Saturday, 12 June 2010

Sails of the White Nights: Day 2 - Finally they race!

Damien Iehl (FRA) leads at the end of the first day of racing (Day 2) at the Sails of the White Nights Grade 1 event in Russia. Image copyright Anna Ivanova.

by Sails of the White Nights media

The news at the skippers meeting today morning promised no good – all flights postponed due to lack of wind. Luckily, the afternoon breeze changed everything. At about 2 p.m. the show went on...

The first flight was a diamond of a show. Damien Iehl matched Andrey Arbuzov. The French won the start, took the lead, left no chance and won the race. Same result in the other 4 races sailed.

Damien Iehl being chased. Image copyright Anna Ivanova.

Damien Iehl: "We had a tremendously tough racing day. Especially hard it was to match Alvaro Marinho and Simone Ferrarese. I had a premature start in the match against the Portuguese. I lost time… But I was back at the first mark and got extra advantage thanks to the penalty got by the opponent. It was also extremely hard against the Italians. But Simone Ferrarese got penalized as well.. He had to do his turns ad hoc and that gave me a chance to win."

The Race Committee took all the advantages of the perfect sailing conditions. The sailors continued matching until 8 p.m. Most of the matches were quite ambivalent... the leaders changed as the matches proceeded. As the wind died, the emotions did the opposite.

Match racing on the Neva river. Image copyright Anna Ivanova.

The last flight was won by Sergey Musikhin.. even before the start... His opponent, Alexis Littoz Baritel, got disqualified for the whole race during the starting procedure.

Umpire Veniamin Gusev comments:
"The French broke the rule on purpose. They had 14 seconds left to enter the starting zone... the wind died.. Alexis Littoz Baritel put up the gennaker to push up the boat speed. The boats approached each other. Sergey Musikhin was on starboard tack. According to the rules, the French had to give room. But he did not. Thus, he got a double penalty. Then they touched the starting mark. That was the end... If one gets thrice penalized, the opponet gets the point."

Sails of the White Nights Day One video in Russian (racing and backdrop + interviews with Neugodnikov and Arbuzov)

Results after 5 flights on Thursday, 10th June 2010
Skipper (nationality) wins-losses

D. Iehl (FRA) 5-0
E. Neugodnikov (RUS) 4-1
R. Corbett (NZL) 3-2
A. Marinho (POR) 3-2
A. Arbuzov (RUS) 3-2
S. Musikhin (RUS) 3-2
S. Ferrarse (ITA) 3-2
K. Swinton (AUS) 2-3
A. Littoz Baritel (FRA) 2-3
M. Weiller Vidal (ESP) 1-4
V. Lipavsky (RUS) 1-4
P. Tarnacki (POL) 0-5

Day 3, Friday, 11th June 2010

Friday morning at the skippers meeting the Race Committee informed the sailors about changes in the flight schedule. The decision was made due to the experience gathered in the Qualifiers some days ago. The Grade 3 event, conducted in the Yacht Club “Hercules“ in Lahta on the Finnish Gulf, took place by very strong winds. Thus many flights had to be cancelled and the winner was to be calculated mathematically. Having learned from the past, The Race Committee decided to change the flight schedule for the teams to have equal chances in case it will be wind still. As a result of the changes, the sailors have to swap more often now... The Organizers hope there will be enough wind to conduct all the scheduled flights.

Match racing on the Neva river. Image copyright Anna Ivanova.

Morning passed... full of waiting for the wind... Suitable wind... Perfect sailing conditions of 7 metres per second... but from the unsuitable wind direction... right across the Neva.. impossible to set up the course of requested length.

The Race Committee checked numerous times all the possibilities , all the corners of the Neva between Peter and Paul´s Fortress and the Hermitage... They even tried to race down the only course feasable… in less than 5 minutes time... Far too fast...! Matches of Grade 1 events have to last 13 to 18 minutes at least.

Thus, next skippers meeting took place. Result: all matches postponed until 5 p.m.

Should the wind not shift, the races are likely to be cancelled for the day.

Sails of the White Nights