After many days of preparation, measurement and training, the sailors were ready for the start of the Optimist World Sailing Championships. The usual bussle of the boatpark was replaced by deserted tarmac with just the country names and a few scattered boat covers to show that the 231 sailors from 55 countries had ever been there. The relaxed atmosphere of the last few days was replaced with an air of excitement as the fleet, split into 6 divisions (3 starts of 2) left the shore for the first race.
Once afloat the competitors were met with a mixed bag of conditions. A five to seven knot northerly breeze, teased the competitors for the first two flights of races and rewarded those sailors who were able to keep their boats in clear air and moving. The long anchor line of the pin end mark boat, when combined with a slight current pushing the boats back, made things all the more difficult for the sailors, as congestion at the favored pin, was the rule on all the starts for the first two sets of races.
A left hand shift prior to the start of Race 2 required the RC to put the AP up and adjust the course. Most of the fleet seemed to play the middle to left hand side of the course where there looked to be ever so slightly better pressure and something of a consistent lift developing.
Following a series of postponements due to rain and more wind moving in, the race committee finally got the last set of races off in a fresh breeze of 11-13 knots that provided the sailors with much appreciated wind, Once the rain moved through, the winds moderated slightly, but were still stronger than the morning. The right side now seemed to pay dividends and as the fleet crossed tacks, sailors coming in from the right were in the lead and were able to consolidate and carry to the layline.
With the breeze continuing to ease, the first 3 races were completed and the fleet headed home to contemplate the days racing.
For many, the highlight of the day had been the event tracking. The many supporters were able to watch the racing on a large screen provided by the organisers. Once ashore the sailors swopped stories and reviewed the day while watching the race replays.
Racing will start earlier tomorrow as Friday is a religious day here in Malaysia and during the middle of the day the fleet will return ashore, permitting the many Moslem race and event volunteers time to pray.
The tracking will be running live again and you too can watch the action.