The first day of Optimist racing in 2011 saw near perfect conditions of 14-16 kts of breeze under sunny skies for the 231 sailors competing in the World Championships in Malaysia.
While supporters in Europe and North America where busy ringing in the New Year, sailors in Langkawi were launching for a three race day that would bring the critical first drop into play.
With 15 knots of breeze coming down the course from the north, the RC had set a start line with ample room and little bias to start the day. The I flag was being flown again and now seems to be a standard feature on the RC boat. The fleet split working up the first beat, with a number of the leaders opting to play the right hand side which has been paying dividends for much of the series to date. The second and third sets of starts of the day played out much the same although the wind did lighten up slightly, and always seemed to be softer at the top of the course.
The first finish of the day saw boats splitting the course on the last beat and having to work through the next race's boats on their downwind leg. ESP 1161, Carlos Robles Larente crossed the line first but was scored OCS and thus Bart Lembriex took the bullet in the final tally, SIN 33 Elisa Yuki Yokoyama was poised to take second but had to complete a 720 before finishing and dropped to 4th.
The second flight of races was run in similar conditions, a slightly lighter breeze, but still shifty and having a slight right had side of the course favor.
On the last set of races for the day, a large left hand shift jumbled the flights and saw racers on the right hand side of the course lose their leads to the left hand boats and boats from Race 7B being mixed with the boats from 7C. A number of the regatta leaders were forced to use this race as their drop.
As the racing concluded for the day, Thailand had continued their dominance of the event, but lost a little ground on the day, now holding positions 1,2,10 and 12.
Bart Lambriex was the days winner posting scores of 1,4,3 to move to seventh place overall, and has now had four top five finishes in a row.
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