From 1-6 August the Zoom8 World Championships took place in Hanko, Finland. The new World Champions Anna Munch from Denmark and Pontus Dahl from Sweden were crowned. 114 youth sailors from five continents and 10 countries met in Hanko, which offers probably the best open sea sailing conditions in Finland.
There were four days of racing with a total of 12 starts. Day one of competition in sunny and warm Hanko started slowly. There was gentle wind and no starts for the first three hours. Slowly, the thermal breeze picked up, enabling the fleet to get away. It was a good day for light-weight, young and skilled sailors such as Alexander Grönblom from Finland and Anna Munch from Denmark.
The wind picked up quite nicely on race day two and three but still with tricky shifting winds. The racers had to hike out, giving an edge to the taller and heavier brigade. Some new names rose to the top. Among the boys, Pavel Kravchenko of Russia, Victor Silén of Finland, Pontus Dahl of Sweden and Christo Öunap of Estonia. Among the girls, Valentina Faihs of Austria, Helene Gjerde Mjelde of Norway and Jacqueline Dopping of Denmark rose in the charts. The winds were tricky, swinging back and forth between the south and west.
A grey and drizzly sea met the Zoomers on the final day. Two races still had to be run. The wind piped up to 9-11 m/s with gusts up to 15m/s and waves up to 2 meters. Finnish champions Noora Ruskola and Victor Silén were the names of the day. They really enjoyed the conditions, taking two wins each in impressive fashion.
In the girls medal fight, Anna Munch (DEN) and Valentina Faiesh (AUT) kept their grip on the gold and silver. Jaqueline Dopping (DEN) nabbed the bronze by finishing a solid eighth and sixth on the final day.
In the boys series, a very consistent Pontus Dahl (SWE) performed remarkably well since the first races of the championship, proved to be the most powerful amongst boys fleet and won the World Champion title. Final day's racing gave Victor Silén (FIN) the silver medal in the boys standing and early days' leader Alex Grönblom (FIN) finished skilfully in third position.
In closing, both sailors and supporters felt that the Zoom8 World Championship had been a success. The varying winds had given a chance to all participants, both light and heavy, both newbies and oldies.
Zoom8 World Championships were organized by Hangö Segelförening Club in cooperation with Finnish Zoom8 Association. Additional information, official results are available on website http://zoom8worlds.org .