Cadet World Championship, preview and day 1

Mon, 03/08/2015

Cadet sailors from across the globe were arriving in Riva del Garda throughout the last week in July for the 2015 International Cadet Class World Championships hosted by Fraglia dela Vela. Over 5 days of training and acclimatisation they got to enjoy Lake Garda’s legendary conditions, with the ‘Ora’, the local thermal wind arriving by lunchtime every day and provided perfect sailing conditions in this spectacular venue. Throughout the week the sailors practiced while their families holidayed ashore, with all looking forward to the first full day of the event, Saturday’s practice race and opening ceremony.
When Saturday arrived it brought with it the reminder that conditions are not always perfect here. A dull morning soon served up drizzle and a dying breeze, and after a delay ashore the World Championship and Promotional fleets launched into a very light breeze that refused to settle. This at least gave the beach crews a chance to practice getting over 200 hundred sailors onto the water without mishap but provided little in the way of decent sailing. The Practice Race itself lasted less than 10 minutes, and the abandonment was welcomed by sailors who were getting cold in the increasingly-heavy rain. Most had to be towed back to shore and were glad to reach the sanctuary of the covered balcony at the host club.

The Opening Ceremony, so often a highlight of the Cadet Worlds, had been planned to include a parade to the main town square, but the rain made this impossible and a reduced version was held at the club – still great fun and still a chance for the teams from around the world to renew friendships that began in Weymouth last year. The rain continued all evening, sending most to bed early in preparation for Sunday’s racing, but Riva still had one more surprise in store when, at 10.45pm, an earthquake woke many (some slept through it) and had those staying in the old town running out into the streets with the locals wondering what was going on!
It was with some relief that the sailors returned to the club on Sunday to find a warm, sunny and still day, with a building temperature that promised the usual afternoon breeze. Both fleets launched at 11.30 and buy the time they had sailed out to the race area the Ora had arrived to serve up an afternoon of champagne sailing. Race Officer Nick Hutton and his super-efficient team had the trapezoidal course set early, with the Worlds Fleet sailing on the outer loop and the Promotional Fleet on the inner.

Race 1 for both fleets got away without a recall, setting an extraordinary pattern for the day, with not a single or general recall needed throughout the afternoon, a great credit to the skill and discipline of these young sailors.
In the Worlds fleet it was GBR8846 Tom Collyer and Cara Bland who hit the front immediately, and they rounded the windward mark just ahead of a chasing pack of boats comprised of fellows Brits, Australians with the single boat from Ukraine showing great downwind speed to join them by the end of the reach. Three of these boats had got ahead of 8846 by the bottom of the course including AUS9531 Sam Abel and Hugh Allison and UKR9855 Yehor Samarin and Maksim Remez. These two had a great battle over the second loop with Abel/Allison coming out winners from the Ukrainian boat while AUS9427 Marty Hood and Jack O’Donnell came through for 3rd and GBR8514 Ed Harris and Anna Wootton sailed an excellent final leg to steal 4th. At a protest after racing Samarin and Remez were disqualified for a start-line incident, promoting Hood and O’Donnell to 2nd and Harris/Wootton into the final podium spot.

In Race 2 the strength in depth of the Australian team was clear as another boat, AUS9613 Angus Price and Archer Ibbott arrived first at the windward mark with a huge lead that they held for the remainder of the race. Behind them another great tussle developed between GBRs 8846 and 9985, and UKR9855 with GBR9983 Archie Penn and Hazel Whittle amongst the frontrunners again after their 7th in Race 1. On the second beat GBR9985 went left and found a big gain while GBR8846 showed better upwind speed than UKR9855 setting up a GBR battle for places 2 and 3 on the final legs. At the finish it was Harris/Harris by half a boat length from Collyer/Bland with Penn and Whittle close behind in 4th and Samarin/Remez 5th.

Race 3 followed quickly and once again it was GBR8846 Collyer/Bland who got off the line the quickest and led at the first mark. This time, however, they didn’t look back and despite much pressure from Samarin/Remez and Race 1 winners Abel and Allison they stayed ahead for a convincing win. Spectators were treated to a particularly thrilling drag race on the final reach as the Ukrainians went low and fast to almost level with Collyer/Bland but then broached trying to get back upwind for the final leeward mark, dropping to 6th place in the process. Collyer/Bland nailed the final beat to take the win with Abel/Allison following them over for 2nd, Penn/Whittle scoring an excellent 3rd, Race 1 podium scorers hood and O’Donnell finishing a solid day in 4th and Jamie and Bee Harris again joining the front group with 5th place.

In the Promotion Fleet the strong British presence produced GBR winders in all free races, Alex and James Colquitt leading the field home in Race 1, Sam Wrankmore Imogen Asquith taking Race 2 and Ben Barr and Antonia Wilkinson the victors in Race 3. However, overall consistency won the day for Ryan Wilkinson and crew Hannah Taylor, a score of 2, 2, 3 making them the overnight leaders.
Monday’s forecast promises more wind and the prospect of another great day of racing. Follow progress on the event Facebook page and the GBRCadets Twitter feed.

By Peter Collyer