Following a delay in order to wait for the wind speed to drop on the various course areas, the first fleet to go out were the Mistral men at around 12.30 local time.
In the 20 knot easterly, the two groups that make up the qualification phase of the men's fleet competed in their two, 30 minute races of the day. A disciplined line saw the fleet get away without incident in both race one and two for both groups.
In the yellow group the dominant sailor was Przemek MIARCZYNSKI (POL), who excelled in the physically demanding conditions and took the gun in both of his first two races. Julien BONTEMPS (FRA) took race one in the blue group, followed by Kiwi Lon-Paul TOBIN. Bontemps was second in race two for his group behind fellow French sailor Alexandre GUYADER and now resides a mere point behind MIARCZYNSKI in the overall standings after today's racing.
The Delta flag to leave the beach for the Mistral women was raised following completion of the first two men's races. Their first race started again 15.10 local time, again without incident as everyone seems to be taking a cautious start to the championship.
Just in are the results from the opening day of qualification for the Women's fleet, with the multi medallist, Barbara KENDALL (NZL) opening the series with a blistering performance to lead overall.
Sailing in conditions of an average of 18-20 knots, with gusts up to 30 knots, the sailing conditions were fantastic, and according to the sailors this is one of the first World Championships in the past 10 years where strong winds have been experienced and the sailors are revelling in it. However, it goes without saying that these conditions are bound to upset some of the performances.
Both starts were clean, with relatively quiet water on the upwind leg, but a rough run to the down.
In today's first race, Lee KORSITZ (ISR), whilst not benefiting from an excellent start, fought her way towards the front of the fleet to take the gun with a lead of half the leg. Lee is a relative newcomer to the circuit, ranked 29 in the world. The pressure is certainly on her, as not only will she be hoping to secure Israel a qualification slot to the 2004 Olympic Regatta, but also the results of her and higher ranked team mate Shiri RON (ISR) will have a significant impact on who is selected to represent Israel in Athens [if Israel qualifies].
Improving her second place result in race one, Barbara KENDALL (NZL) was first off the start in race two, a position she did not ease up on throughout to take the gun securely, but with Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) not too far behind. Zofia is fresh from winning the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships.
Results After 2 Races
1. Barbara KENDALL (NZL) - 2, 1 - 3 points
2. Lee KORSITZ (ISR) - 1, 4 - 5 points
3. Zofia KLEPACKA (POL) - 7, 2 - 9 points
Following the reduction of wind strength in the Hotel course area to around 20 knots, the Yngling fleet were sent out to their course area at around 14.00 local time and the first race got underway at 15.20 in an ever-decreasing Levante.
At the time of going to press, the Yngling fleet is still racing. The first day of racing in the Star fleet was cancelled for the day, as the breeze is still peaking very high on the way out to the Charlie Race Area.
Today, started the measurement for the Tornados. The Levante easterly winds off the Sahara - started blowing last night and the gusts of up to 30 knots kept the boats on shore this morning.
The weather forecast for tomorrow outlooks a relative weakening of the pressure gradient across the Strait of Gibraltar and that will reduce the intensity of the easterly flow. At the Bay of Cadiz winds from ESE, 16 - 22 kt, will prevail. Hopefully that will give the boats that are not measuring the opportunity to go out and train.
The Tornado class has 72 entries confirmed and today the last boat arrived on site. Sailors from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, Spain, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, South Africa, Russia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Sweden, Ukraine and the United States are attending the Tornado Worlds.
We will bring you a full wrap up of today's racing in all the classes that competed, once all the sailors are ashore.