White out hits day four of ILCA Europeans

A white out and another six-hour day on the Black Sea meant race officials were only able to squeeze in one race each for the Laser and Radial classes at the ILCA European Championships in Varna, Bulgaria overnight.

Both fleets spent hours out on the water in rain-driven shifts, but after that lone race the race committee were forced to abandon the day after one last strong squall passed through the course.

“We basically got a bit of a white out and couldn’t see anymore,” coach Ryan Palk shared. “The visibility dropped right out. In the end it wasn’t safe for the race committee to hold us out there, so they had to send us in.”

Zac Littlewood and Mara Stransky bounced back from their Black Flag penalties yesterday, finishing 4th in the Laser and Radial classes respectively.

A sailor hiking out just as they finish a tack. The fleet of different tacks behind them.
Only one race was sailed on day four of the ILCA European Championships. Pic – regate.com.hr – Flash Back

“There are some unwanted letters on the scorecard, but such is sailing,” Stransky said. “I’m enjoying the chance to practice bouncing back now though.”

The 22-year-old Olympian is currently sitting in 17th place. “So far the week has been pretty up and down with some fun sailing,” Stransky continued. “The conditions have been quite windy and very shifty with decent sized skewed waves.”

After 18-months away from international racing because of travel restrictions, the Australian sailors are being reminded about the unpredictability of fleet racing.

An Aussie female sailor sailing downwind, bow is up. Fleet follows.
For many of the Australian sailors, this is their first international event in 18 months. Pic – regate.com.hr – Flash Back

This is testing both their patience and fitness. From the coach boat Palk has already observed “some tired looking faces amongst the fleet.”

With only one race squeezed in amongst the rain today, “It’s probably going to mean a very big day and a big test for the guys physically tomorrow after what has been a very long and cold week.” Palk said.

A GBR and Aussie sailor over the peak of a wave.
In the Men’s Laser, Finn Alexander is coming 15th overall after getting his best result of the regatta so far. Pic – Pic – regate.com.hr – Flash Back

Sydney based Laser sailor Finn Alexander is happy with how he is handling the long and challenging days on the water.  

“It has been a very tricky week so far, but I am starting to get more consistency in decision making,” Alexander said. “Today was the first day of the gold fleet racing so it was good to get a solid keeper under the belt.”

Two more days of racing remain. As only six races have been completed for the Laser men and seven for the Radial fleet the race committee will be under pressure to fire off the three races scheduled tomorrow.

View the full results here: https://eurilca.org/2021-senior-europeans-results/

Australian Sailing Team (AST), and Australian Sailing Squad (ASS)  entries:

Laser (115 Boats)

7th Luke Elliott (AST) – 2, 6, 1, 8, 2, (23)

10th Zac Littlewood (ASS) – 8, 14, 6, (BFD), 4

15th Finn Alexander (ASS) – 17, 19, 5, (31), 4, 15

36th Ethan McAullay (ASS) – (25), 6, 10, 17, 22, 49

Laser Radial (78 Boats)

17th Mara Stransky (AST) – 4, 21, 41, 26, (BFD), 13, 4

18th Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) – (38), 28. 4, 18, 7, 26, 26

23rd Zoe Thomson (ASS) – 30, 25, (35), 10, 11, 46, 23  

29th Casey Imeneo (ASS) – (40), 33, 15, 24, 37, 28, 17

By Lisa Darmanin

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