After the disappointment of the abandonment of race one on Monday, yesterday the Championship really got underway with buoy roundings with boats missing each other by millimeters, spinnakers flying full and boats surfing downwind - and all this against the magical backdrop of Castiglione della Pescaia's castle and Maremma's pristine nature. On the tourist boat Marinella a hundred children from local secondary schools followed the races up close.
Both races where on a triangle course with three laps on each leg and an up wind finish for a total of 20 nautical miles each.
At the start of the first race given at 1205 hours local time. 32 crews squared up under a wonderful sunny sky, with winds blowing between seven and 18 knots from the north west, and with gusts up to 22. Eleven crews stayed on land to discount a penalty accrued in Monday's race.
Behind the Germans in race one, the Slovenian team helmed by Bostjan ANTONCIC claimed second with the American's helmed by Charlie KAMPS third. The Italians made a good start with a sixth place for the local boat helmed by Domenico CARDUCCI, the Secretary of the Italian Soling Association. After a breathtaking start the fleet split up on opposite tacks, some choosing to sail along the coast, others opting for the open sea. CARDUCCI made a fantastic start and rounded the upwind mark first. Halfway through the race the wind gusted and shifted to the right, offering an unforgettable sight as the kites filled, boats surfed and crews raced downwind towards the castle.
The second race kicked off at 1550 and saw all 43 teams from 13 nations competing. The wind had increased in intensity, but still blew in the same direction. Better visibility allowed contestants to see the profile of Elba on the horizon while beating towards the windward mark. From the beginning the leading pack of four pulled away, with the rest of the fleet remaining compact. This led to memorable gibing duels into the leeward gate and spectacular buoy roundings. GYENESE crossed the finish line first, followed by KOCH, securing the top spot on the leaderboard, and in third place there was another German team, helmed by Karl HAIST.
'Great races! Perfect Soling weather in a classic Castiglione della Pescaia day' commented Rose HOEKSEMA, President of the International Soling Association and competitor.
Today the first start is scheduled for 1200.