A mix in top 10 and a change of leader on Day 2

Day 2 of the 2023 SB20 World Championships opened with a light breeze and storm on the forecast. The pressure was on for the Race Committee to start at scheduled 11:35, but it was not until after 12:30 that racing got going.

Light wind caused the delay and the day promised to be tricky again with the tide working not in fleet’s favour. Race 3 started on uniform flag, but too many boats were over the line pushed by the tide onto the racecourse. Many favoured the pin end to avoid the crowded Committee end of the line. After a general recall a burst of laughter was heard in the air as the Black flag went up for the second attempt of Race 3.

Team Ares (AUS3828) took a good start in the middle, then struggled to get to speed and find stable wind. Irish TED of Michael O’Connor (IRL3809), Solyd Sailing team of Vasco Serpa (POR3801), Tiago Morais on Another Affair (POR3723) and Martin Estlander on Freedom (3803), John Pollard on Xcellent (GBR3814) all favoured the left handside. Race 2 winners Glasgow Kiss (SGP3750) had a bad start and got stuck in the middle.

With a good start on the pin end 80% of the race could happen on one tack benefiting from the tide that was still going down. Then, a technical approach on port tack to the mark would make it a winning combination.

First rounding saw the Dutch team 3J’s (NED3754) in the lead followed by Freedom (POR3803) and Supersonic (UAE3363) arriving on port tack. Among the top teams on first upwind mark were Leviathan (IRL3433), PBII (GBR3820) and TED (IRL3809) with Solyd Sailing and Xcellent chasing closely. The boats got some nice speed going downwind and those who stayed on the right side of the downwind course made a good decision.

With PBII retired after first downwind due to a BFD there was one less competitor in top 10. Breaking Bod (GBR3758) and Leviathan took the right side upwind, which has cost them a few places.

From afar it looked like the battle for the 2nd rounding would be between Freedom (POR3803) and Xcellent (GBR3814), but it was Vasco Serpa who got the winning combination right and rounded first. 3J’s lost four positions and rounded in 5th.

On the downwind Solyd Sailing were coming to the bottom gate in close with Freedom, but Freedom went too far left missing the layline and letting Vasco round in first. From then it was a short run upwind toward the committee boat for the finish, which Vasco and his team nailed brilliantly. Xcellent and TED followed on a photo finish in second and third. 3J’s climbed to 4th position and Another Affair (POR3723) who sailed a very consistent race were 5th, with Freedom arriving in 6th.

Race 4 didn’t start until around 14:30 with RC trying to set the starting line for nearly an hour. Shifts of 50 degrees and wind dropping made everyone worried about the potential cancellation of Race 4. The dark horizon made additional pressure of a passing storm that promised 20mm of rain coming from the English Channel.

The boats stretched a bit more on the starting line, but it still looked very messy on the RC end. The wind shifted more to the south against anticipated Westerly.

The right handside of the course had a number of Dutch teams after the start on the RC end, but again many boats favoured the left. With the threat of the wind getting closer to 0 and the coming storm the RC took a decision to go with the Black flag at the first attempt of Race 4. Again, it cost some of the top teams painful BFDs. Unfortunately the case for Glasgow Kiss and Breaking Bod, who both retired from the race after the start.

On the 1st upwind rounding Dutch youth team from Rotterdam (NED3290) took the lead, Another Affair and Kesbeke (NED3716) closely chasing them. In top 10 you could see a number of Dutch boats including Vliegensvlugge Vlieg (NED3446), Broach | TU Delft | Buitenhuis Advies | SuBtiel (NED3340), MXTC of Marco van Driel (NED3714) and others.

With the wind shift to the west predicted with the storm, the left handside of the downwind now looked better. After the first downwind rounding on the 2nd upwind Another Affair made a smart move and stayed on that side for a long as they could. Xcellent was climbing on the opposite side. This worked well in the previous race, but not so well in the new conditions.

2nd upwind rounding witnessed the same positions approaching with NED3290 of Donna-Tinke Huijsmans and Another Affair sailing very close. Tiago Morais on Another Affair (POR3723) managed to round first and another Dutch boat Kesebeke followed in 3rd. John Pollard arriving in 4th and Dutch Vliegensvlugge Vlieg in 5th.

As the wind was dropping to nearly 4 knots at times the last downwind was super tricky for the leader to keep their pace. Having played the downwind very well and gaining a lead Another Affair secured the finish and won Race 4.

Youngsters on NED3290 followed right behind them with Kesbeke closing the top three. The AP over A was immediately hoisted after the finish of the first boat and the fleet rushed back ashore to shelter from the coming storm.

Good day for many Dutch teams which shuffles the overall positions on the leaderboard and makes a new Top 10. After four races the championship can be considered completed and with so many BFDs across the table the fleet is looking forward to the first discard after 5 races.

Looking at the National performance the Portuguese teams have a strong lead with three teams in top 10. Tiago Morais, helmsman onboard Another Affair, commented:

“You notice that the leaderboard has changed since yesterday. All the 4 winners were different, yesterday we had the Aussies and the French youth teams, today we were fast and the Dutch teams too, so the competition is very high. I’m happy to sail on the North sea, because I’m used to sail in the river and I am used to sailing with a current. The Portuguese are doing pretty well – Zé Paulo (AP Hotels, currently second) is sailing very well and Vasco (Solyd Sailing, 8th overall) is having a consistent racing. Yesterday we were leading the Nations Cup and hopefully we can keep that lead until the end of the championship.”

After four races the top 10 is mixed with domination of Portuguese boats, but with potential discard after 5 races there are many teams that might appear on this table in the next three days. Click here for full results.

For Wednesday the first warning signal is at 11:25 and the RC changed the number of potential races to four.

Follow the Dutch SB20 on Facebook and Instagram as @sb20_netherlands.

Tracking available through Sailmon: https://sailmon.com/racing/sb20-world-championships-scheveningen

Photo credits: Laurens Morel. You can find all high-resolution photos here.