General recalls, black flag penalties and unstable winds led to a drama-filled first racing day at the Laser Europa Cup in Koper.
Italy, Slovenia and Switzerland were the three countries that made the most of the day’s 8 knots of sea breeze, each securing a place amongst the top three in their respective divisions of the 266-boat fleet.
Winds from anywhere between 250 and 300 degrees were strong enough to keep the dinghies moving but there was little opportunity for hiking after 14:00.
Upwind, the fastest sailors sought the strongest lines of pressure coming from the shore although the best strategy was to keep in the middle. Downwind, the on-the water umpires were active giving penalties for several infringements.
Back ashore at the Jadro Koper sailing club the sailors gave their first impressions of the race track.
“I found the conditions quite challenging. The shifty sea breeze did not cause me any particular problem, however I made some small mistakes downwind. Overall I am satisfied as there is still room for improvement,” said Žan Luka Zelko (SLO), currently second in the Laser Standard fleet with two races left to sail.
The tricky conditions barely fazed Nicolo Villa (ITA) who opened the season with a third place and a victory while Arthur Baudet finished the day on third, sitting four points behind the table topper.
In the Laser Radial fleet, Italian Guido Gallinaro took the lead with four points ahead of Francesco Viel and Massimo Massini.
The Laser 4.7 division completed only one race, won by Matteo Guardigli in the yellow group and Janez Zabukovec (SLO) in the blue.
Racing continues tomorrow at 9:30. Similar winds are forecast.