Olympic gold medallist Anna Tunnicliffe (USA) proved she has lost nothing from her speed and guile after her break from the Laser Radial class as she returned to a first and second place from the first two races of the Laser Radial World Championships on the Clyde estuary off Largs in Scotland.
Across a testing pair of races that were split by the passage of a weather front which swung the breeze from south to west to produce a fitting introduction to the Clyde's testing winds and waters, Anna Tunnicliffe
shared best points from the day in the Blue fleet with Marit Bouwmeester
(NED) the current leader of the ISAF Sailing World Cup Standings, who mirrored the American's tally with a second and a first.
In the Yellow fleet it was Belarus' 2007 World Champion Tatiana Drozdovskaya
who lead from the first windward mark to be followed across the finish line of the first race by China's Olympic bronze medal winner Lijia (Lucy) Xu
, with Paige Railey
(USA), the 2005 World Champion taking third. Railey then went on to win the second race to lie third overall after the first day. The Chinese sailor Xu, is recovering from a health problem and did not sail the second race.
While the forecast was for winds to be slightly more moderate than recent days, with the breeze just east of south in the first race in fact it proved a blustery and damp curtain raiser to what many consider may prove to be a high scoring regatta. The committee boat on the women's fleet recorded 26 knots of breeze during the first race which most women reported was a test of hiking strength and smart sailing.
The second contest was raced in a diminishing westerly breeze. The second downwind in particular just edged into really difficult territory with big swings in wind direction and considerable differences in wind pressure. The race committees on the water must have heaved a collective sigh of relief to get racing concluded before it became too fluky.
For the host nation's Skandia Team GBR, Alison Young
proved the most regular with a sixth and ninth to lie 11th overall, whilst Scot Charlotte Dobson
, ranked third in the world, was less happy with her 21st in the first race but fought hard to score a seventh in the second heat to lie 23rd
As ever consistency across the two races was far from easy. The consoling factor for those who perhaps did not make the best possible start to the championship which most of the 119 women from 35 countries and 104 men from 30 nations was that proper sunshine welcomed the fleets back to shore at the Scottish Sailing Institute at Largs Sailing Club, a pleasing contrast to a bleak morning where Scotland's soft but gentle rain was all too evident.
In the Men's fleets it was a Polish one, two for the day as Wojciech Zemke held off the defending champion Marcin Rudawski by scoring a perfect pair of wins, to the champions 1,2.
Marit Bouwmeester (NED): "It was hard. My start was not that great in the first race and I thought the left would pay and it did, and then on the downwind I managed the pressure well. I think the others made a mistake on the second downwind as the front started to come through. But Anna was sailing really quick. It is fun is racing against her. We trained together before she took to the match racing, I really respect her.
I think we both had a good start in the second race and could cross the fleet and that was pretty much it. The pressure dropped and that was to our advantage and we got away a bit."
"You don't want to have high scores on the first day so I am pretty happy with my day."
Anna Tunnicliffe (USA): "The first race I did not have a stellar start but I got in there fairly quickly and I hiked really hard and my goal was to be in the top ten at the top mark and I rounded third or fourth or something and hiked hard and played smart from there and went on to win that one. I was not so far ahead Marit was right on my heels throughout and in the second race I had a good start and got going well. I missed the last little shift at the top and then put myself in third and then got yellow flagged downwind which was a bummer, but then on the second upwind I passed a boat to finish second. I am happy overall with my day having not been in the boat, I am just having fun out there and had a great day today."
Defending champion Sari Multala
(FIN): "It was pretty windy. The biggest shift we were lucky with because it came through between the races. I made some stupid mistakes. The second race I was leading and two girls passed me which was silly. But other than that I got up pretty well in the first one. It could have been a little better, but no bad races which was OK. The first race was a lot more shifty and gusty and the second one it was pretty steady on the first upwind, but on the second downwind it got really shifty again."