'It is not normally like this here' ... a phrase frequently uttered at a World Championships and so it has proven on day one here at Club Nàutic S’Arenal.
The fleet assembled for a skipper's briefing where the international jury chairman Andres Manuel Perez Alvarez (ESP) assisted the fleet through a helpful briefing and subsequent questions; then the postponement flag was hoisted as the race team waited for the wind to settle.
After a short delay the fleet launched into the bay, sailing downwind to the starting area in an offshore breeze that was lovely and warm but unstable in both direction and strength. Moving around a mean the race team were able to quickly set a course in the middle of the bay with the wind speed averaging around the 10 knot region with gusts up to 17 knots and phases when the breeze dropped to as little as 8 knots. With a light weight boat like the MUSTO Skiff this means there are significant gains and loses available to the sailors... this was going to be a tough day to put in 3 low scores.
At the first attempt an over eager fleet jumped the gun causing a general recall; the race team immediately switched to the black flag to get the race started and was underway at 14:52. The starboard end was most popular but after a few minutes the fleet were well spread but at the windward mark the boats coming in for the right were in the lead with Ian Trotter (GBR) leading from Jamie Hilton (GBR) and Roger Oswald (SUI).
On the first run the leaders gybed frequently seeking to stay in the pressure and there were a number of place changes. The second lap played out much like the first with there being no argument that this race course was presenting plenty of opportunities to overtake boats.
At the finish it was Jamie Hilton (GBR) who had pulled through to take the win from Frithjof Schwerdt (GER) and Dave Poston (GBR).
Race 2 was quickly away at 16:19 and again the fleet were evenly spread down the line with no one side of the course obviously favoured. At the windward mark former World Champion, Bruce Keen (GBR), lead from Jamie Hilton (GBR) and Richie Robertson (AUS).
Frithjof Schwerdt (GER) found top gear on the second lap and pulled through the fleet impressively to just win from Bruce Keen (GBR) and Richie Robertson (AUS).
The wind had softened for the 3rd race which started at 17:43; this was going to be a reasonable athletic day for the sailors. The fleet got away evenly in about 8 knots of breeze but looking up the course it was clear that there were still some significant gusts rolling down the course.
At the finish it was Hilton who took the win, his second of the day, from Ben Schooling (GBR) with Justo Martinez (ESP) third.
A long day for the fleet but 3 good races have been held on the first day of a 14 race programme in conditions that were challenging for all competitors.
At the top of the leader board Jamie Hilton (GBR) has put together 3 impressive results scoring 1, 1, and 5.
Some of the pre-regatta favourites have put in some good scores but have also clocked up a result they will hope to no doubt drop come the discard later in the series.
There are 5 different nations in the top 10 representing the true international flavour of the fleet.
Tonight is the official opening ceremony and welcome buffet hosted by the club. Free MUSTO T shirts will also be presented to all competitors.