters, who were leading the European Championship in 2021 until quite late in the regatta, a talented sailing family.
In second after a 2, 4, 2 day are Jack Fergusson and Jack Hilderbrand (AUS). Fergusson finished the 2022 Junior Worlds with Silver, and leads a large contingent of Aussie sailors again in 2023.
In fifth place are Sebastian Menzies and George Lee Rush (NZL). The pair dominated the 49erFX fleet last year winning 11 of 15 races, and now find themselves near the top of the 49er fleet sitting in fifth overall.
In the FX fleet, the French sailors Peyre and Stamminger grabbed two of three victories in their half of the split fleet to lead the FX. They’re showing vast improvement from their 19th-place finish in 2022. Peyre comes from the ILCA boats as a youth and in teaming up with Stamminger have formed a partnership at a critical time for French sailing as the country makes a major push for the Paris Olympic regatta next year.
Chasing them are the Polish duo of Czaspka and Rajchert in fourth overall. The outgoing pair finished with silver medals in 2022 but were surprised by their day 1 performance having only sailed 10 days so far in 2023 with helm Czaspka recovering from a foot injury for much of the season so far.
As the regatta progresses, sailors from various 27 countries will intensify their efforts to climb up the leaderboard. The tricky offshore winds are likely to keep challenging their skills and decision-making, making each race an opportunity for improvement or setback.
With the level of competition reaching new heights, the Junior U23 World Championship promises to be a spectacle of top-notch sailing talent. Spectators can look forward to witnessing intense rivalries and thrilling maneuvers as these young athletes battle it out on the waves, and even up the river here in Travermunde.
Stay tuned to International 49er Class Association » 2023 Junior World Championship at Travemunder Woche for updates, detailed race reports, and in-depth analysis as the championship unfolds. With several more days of racing ahead, anything can happen, and the stage is set for a captivating showcase of sailing excellence and sportsmanship.
Ruben and Rita Booth, children of legendary multihull sailor Mitch Booth, grab a pair of victories after a second-place start to open the 2023 Junior Worlds with a bang. The Booths find themselves in an interesting position only 12 months out from the Paris 2024 Olympics as Australian standout helm Jason Waterhouse recently announced his retirement from Nacra 17 sailing opening up Olympic opportunities for the large Australian squad. Indeed, it is their fellow countrymen, Gargett and Hoffman who sit in second place so far.
The Nacra 17 fleet is racing away from the 49er Fleet this week as they join the Nacra 15 European Championship in Belgium to share some multihull love. Both championships are record sizes, with 20 Nacra 17 racing at the Junior level and 70 Nacra 15 at the Youth level.
Claesens and van Rosse (BEL) round out the top three and represent the next generation of competitors from the low countries who have flocked into the Nacra 17 in recent years. With the small changes to the boat since Tokyo allows much foiling upwind and the overall robustness of the platform much improved, it appears Nacra 17 could be on a path to serious growth.
Italian multihull sailing at the elite levels is just incredible, with three recent championship teams at pinnacle events. they are not resting, however, as the next generation of Italian Multihull talent is on display.
Link to the 49er Racing. and results.
25.07.2023 by Ben Remocker