The Czech Republic's Veronika FENCLOVA got her World Championship off to a perfect start with a win in race one. After following that result with a fifth she sits at the top of the overall standings at the end of day one. Tied on six points with FENCLOVA is Beijing Olympic gold medalist and ISAF Sailing World Cup leader Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) who posted 2, 4 scores in her two races. Young Spanish star Susana ROMERO also got off to a flying start with a sixth and a race win putting her third overall.
The anticipated wind was late coming so the fleets were postponed on the water with the first race getting underway 40 minutes after the scheduled starting time. The only starting blemishes were recorded in the first start of the yellow fleet with five sailors being called OCS. The other three starts were all clear. The course was altered for the yellow fleet in the first race to straighten up the first run. Otherwise the wind was relatively consistent from the NNE with a strength of 7-12 knots and as the wind increased there was enough swell for exciting sailing and gains to be made. The beat length was made longer for the second race and all four races were within seven minutes of the target time.
Race two in the blue fleet provided one of the highlights of the day with an exciting dual between ROMERA and Sophie DE TURCKHEIM from France. DE TURCKHEIM showed the value of a very good start to lead the fleet until she was passed on the final reach to mark five by ROMERA who retained the lead through to the finish.
Along with ROMERO, Spanish teammate Lucía REYES also started strongly and is fourth after 4, 3 scores, just ahead of New Zealand skipper Sara WINTHER. DE TURCKHEIM is sixth, with Tina MIHELIC of Croatia, currently second in the World Cup Standings and the 2008 European Champion, seventh overall after a seventh and a race win. Today's other race winner was reigning World Champion Sarah STEYAERT (FRA). Like FENCLOVA she won her opening race of the championship but slipped to 15th in the next, putting her 11th overall.
Other names to look out for are recent winner of Europeans, US skipper Paige RAILEY in eight place, the top placing Japanese Yukiyo SAIKI in 10th and 2007 World Champion Tatiana DROZDOVSKAYA (BLR) in 13th. Evi VAN ACKER of Belgium lies 17th, 2007 and 2008 Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Championship winner Gabrielle KING (AUS) is 19th, Finnish star Sari MULTALA 21st, whilst China's Olympic bronze medalist Lijia XU will be disappointed to lie 34th overall.
The Japanese race management team is to be congratulated on being very well prepared with good systems in place for the smooth running of the races. The large number of volunteers are doing everything they can to make everyone feel welcome and to run an event of a high standard. The Opening Ceremony was held last night and was a very grand event held at the City Hall and gave all participants a taste of Japanese culture and an opportunity to savour the exquisitely presented cuisine.
The forecast for tomorrow is for heavy rain with a further two races scheduled.
Results - click here