The weather gods have blessed the event with near-perfect conditions, the light mornings giving way to classic “Meltemi” winds building steadily during the day, and some strong afternoon sessions testing all the competitors’ muscles and endurance, with 3 rounds of hard, full-on racing on each of the 3 days of competition so far.
The first day was all about clean-sweeps of victories and early domination in both fleets, Youth/Open Men and Youth Women, as all the competitors adjusted to the unique sailing conditions here in the eastern Aegean. But the last two days have been much more competitive, with lots of changes to the leader-board rankings as we pass the half way point, with the skills of all the riders and the permitted worst-score discards helping develop the standings nicely going into the last 2 days before we crown our 2021 Champions.
In the Men’s fleet Belarus’s Artiom Javadav is in top spot after being briefly de-throned on Day 2 by Youth leader Italy’s Georgio Falquicao, on a hot streak. Javadav’s 2 wins on Day 3 were enough to see him virtually guaranteed the Open division title. Meanwhile, in the Youth division, Falquicao’s compatriot, and the fleet’s most consistent racer, always in the top 3, Davide Antognoli, is back in the lead, but by the narrowest of margins, just 1 point ahead of Falquicao. Local Turkish hero Ozan Turker is hanging on in 3rd place in the Youth division but will have a lot of work to do to climb any higher on the podium.
Meanwhile, in the Women’s contest, it’s still Russian ace Daria Bannaya hanging on to her lead in the rankings, but after her Day 1 clean-sweep she’s coming under increasing pressure, particularly from the young Turk Merve Vatan, with 3 race wins in the last 2 days. Behind them, Greek rider Emilia Kosti is looking good for 3rd place, although Holland’s Louisa Schmidt, 6 points behind her in 4th, may have something to say should Kosti slip up in the final 2 days of races.
It's already been a fantastic week, and it’s still a long way from finished just yet. But don’t take my word for it, listen to what the people actually there and doing it have to say.
First up, Turkish hopeful Ozan Turker, on the provisional podium, but clearly happy just to be here with all the others, enjoying racing together:
And here’s Italian coach Andrea Melis to give us his verdict on the Championships so far:
We’re back for more fantastic racing tomorrow, scheduled start 11.30am. Could be some real shake up of the leader boards with the fleets sailing the notoriously exciting and challenging “M” course.