Eyes wide open on day one of iQFOiL Europeans

The iQFOiL European Championships in Patras, Greece, got underway yesterday in solid 20-25 knot winds, making it a big opening day for the athletes.

“It was a solid day of racing in over 20 knots on the waters of Patras to start the event, with the race committee doing an excellent job of getting four races completed,” said Australian Sailing Team iQFOiL Coach Arthur Brett. “The Aussies enjoyed riding to their limits in the chopped-up water and challenging conditions.

“Grae Morris is the best placed Australian in 16th place, with Harry Joyner in 32nd. These results are good to get locked away and provide a reasonable foundation for the regatta ahead with stronger winds expected tomorrow.”

For Morris it was all about focusing on the challenging conditions, minimising risk and negotiating the sea state.

“With what we saw today, the wind was straight down the channel, meaning the mountains weren’t having that much effect,” said Morris. “This meant a nice clean breeze coming straight down the course, reducing a lot of the tactical side of it and leaving it as pretty much a speed race – who was the fastest in the chop.”

With the key to all championships locking in a solid opening day, Morris was happy with his day one performance and will now look to build on that momentum.

“Out towards the middle it was pretty choppy, so you bring it back down to doing the simple things – eyes wide open and watch how things are unfolding around you. Qualifying is all about that, getting it done and then looking forward to the next day.”

For Australian Sailing Squad athlete Samantha Costin it was a day of working with the conditions plus managing the fleet, and the challenges they created.

“With these trapezoid courses we saw some seriously big gusts at the top of the course. We had two fleets going at the same time so there were some massive reaches,” said Costin. “During racing one of the bottom marks shifted and was lost which meant we didn’t have a bottom gate, just a bottom mark which made it a soldier’s course which is very uncommon at international regattas.”

With stronger than expected conditions for day one of the European Championships, Costin went with a conservative approach in her equipment choice and race strategy.

“On the first day of an event you are looking for keepers, and so it was all about making it around the course in good shape. At certain points you were battling the fleet and at other points you were battling the wind. For many athletes the equipment choice was whatever could get you around the course the quickest, and would also not see you not crash out with.”

Day two of racing will commence at Midday local time, you can track the full results on the event website.

Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and other Australian (AUS) entries:

iQFOiL Men – Yellow Fleet – 14 races (two drops)

16th Grae Morris (ASS) 11, (12), 4, 7 = 22

94th Jack Marquardt (AUS) (VIS) 45, 42, 44, (50) = 131

iQFOiL Men – Blue Fleet – 14 races (two drops)

32nd Harry Joyner (ASS) (34), 16, 11, 16 = 43

66th Steve Allen (ASS) 28, (40), 35, 26 = 89

iQFOiL Women – Yellow Fleet – 14 races (two drops)

69th Samantha Costin (ASS) (QAS) 31, (39), 32, 32 = 95

Words by Blue Robinson.

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