Light winds again cause chaos at ISAF World Championships in Santander

It is just as well that Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen are the most laid-back sailors in the world. Almost anyone else would have been bashing their boat in frustration at the conditions they endured at the Santander ISAF World Championships today.

The wind was even lighter than yesterday, yet once again the sailors were sent out to bob around aimlessly while it fluctuated by up to 60 degrees at between two and three knots. The Finn, Nacra 17, 49er FX, RS:X and 470 men and women were all called out at around 2pm, to float around in the hot sun until the AP over A signal was finally hoisted at 5.30pm.

The 49er yellow fleet was sent out to sail two races, with the intention that blue fleet would then sail three and yellow would return for their third.

As it happened, only the first two yellow fleet races were possible and the first was cruel to the Australians.

Starting superbly at the pin end where the pressure was marginally better, they led the fleet halfway up the beat before a massive shift gave the advantage to the other side.

“In a 40 boat fleet, with all the congestion at the pin, by the time you get round everyone in front of you is gone,” Iain Jensen said.

The pair were able to fight back to 16th place, but it was poor reward for a dominant start. They fared better in the second race, finishing fourth after another fluky race where gains were made by luck rather than good management.

Fortunately most teams suffered a bad result in one or other of the races, so the Australians sit sixth in yellow fleet behind Austria, Russia, Croatia, India and Italy. But with more wind forecast for tomorrow, blue fleet will go out in more consistent conditions which should allow the top teams in that fleet to put two good results together. “That's sailing,” is the simplistic response, but in my opinion no racing should have been attempted in these conditions.

Like every other national sailing federation, Yachting Australia has Olympic places and future funding at stake here. Right now, they would probably have a better chance if results were drawn out of a hat…

– Roger McMillan in Santander

 See brief video catch-up with Nathan Outteridge post racing here:

See ISAF intro video with good shots of Santander here.

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