The fickle wind of Palma Bay struck again on the third day of the RS:X Europeans and Youth Europeans and created another long day on the shore and water for the 333 competitors. Whilst on shore the sun shone and showed why Palma is such a popular holiday destination, on the water the wind caused issues, frustrations and annoyance. However, by the time the racing did get underway, it was perfect for a glamourous day of windsurfing on the bay of Palma.
The Women, after their late evening on the water from the previous day, were sent out in to a building wind after a two-hour postponement. As the clouds lifted and the temperatures rose, the thermal breeze started to kick in and by the time racing had commenced it was a solid 12-15 knots providing a perfect day for racing.
Charlene Picon from France, whilst going into the day at the top of the leader board, did not have the best day on the water and scored some uncharacteristic scores of 18, 11, 8 to drop down to 3rd overall. It was Yunxiu Lu who wrestled the lead from Picon, Lu scoring the best results of the day with an ever-improving 4, 3, 2. Behind Lu in second place is Poland’s Maja Dziarnowska who scored 2, 6, 1 to sit five points behind Lu and three points ahead of Picon.
Dziarnowska on the day's racing, “At the beginning of the day I was afraid that we wouldn’t have planning conditions. We were stuck between two different directions of wind but we moved a little bit and got three good races in with 14 knots maybe. I have really wanted some strong wind regattas and its good to be racing fast. Tomorrow I want more planning races and I really hope for a medal, it’s a big wish but that’s what I will race for.” Sadly, the forecast may not grant Dziarnowska her wish!
In fifth and sixth overall, are the Israeli duo of Katy Spychakov and Noy Drihan, both tied on the same number of points and both in the joint lead of the Under 21 fleet. Just four points behind Spychakov and Drihan is Emma Wilson from Great Britain who sits in seventh overall and third Under 21.
Spychakov is part of a strong group of Israeli women who have between them taken a number of different medals from different events over the past two years. Spychakov, “We are a really strong team, one of the best teams. We push each other hard but are really good friends and have good vibes in the team. We look at the Youth team here and they are looking at us and wanting to get into our team and also pushing us to be better. I think Israel is strong in windsurfing as we can windsurf all winter round, I don’t need to put a wetsuit on at all there and its just a lovely place to go and train.”
The Youth Men and Youth Women also got their complement of three races in near perfect planning conditions - after what is becoming the obligatory delay ashore this week. Naama Gazit from Israel sailed to retake the lead from Cypriot Natasa Lappa after posting a 3, 5, 2 and sits on 36 points overall. However, Gazit will be nervous as the three girls behind her are all tied on 37 points, all three girls just one point behind Gazit. The chasing pack of Lappa in second, Linoy Geva (Israel) in third and Heloise MacQuaert (France) in third will be hoping for more races in order to gain an edge, any edge, going into the medal race on Saturday.
The Under 17 fleet is led by Sharon Kantor from Israel with Manon Pianazza from France in second place. Kantor sits in 11th overall with Pianazza in 14th and with three races scheduled for tomorrow, the Under 17 title is still wide open.
The Youth Men are led by another Pianazza, this time Fabien Pianazza, older brother of Manon, who has a one-point buffer at the top of the rankings. Behind Pianazza is Italian Nicolo Renna who has definitely had the bit between his teeth this week and has blitzed the opening day of Gold fleet racing with three wins out of three races. Renna now counts five race wins out of nine races. Vardimon Tomer (Israel) who led for the early part of the series has slipped back to third but is only two points off the top spot. Another tight fleet that is too close to call.
The Men were the last fleet to return from the racing area, coming ashore at 7 PM local time, similar to the women the previous day. The men suffered from the trickiest conditions of the day and as a consequence, the first two attempted races were abandoned which only served to lead to a longer day for the sailors. When they did finally get away, it was Kiran Badloe (Netherlands) who took the first race win followed by Dorian van Rijsselberge (Netherlands). In the second race, fleet leader Louis Giard (France) took the race win from the veteran Byron Kokkalanis (Greece).
Overall, Giard managed to hold onto the lead and extend a useful 7 point lead over Badloe who himself sits 7 points ahead of van Rijsselberge. Badloe on today's racing, “It was a long day, we had two nice practice races which didn’t count which was a shame. Tomorrow I will go out and have a bit of fun and do my best but we are having a great time here in Palma.” Yoav Omer from Israel leads the Under 21 fleet with Italy’s Luca di Tomassi in second.
Another three races are scheduled for all fleets on Friday where those in the top ten at the end will qualify through to the top ten shoot out in the medal races. As evidenced from today's races and the points differences in the fleets, the competition will be intense to the very end!