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11 May 2006, 07:43 am
Day 1: Wind Welcomes Start Of Racing
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ISAF World Sailing Games 2006
Lake Neusiedl, Austria

The ISAF World Sailing Games is underway with fantastic conditions setting the scene for an excellent first day of racing on Lake Neusiedl in south east Austria. The strong breeze was welcome across the fleets, but no more so than by the RS:X windsurfers, who put on a great opening show.
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Registration and setting up of the windsurfing venue finished the evening before racing was due to commence. With the past week having light winds the competitors were not optimistic, however the Race Committee must have spent the evening at church as the day greeted all the sailors with 15 to 17 knots of wind from the north west.

The event organizers World Sailing Games Games have outdone themselves with the venue and set up. The windsurfing fleet who are used to being allocated a small area to rig and rest, have been given a first class venue with plenty of space to rig, store equipment, rest tents and numerous refreshment tents. Mike COMPTON (ISV) remarked that he knew as soon as he arrived in Vienna that the event would be special as no request was too much for the organizers.

Results
Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470
49er
Hobie Tiger
Hobie 16

Delayed Start

Due to the complexity of dividing the fleets, the start for both the men's and women's racing was delayed. With only 26 competitors in the women's fleet the women are able to race in one fleet and thereby keeping their allocated equipment throughout the regatta, this should result in no further delays for them. The women left the beach first and sailed off to the start boat.

The first race had to be abandoned due to the time limit running out. The Race Committee did an excellent job of relaying the course and starting the women again with a minimum amount of time wasted. The third women's race was started with the men's yellow fleet finally out on the race course. The Race Committee started the women followed five minutes later by the men's fleet. As the men use larger sails the men were able to catch up with the tail end of the women's fleet making the mark roundings interesting.

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Qiubin CHEN (left) enjoyed a
breezy day one in Neusiedl
© David BELL
Australian sailor Anna DAVIS remarked that the Race Committee had excellent control with the start line at a good length and with each of the races being approximately 35 minutes long, this is ideal for RS:X racing.

ASHLEY Stars

The men's fleet is divided into two fleets with competitors swapping equipment each day which adds confusion to both race organizers and the competitors. The men's yellow fleet finally left the beach at 1400 and managed to get two races in. New Zealand sailor Tom ASHLEY took first and second respectively in the races to take second place overall. After a strong finish in both Palma and Hyères, ASHLEY is a competitor to look out for. Norway's Vegard Johan EIMIND meanwhile went one better than ASHLEY, scoring two bullets to lead overall. With identical results to ASHLEY of 2,1, Sail Melbourne winner Qiubin CHEN (CHN) leads the women's fleet.

After the yellow men's fleet had completed two races, they returned to shore to allow the blue men's fleet to race. Before the start, China's Ai Chen WANG broke his mast but a quick turnaround from the NeilPryde technical crew ensured that he was back at the start line in time for the first start.

Racing continues in Austria today, with a promising breeze across Lake Neusiedl this morning and eight to ten knot north west winds expected on the water.

For all the news on the 2006 ISAF World Sailing Games CLICK HERE.

ISAF/Ailsa ANGUS. Image, The RS:X in action on day one:© David BELL
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