A light breeze of around 7 knots greeted teams for day 1 of racing at the 2013 420 World Championships, as racing got started under a clear blue sky and dazzling sun. By the time race 2 was underway, the wind had increased to around 10-12 knots.
The 110 teams in the 420 Open fleet have been seeded into yellow, blue and red fleets, with the 87 Ladies teams seeded into yellow and blue for the six races of the three day qualification series. Teams will be reseeded after each of the three qualification days, before advancing to the final gold, silver and bronze fleets for the 420 Open and gold, silver for the 420 Ladies for another six races over the three day final series.
Reigning Sail First ISAF Youth Sailing World Champions, Tiago Brito and Andrei Kneipp from Brazil took a 2,1 in the blue fleet to sit on equal points at the top of the leaderboard with Italy's Gianmaria Caiconti and Edoardo Portoraro who scored 1,2 in the yellow fleet. Early days, but a solid first day to put in the bag.
In third overall are the top placed Spanish Brothers Santiago and David Mas who scored a 3,2 and are on a mission to secure gold here. They finished in fourth at the 2012 420 Worlds, and with all three of last year's 420 Open podium finishers having moved onto 470 sailing, the Mas brothers believe 2013 is their year. Their sister Silvia is competing in the 420 Ladies fleet, so as Santi explained it is a family affair, "We all train together at the same club and in the same races. It is special."
The brothers have been working hard towards the 420 Worlds, "We have been sailing in Barcelona at weekends to train and went to Kiel to train for two weeks before Kieler Woche and finished second. So we have had some great preparations for the Championship. I would like to have lots of wind, but I think it will be on average 8-13 knots here with big waves. We are here to win - it is our objective. There are some really good sailors here and our biggest rivals will be some of the younger sailors who competed at the ISAF Youths,"
To be confronted with the largest and most competitive fleet of your racing career is quite daunting, and that was the prospect facing Manuel Nzuzi today, helm of one of the two Angolan 420 teams. Nzuzi has been sailing for eight years, six in an Optimist and for the past two years in a 420 and proud is most probably an understatement of how pleased he is to be at the 420 Worlds. "I don't have words to explain how happy I am to be here. Our goal is like following a stairs and an evolution and we are really enjoying learning and improving our skills."
Nzuzi took the day's racing in his stride, "I made quite a few mistakes, so today was not such a good day, but I am going to learn from these and think how to improve tomorrow," he said.
420 Open - Leaderboard Top 10
1. Gianmaria Caiconti/Edoardo Portoraro (ITA) - 3 pts
2. Tiago Brito/Andrei Kneipp (BRA) - 3 pts
3. Santiago Mas/David Mas (ESP) - 5 pts
4. Ibuki Koizumi/Tsubasa Arioka (JPN) - 7 pts
5. José María Ruiz/Fernando Davila (ESP) - 9 pts
Carlotta Omari/Francesca Russo Cirillo of Italy were the team of the opening day, knocking out two race wins with what looked like relative ease in the blue fleet. "I am very surprised to have two race wins and very happy. I didn't think this would happen,"
In race 1 the pair led from start to finish to take total control of the fleet. Onto race two and there was a bit of catching up to do, as Omari commented, "We were about 2nd at the first mark, and then were in 3rd at the downwind mark. Then at the next upwind we moved up to first and held it to the finish. Our upwind speed is really good and where we can make gains."
France's Jennifer Poret/Lucie Scheiwiller put in the most consistent performance in the yellow fleet, taking a race win and a 5th place to end day 1 in second on the leaderboard. In third overall are Spain's Paula Barceló and Margarita Alba who scored 3,4.
A regrettable error for one of Japan's top 420 teams, Eri Fukazawa and Nagisa Mawatari, pushed them forward too early in race 1 to count a penalty OCS score. Their form was better revealed by a 6th place in race 2. The pair end day 1 in 52nd overall, but we can expect them to pop back up the leaderboard over the next two days and with the discard kicking in after race 5.
Making an early impact at the front of the yellow fleet in race 1 were Singapore's Elisa Yukie Yokoyama/Jazlene Ong who finished in 2nd, but a black flag penalty in race 2 tumbled them to 44th overall. The pair finished second at the Singapore National Championships earlier this year, behind team mates Kimberly Lim and Savannah Siew who are in 13th on the leaderboard. Lim and Siew just missed out on a podium finish at the 2012 420 Worlds by the narrowest of margins and are certainly amongst the favourites in the Ladies fleet.
It is just day 1, but interesting so far to see Italian 420 teams representing fifty percent of the top 10 leaderboard.
420 Ladies - Leaderboard Top 10
1. Carlotta Omari/Francesca Russo Cirillo (ITA) - 2 pts
2. Jenifer Poret/Lucie Scheiwiller (FRA) - 6 pts
3. Paula Barceló/Margarita Alba (ESP) - 7 pts
4. Carmen Davila/Julia Davila (ESP) - 10 pts
5. Ilaria Paternnoster/Di Salle Benedetta (ITA) - 11 pts