Mara Stransky best in light air at ILCA European Champs

Conditions continued light and shifty at the ILCA European Championships in Andora, Italy, where an attempt at a race in the ILCA 7 (Men’s) was abandoned and just one race in the ILCA 6 (Women’s) completed, with Mara Stransky the best performed of the Australians.

A fleet of 112 in the ILCA 6 was split into two and Stransky, who represented Australia at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, ended her day in sixth place.

“The weather’s been a bit tricky for organisers to predict. They moved the start from morning to 1pm, thinking we would get a better breeze in the afternoon, but it ended up being better this morning,” Stransky said.

“When we first went out, it was quite a decent 8-10 knots from the north-east and we were able to hike, but it became a bit unstable as it died down.”

The Queenslander found the light airs to her liking: “I think my physicality suits light weather. I love light air sailing,” she said. “I was a bit worried though, as we hadn’t sailed in light conditions for quite a while, it’s all been in big winds, but today went OK.”

Ticking off the first race of her first competition in Europe this season, Stransky said, “ It’s pretty exciting to get back into racing in Europe. Day 1 is the day you’re a bit nervous, but I feel like I got the hardest race out of the way in decent shape.

“Everyone is eager and we’re a bit rusty, but I think we (the Australian ILCA 6 squad) had a good first day. I think the other fleet had some dramas though, because the robotic marks started to move during the race,” she explained.

Zoe Thomson (204568) and Elyse Ainsworth (222150) on the race course - Thom Touw pic
Zoe Thomson (204568) and Elyse Ainsworth (222150) on the race course – Thom Touw pic

The jury report stated that 12 boats rounded the robotic mark before it motored itself about 200m upwind, making the race unfair for all. As a result, half of the ILCA 6 fleet have DNCs on their score card and they will re-sail Race 1.

Meanwhile, an attempt was made to hold a race in the ILCA 7 (Men’s). Tokyo Olympic gold medallist, Matt Wearn, won the only race yesterday and like the rest of the field, took to the water for Race 2 today.

“One attempted, nothing completed,” Wearn said. “They pushed the start time back to 1pm. We went out on time, but by the time we got into a race, it did what it was forecast to do, shift and then die out. It’s a bit frustrating, but it’s to be expected at this time of year.

“Tomorrow (Tuesday local time) is our best chance for racing out of the six days. The better breeze is predicted for the afternoon. Fingers crossed we can get three races in,” added the West Australian, who is in the familiarisation stage of the new Element 6 Evolution ILCA boats.

“We haven’t done much in the boats this year. The quality of them is good though, as we’ve come to expect from Element 6,” he said of the approved class builder.

“We’re all looking forward to more racing with the new boats, but at this early stage, they feel fast,” he commented.

There are six Australian men representing in the Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) competing in the ILCA 7 class and four women in the ILCA 6.

Organised by Circolo Nautico Andora (CNA) and EurILCA, the ILCA Europeans conclude on Friday 17 March local time.

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) results and overall placings:

ILCA 7 (186 entries) – 1 race

1st Matt Wearn (AST) 1 point

7th Ethan McAullay (ASS) 3

25th Finn Alexander (ASS) 9

49th Luke Elliott (ASS) 17

64th Zac Littlewood (ASS) 22

153rd Stefan Elliott-Shircore (ASF) 52

ILCA 6 (112 entries) – 1 race

11th Mara Stranksy (ASS) 6 points

21st Zoe Thomson (AST) 11

29th Casey Imeneo (ASS) 15

35th Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) 18

For entry list and to follow the regatta, including full results, go to: https://2023-senior.eurilca-europeans.org/#

By Di Pearson/AST media

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