Ballyholme Yacht Club woke up to champagne conditions on Day 1 of the F18 World Championship. As the fleet took to the water, however, the wind began to drop and swing around, providing a challenge for the race committee.
A couple of attempted starts had to be postponed as the wind swung around. The Committee boat moved positions several times as local winds filled in from different directions. After a delay of 3 hours and a general recall, the race finally got underway with a black flag to keep the eager competitors away from the line. The Argeninian crew Ian Rodger and Pablo Volker got squeezed at the starboard (right hand) end of the line almost colliding with the committee boat.
It was the French son and father team of Tim and Jean Christophe Mourniac who managed to work their way up to the windward mark first followed by fellow countrymen Morgan La Graviere and Arnaud Jarlegan. Jean Christophe is a long time professional catamaran sailor but had given the helm this week to his son. Close behind were the Dutch team of Gunnar Larson and Ferdinand van West followed by Australia’s Glenn Ashby and Brett Goodall. Local crew Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston rounded in a very credible 6th position but struggled in the second downwind leg in light and patchy conditions to finish 40th. The top teams had their problems as well and the second round saw the fight for first place with Larsen/ van West taking pole position into the second windward mark, followed closely by Ashby/Goodall.
The breeze started to die as they made their way into the finish but Larson/Van West held their first place through the line, followed by Ashby/Goodall in second and the German team of Helge and Christian Sachs in third.
The Committee boat tried to squeeze in the second of three races scheduled as the wind started to fill in. A 30 degree windshift however persuaded them to abandon racing for the day. Hopefully we will have steadier breezes tomorrow.
The first start is scheduled for 11:30 tomorrow with 3 races planned. The public are invited to come down to Bangor and watch the racing.
There will be a daily blog from the event during racing plus evening results, reports, images and video where available. Closing Ceremony and Prize Giving will be Friday 11th July at 18:00.