The opening day of the 2024 ILCA Masters Worlds in Adelaide threw up a few challenges, as Adelaide brought some sweltering conditions, delaying the afternoon breeze by a few hours.
Hot northwesterlies were on the menu early, however with unstable direction and a forecasted swing to the southwest, the race committee decided to hold sailors ashore and wait for a steady breeze.
Thankfully, a 5-10 knot southwesterly settled in just after 3:00PM local time and all fleets on both the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 courses were able to get their first two races in the bank.
Sailors have traveled from right across the world to this regatta with more than 220 competitors representing 20 different countries, and many of them enjoying the hospitality and off-water atmosphere Adelaide has to offer.
Samoan ILCA 6 sailor Vai Ripley said Adelaide had been a great venue to relax off the water.
“I’ve been told Adelaide is really well known for its wines, I haven’t got there yet but the (event) organisers have organised a wine tour for our lay day,” she said.
“I think we’re expecting a bit of a mixed bag with light winds and then picking up throughout the week.
“Being part of the Masters Worlds, I feel like I’m all-knowing, even though I’m an Apprentice so I’m really glad for the opportunity to be here with some really top-class sailors in their prime.”
New Zealand ILCA 7 sailor Luke Deegan, who has been in Adelaide for all ILCA regattas this summer, said it had been a really great venue for ILCA sailors.
“We got a little bit of training in Adelaide last year, did the Aussie nationals and then did the senior Worlds here, so I’ve been here for a little while now, probably longer than anyone else here at this regatta,” he said.
“I’m pretty lazy when it comes to doing anything as a tourist, but there’s some great plunge pools just down the road from where I’m staying in Glenelg, great for recovery, great days at the beach.
“Today was interesting, nice and shifty, and then I think the next five or six days could be an absolute hike off, so that’s what I’m expecting.”
On the race course, a number of sailors are already starting to assert their dominance in their respective divisions as the first two races are put on the scoreboard.
In the ILCA 6 Apprentice division, Tokyo 2020 Olympian Svenja Weger (GER) leads the way with two race wins, while in the ILCA 7 Apprentice division it was New Zealand’s Luke Deegan who also had a flawless start with two firsts.
In the Masters fleet, it was Australia’s Simon Small finishing the first day atop the ILCA 6 leaderboard with a 1,2 scorecard, while Australia’s Christoph Bottoni took two race wins to lead the ILCA 7 Masters fleet.
The Grand Masters fleet, the biggest of the regatta, sees Ireland’s Sean Craig in the lead of the ILCA 6 fleet with two fourths, while Australia’s Brett Beyer leads the ILCA 7 fleet with a 2,1 scorecard.
In the Great Grand Masters division, Great Britain’s Terry Scutcher leads the way in the ILCA 6 with two race wins in the light conditions, while his fellow countryman Tim Law finishes Day 1 in front on the ILCA 7 course with a 2,1 scorecard.
And in the Legends ILCA 6 fleet, American William Symes took two race wins in the 19-strong fleet to lead after Day 1 and set himself up for a great regatta.
There is set to be strong winds over the next few days, which will be sure to throw up some thrilling conditions, and result in some sore bodies, for the fleet.
For full results, and more information about the event, head to https://ilca2024adelaide.ilca-worlds.org/
Story author: Harry Fisher, Down Under Sail
Photo credit: Harry Fisher, Down Under Sail
Video credit: Jordan Roberts, Down Under Sail