Yesterday the wind was stronger then on the first day with gusts reaching up to over 20 knots. From 1500-1930 hours local time the 123 competitors from 26 different countries presented great races directly in front of the spectators at the beach of the Forum Hotel in Ialisos, Rhodes.
Due to the huge participation level the split fleet system is applied in the men's fleet. The fleet is divided in two groups. For the first two races the competitors were seeded according to their current position in the Formula Windsurfing Ranking. Then the groups will be re-arranged according to their current position in the result list of the regatta. After a qualification series of eight races the split will be finally divided into a Gold Fleet and a Silver Fleet. Only the best 50% will be able to fight for the European Formula Windsurfing title. In the qualification series each group produces the positions from one to the last of the fleet. So after every race there are two first places two seconds etc.
After the first day the results in the men's fleet showed the extremely close level of competition. Three competitors shared the lead with equal points: the Argentinean Champion, Gonzalo COSTA HOEVEL; last year's Rhodes winner, WILLIAMS and; the Italian Champion, Andrea CUCCHI. In the women's fleet, SHREEVE had a perfect start with two bullets giving her an optimum total of 1.4 points.
BUZIANIS started the regatta with a frustrating 20th place, but from then onwards he has fully lived up to his role as favourite and scored only first and second places. After the second day he is in first position with a total of 5.4 points. According to the American, 'Things are going quite well! I am perfectly prepared and my equipment is tuned in. But the competitors are strong!'
The reigning Formula Windsurfing European Champion, BRZOZOWSKI, is also on the right track to defend his title. He scored two victories and one fourth place today. With a total of 6.1 points he is 0.3 points in front of WILLIAMS. BRZOZOWSKI was looking forward to get back on the water today, 'The fight on the water is hard and there are about ten guys who have the potential to win a race. The real challenge will begin tomorrow [today - Ed] when the Gold Fleet racing begins.'
In the fourth position is Antoine ALBEAU (FRA) with 6.7 points. The top five is completed by COSTA HOEVEL on 9.7 points, who dropped from first to fifth place yesterday.
SHREEVE scored another victory, but in the last women's race, Lucy HORWOOD (GBR) secured victory ending the Australian's perfect record. The stronger wind was also an advantage for Verena FAUSTER (AUT) and Sarah HEBERT (FRA). None the less SHREEVE is still clear in the lead with an optimum scored of 2.1 points. In second place lies HORWOOD with 7.7 points, in front of Marta HLAVATI (POL).
For today the forecasts predict even stronger winds, so the high wind experts hope to be able to show their skills in front of the Forum Beach Hotel at Ialisos Beach. At the moment it seems as if the favourites are moving to their expected positions, but with a 15 race series there is still a long way to go before anything is decided.
The race committee plans to run two more races today to achieve a second discard and will then split the men's fleet into the Gold Fleet and the Silver Fleet. The skippers meeting was set for 1000 with the first start at 1100. The Championships continues through until Saturday.