Fremantle Doctor tests crews at 420 Worlds on Day One

Fremantle turned on another brisk day today with breezes at the upper limit allowed by 420 class rules. The result was predictable, with many crews struggling to cope with the fresh conditions and big waves. “We are happy about the results but we know we can go faster in these conditions “ said Antoni Massanet, who finished fifth in the Blue fleet today. His skipper Carlos Balaguer added: “ The conditions were really difficult because it was strong wind and the waves are difficult as they are different to Spain.”

Fresh from their victory in the female 470’s in Sail Sydney, Nia Jerwood and Monique de Vries made a perfect start to their campaign with victory in both the first two races. They also finished second in the Junior 470 Worlds, and so have the talent to go all the way. Showing the benefit of a home ground advantage, the first three places in both races were filled by Australian crews, Victorians Laura Harding and Eleanor Grimshaw taking a second and a third to be well in contention after their win in last week’s Nationals.

The large numbers in the Open Fleet saw the separated randomly into two groups, designated Yellow and Blue and although two races were run, the first was abandoned after one of the course marks breaking free.

Victory in the second race of the Yellow Fleet went to Chris Charlwood and Josh Dawson, who would be delighted that the first race was dropped after finishing twelfth across the line. The French team of Enzo Balanger and Gaultier Tallieu were next and were very strong in the abandoned race also. First in the Blue Fleet were Spain’s Enrique and Pablo Lujan, followed by compatriots Eduard Ferrer and Carlos de Maqua.

Overseas entries dominate the Under 17 fleet. Germany’s Florian and Maximilian Buscher loved the heavy going, showing enormous boat speed to charge to victory in both races. Italians Tommaso Salvetta and Giovanni Sandrini were next with second and third placings, followed by countrymen Tommaso Cilli and Bruno Mantero with a second and a fourth. Spain’s Pol and Alex Marsans are not far behind either, promising some interesting competition during the remainder of the regatta.

It was a difficult day for the sailors. Some have never had the opportunity to sail in these conditions and were surprised at the size of the waves. Many lighter crews were stretched beyond their ability to keep their boats upright and there were many capsizes, keeping safety boats busy during the afternoon.

There was an incident resulting in minor injury today, when a boat became entangled in an anchor line after hitting a rounding mark, and then being struck by a following boat which was unable to avoid a collision. The two crew were returned safely to shore, one receiving first aid, confident of being back on the start line tomorrow.

Weather for tomorrow should be somewhat lighter, so competition will be interesting. For full results see: http://2017worlds.420sailing.org/en/default/races/race-resultsall

– Bernie Kaaks

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