by Craig Heydon
Racing is underway at the first ever EUROSAF Champions Sailing Cup round on Lake Garda in Italy with Australia’s Tom Burton ending day one at the top of the Laser class leader board.
Burton is currently one point ahead of Croatia’s Daniel Mihelic after finishing second, first and sixth in the opening three races.
“It was a tricky day on our course today with between five and 15 knots of breeze and some changes between persistent shifts and oscillating shifts putting some big scores on the board for some people,” said Burton. “I had good starts in the first two races and was near the front to finish with a second and a first. In the third race I didn’t have the best of starts but going the right way helps and I finished the day with a solid sixth. It was a consistent day and I enjoyed being back in the boat.”
Fellow Australian Ryan Palk is currently ninth overall after winning the opening race of the regatta, finishing 22nd in race two and fifth in race three.
“I had a good first race, sailing the basics well to come away with a handy lead at the top and extend it by the finish,” said Palk. “In the second race I had a poor start and missed the first shift and it was really catch up from there. The last race was tricky again, I rounded the top in fifth but headed the wrong way with some of the fleet getting confused. I got caught up in the confusion a bit but managed a good comeback to fifth.
“I’m feeling good and enjoying the racing,” he said. “I’m keen to keep chipping away for the rest of the week and work on some areas I feel I need to improve.”
Matthew Wearn is currently 16th, just ahead of Luke Elliott in 18th with Jared West 38th.
In the Nacra 17 class Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin are the best placed Australians in fifth overall after two thirds and an 11th.
“Today was a good first day, we had tough light conditions with a very one sided track so the starts were crucial,” said Darmanin. “The boat is feeling fast as we’ve been experimenting with different modes and are feeling more comfortable which I think reflected in the results today as we were able to work our way up the fleet when our starts weren’t ideal.”
Euan McNicol and Lucinda Whitty ended their first day of Nacra 17 racing in 10th following an eighth, an OCS and a fifth in the light conditions.
Whitty said that the pair gathered a lot of information about the class from the first three races and are looking forward to getting back onto the water on Thursday.
Josh McKnight and Nina Curtis also completed their first ever day of Nacra 17 racing on Wednesday and are currently 16th overall.
The pair christened their new Nacra 17 ‘Raft to Rio’ before racing and finished with a 13th, an eighth and a 19th from their first three races together in Europe.
“Josh and I are loving the new Nacra 17 class and are excited for more racing tomorrow,” said Curtis. “We had a challenging day learning about the boats on the run during racing. We’re finding the starts tricky in Garda and are hoping to carry a few learned lessons into tomorrow’s racing.
“We were very excited and proud to christen the new Australian Sailing Team boat ‘Raft to Rio’ with Andrew Verdon our trainer as a witness,” she said. “We used Lemon Cello for pouring for an Italian touch! She’s a great boat and we’re excited to be racing her for Garda and the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland. A big thanks to all of the Australian Sailing Team followers for the naming inspiration, it was so hard to choose from all the great suggestions.”
The Finn class had a long day on the water for just one race with Oliver Tweddell ending the day eighth overall, with Jake Lilley 39th and Dirk Seret 43rd.
“Today we sat around on the water for a few hours before any breeze came in,” said Tweddell. “When it finally came in we had a nice five to six knots but it was extremely tricky so I was pleased with my eighth in the only race of the day.
“As we’re two races behind we have four or five races scheduled for tomorrow with an 8.30am start so it’s a big day coming up,” he said. “Hopefully our part of the lake gets some wind tomorrow!”
Elise Rechichi and Sarah Cook finished their first day of European racing together ninth in the 470 women’s class. The pair, who have only competed in a handful of regattas together, were sixth in the opening race and ninth in race two, before not finishing race three.
Sasha and Jaime Ryan are currently one place behind in 10th overall. In the RS:X women’s class Paris Stowell is currently seventh, ahead of Annalise Gilbert in ninth, while Patrick Vos is 13th in the RS:X men.
Full results can be found by clicking here.