Double Delight For Saskia Sills
Saturday 14 July 2012
The Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships got off to a tricky start for the 350 crews of 14-19 year olds from 61 nations.
Dublin Bay threw up a surprising mix of light to moderate winds, 4-15 knots, with shifts and gusts as clouds passed over, allowing the occasional glimpse of sunshine through.
The stand-out opening day performance came from Britain’s Saskia Sills, who scored two first place finishes in the Women’s RS:X sailboard. The result came as something of a shock for the Cornish sailor who only moved into the RS:X in September, but who has since been Under 17 World Champion, finishing third at the European Championship last week. “I was hoping for top 10 finishes, but I stuck to my process goals and they worked,” she said of this regatta. “We have a long way left and I don’t want to get too comfortable. I just want to take it as it comes and deal with it day by day.”
Sills was pleased with her starts and in both she led off the line, pumped “really hard” to maintain her position and then remained alert to the wind, which she describes as “quite strange”, ranging from 4 to as much as 15 knots in gusts.
With almost as good an opening day performance was Norway’s Line Flem Höst who scored a 2-1 in the Laser Radial Girls. Höst has only sailed the Radial since last autumn, but graduated up from the 4.7 so is very familiar with the basic boat.
“I’ve sailed against a lot of these sailors before and they’ve all beat me and I’ve beat them as well, but I didn’t really expect it to go this well,” admitted Höst. “It’s an amazing start and I’m really really happy. It was really really shifty and the wind increases and decreases a lot, so it was hard to keep all the boats behind me. It is hard conditions for sailing and of course for the race committee to do a good organisation.”
While Höst is six points ahead of Israel’s Oren Jacob in the Laser Radial Men, Tobias Hemdorff from Denmark leads with a 3-7 today, four points ahead of Russia’s Maxim Nikolaev.
One of the most intriguing results is in the SL16 catamaran where after two races Belgium’s Henri Demesmaeker and Philip Hendrickx are tied on four points with Australia’s mixed crew of Paul Darmanin and Lucy Copeland. Demesmaeker, aged 14, is the youngest sailor at the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships and leads despite having only teamed up with Hendrickx to sail this event and having sailed the SL16 for the first time only very recently.
While the Aussies the first race won by a substantial margin, so the Belgium crew also achieved this in the second. “We were first at the top mark and especially under spinnaker – we are by far the lightest team, so under spinnaker we always gain…” said Demesmaeker of their secret weapon.
With Lucy Copeland sailing her first Youth Worlds and Darmanin his third (now a helm, he won gold as a crew at the Youth Worlds in 2010), the mixed Australian crew may be contemplating the Olympic Games in Rio 2016 when they may have a chance to represent their country in the new Nacra 17 mixed multihull. “It’s on the horizons I guess. The Youth Worlds are our focus at the moment,” says Darmanin.
After winning today’s first race when they led up the opening beat, Darmanin said in the second “we didn’t want to get too excited about it, so we just went through our processes at the start and got away well and came third.”
Successfully defending his title earned last year in Croatia, at this early stage of this Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships is Korea’s Wonwood Cho, whose 1-4 today leaves him four points in front of Argentina’s Bautista Saubidet. “It is a good result, but I am feeling bad,” said Cho. “My body is a little bit tired because pumping is very hard. So I am in a bit of pain.”
Of the host town of Dun Laoghaire, Cho says, “It looks good. It is a little bit cold, which is a problem, but it is beautiful and it has a wonderful view.”
In the 420 Men, France’s Guillaume Pirouelle and Valentin Sipan lead Spanish twins, David and Alex Charles, by a mere point. The Spanish crew’s scorecard is 6-1 after day one, in the latter rounding the weather mark third before picking off the two boats ahead of them. “We expected to do well, but we didn’t think we would be doing so well after the first day,” said helmsman David. The twins, who herald from Barcelona, finished second at Kiel Week this year. Their thoughts about the waters off Dun Laoghaire today were an understated “it was quite cloudy.”
The competition remains tightest at the top of the 420 Women’s class where five boats are tied on 11 points – between Israel, Italy, Singapore, China and France. Israeli crew Rimon Shoshan was shivering when she came off the water. “It was very cold at first. The sea was very choppy and we cannot get used to these sailing conditions, but otherwise it was fine.” She says she is impressed by the organisation of the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship, but is struggling with her boat – all the equipment at this event is supplied by the manufacturers while the sailors are typically more used to sailing their own boats.
Three more races are scheduled for tomorrow at the Four Star Pizza ISAF Youth Sailing World Championship when more wind is forecast with 15-16 knots out of west.