Skippers briefing was called sharp on time at Scheveningen Yacht Club this Monday ahead of the first racing day at the SB20 Worlds 2023 announcing two possible races.
Nice wind and choppy sea greeted the fleet as they left the harbour eager to get into racing. Despite having a nice stable westerly breeze the opening race of the championship did not happen on time. Finally, after two general recalls a black flag decided the starting positions and caused some boats a painful BFD.
Many boats found themselves stuck in second or even third row. It was the game of tactics and sailing skills to make the best out of the situation. For the third start all the boats stayed on the Committee side with no one on the pin end. Quite impressive to see a 50+ fleet squeezing into a half of the starting line.
Wind direction was contrary to yesterdays’ practice race and sailing with the ebbing tide made the boats jump over the line early.12-13 knots of breeze allowed for some spectacular racing in the waves with little or no planing with a mix of teams in top positions throughout the race. Tasmanian National champions onboard Ares coped best with the tricky conditions and won the opening race of the event.
“It was a really nice day for sailing on the North Sea today. We decided to do what we did last year [in Ireland] and won the first race, which was quite nice,” – said Will Sargent, Ares helmsman.
Second place was taken by France Youth of Ange Delerce and closing top 3 was UAE boat Supersonic, who sailed a good race with a lead on the last windward rounding, but haven’t managed to stay ahead of French and Australian teams.
Second race went into sequence with a Black flag to avoid further delays as the breeze has started its decline. The tide has reached its lowest state and turned which may have helped the boats a bit on the second downwind. Glasgow Kiss of Nils Razmilovic took a lead on the first upwind and maintained it until the finish. They were closely chased by Jose Paulo Ramada on AP Hotels and team Ares of Will Sargent.
Two French Youth teams had a great start for the event, sailing close to the leaders in both races. It was the 2003_sailing_team of Ange Delerce (SR D’Antibes), Julia D’Amodio (Cannes Jeunesse), Julien Bunel (BN Mare e Vela) and Sylvestre De Giuli Morghen (ASPTT Marseille) who sailed the most consistent day with two second finishes in these tricky conditions putting the to the top of the leaderboard on Day 1.
With this strong entrance into big fleet racing the French Youth teams have a good chance to be in top three and even win the champions title. French coach Philippe Michel confirms the ambition to win the Worlds: “They have worked a lot at the start of the season. Ian (Garreta) and Ange (Delerce) are both leaders in fleet and match racing back in Marseille. We have to work on the starts in particular, with more than 50 boats it’s different. They know very well the boat, but now we need to manage this high level of racing in tricky conditions of the North Sea”.
In top 10 after two races we find at least three Portuguese teams which puts them in a good lead for the Nations Cup trophy awarded at the end of the event to the best performing nation. In 2022 the SB20 Class UK took the trophy home, but can they keep it in 2023 we will find out this Friday.
Ashore the sailors enjoyed the Scheveingen yacht club’s hospitality and a happy hour sponsored by (the Royal North Sea Yacht Club who are hoping to welcome the SB20 fleet in 2025 for Europeans) while watching a recap of Sailmon tracking and drone footage of today’s racing.
For Tuesday the first warning signal is at 11:25 with potentially three races.
Tracking available through Sailmon: https://sailmon.com/racing/sb20-world-championships-scheveningen
See event website: www.sb20worlds2023.com for all entries and results.
Photo credits: Laurens Morel. You can find all high-resolution photos here.