Cagliari is turning out to be a fantastic venue for windsurfing!
A day of strong winds, big waves and sun made for picture perfect conditions with the only spoiler to the party coming if you don't like planning and going fast.
With the certainty of three races on the cards for both fleets, today presented an opportunity for those to either consolidate their positions at the top of for others to wriggle their way into tomorrows medal races.
In the end it was just another day at the office for the leader of the RS:X Youth Boys – Pawel Tarnowski, who put in another good shift of 2,1,1 with his second place in the first race today the only blemish on his otherwise perfect looking scorecard. This second place was lost to Sam Sills, who with both sailors negotiating the slalom on the way to the finish were starting to have to overtake the tail end of the womens fleet in front. Tarnowski had to gybe wide leaving an open slot for Sills to sneak around the inside and take first place which he would hold for the final gybe to the finish.
Tarnowski did not let anyone get into the same position again for the remaining two races, opening up a commanding lead in the second race to take the win again in the third.
Behind him, the jostling of the Frenchmen Giard and Pic continued with Pic taking the day with a 5,2,2 to Giards 6,3,3 – still not good enough to take the second spot of the podium going into tomorrow medal race but enough to close the gap to only one point between the two of them. This means that the first to finish tomorrow will beat the other. Whether or not this pair will be trying to make up the deficit on Tarnowski, fighting themselves, or looking over their shoulders for the sail of Sills will remain to be seen - Sills being the only other real contender to the podium, 8 points behind Pic on 32 points overall. Sebastian Fleischer has an outside chance on claiming a stake on bronze but given that he has not beaten all of the four men in front of him at the same time in a race, the odds are stacked against him.
Looking at the remaining competitors in the medal race, the fact that the French have come in force is plainly evident with four sailors in the medal race. Tom Squires keeps Sills company for the GBR boys with remaining places going to Denmark, Spain and Israel.
Over in the girls fleet, the podium is a more simple affair with Poles dominating the fleet. Agnieszka Bilska - like Tarnowski in the boys fleet, went to the office, put in the work and left with a very satisfactory 1,1,2 to take home. This gives Bilska 9 points overall and a 12 point lead over Kamila Smektala going into tomorrows medal race, who had a consistent 2,3,1 and claim her first race win of these championships.
Barbara Dmuchowska has taken the consistency issue to heart and has put in a string of single figure results in this high calibre fleet to muscle onto the podium with special thanks to her 5,5,3 of today. The muscling in was one factor for Dmuchowskas presence on the podium, the OCS of Jeanne Dantes (FRA 4) the other factor. These small mistakes will get you a medal or lose you a medal and with a 10 point gap between herself and the top three, Dantes could well end up regretting that mis-judgement.
In the U17 girls, it has been Noelle Finch who has had a meteoric rise through the rankings to overhaul Israeli Shani Rottenberg and take the lead for the younger age group. Finch’s 6,2,5 scoreline putting some of the seniors to shame and both her and Rottengerg were showing the true potential of the U17’s in this fleet. Whilst there is a smaller fleet of girls here than the boys, it is telling that two U17 girls made the medal race with none in the boys.
Nationality wise the girls medal race is definitely, a podium full of Poles aside, a more international affair. With France, Great Britain, Israel, Belarus and Italy all having a ticket to the party – Veronica Fanciulli being the only home favourite taking part in either medal race.
Weather wise, the forecast is for breeze and a lot of it. According to some local forecasts this could be into the 20 knot range and will certainly suit the heavy weights who have had it all their own way so far this week. For those looking to become World Champion, a simple 30 minute jaunt around the course is all it will take and by this time tomorrow we will all know how simple or not this task will turn out to be!
RS:X Youth Results Gold Fleet Boys: http://www.windsurfing-cagliari2011.eu/RSX/results-gold
RS:X Youth Results Silver Fleet Boys: http://www.windsurfing-cagliari2011.eu/RSX/results-silver
RS:X Youth Results Girls: http://www.windsurfing-cagliari2011.eu/RSX/results-girls
RS:X Youth Worlds photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/14887359@N06/collections/72157627851394767/