IODA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

OVERVIEW:

Results: Individual - Team-Racing - Miami Herald (team aggregate>

This has been one of the great Optimist championships.

Four races in lighter winds and eleven in heavier was an excellent test of all-round skills. The race committee, headed by Orhan Tüker and aided by the two IROs - Alen Kustic and Luis Ormaechea - did a great job in getting the 15 race series completed. The Altinyunus hotel was comfortable, the food unlimited, the shore personnel headed by Neylan Gunay excellent, the sun shone and the cooling breeze often blew even into the night.

2008 was the year of Caribbean sailors, even more than 2007 belonged to New Zealand. Raul Rios (PUR), already North American champion, won with two races to go and good results in all wind conditions. Ian Barrows (ISV), still with two years left in the Class, can be proud of his silver. Puerto Rico won the exciting team-racing final with USVI taking bronze. To cap it all Puerto Rico also won the Miami Herald Trophy for the team with the lowest cumulative points of the best four sailors.

The Europeans were not totally outclassed. Kristian Kirketerp (DEN) took bronze, the Danes were second in the Miami Herald and there were six Europeans in the top ten. But the presence of 53 nations and worldwide distribution of a strict one-design (over 60% of the fleet sailed charter boats) means stiffer competition.

Among the girls it was the Asians who dominated. Tomoyo Wakabayashi (JPN) missed out on a potential over-all bronze on the final windy day by a mere 8 points but took girls' gold. Rachel Lee (SIN) benefitted from the same winds to climb to silver and 11th over-all and Lu Yu Ting (CHN) took bronze ahead on the diminutive 35kg Thai Noppakao Poonpat. Some of us are old enough to remember doubts about "cultural problems" with women's sailing in Asia. Not here, not now! 12 year old Alaa Shouhdy of Qatar may have come last but she was here and she finished ten races.

The young sailors are here for the racing. It was great and the atmosphere in the dinghy park and hotel was exceptionally warm with the usual improbable friendships being formed between young people who might have little in common but for the sport they love.

Well done Turkey!


© Raul's daddy!


DAY 8 14:30: We think, from flags on the water, that Raul Rios has won and Tomoyo Wakabayashi (JPN) is first girl. 15 races sailed! More later.

DAY 7:

Race Officer Orhan Tüker did a magnificent job in running 2.2/3 races (race 10A had been sailed on Wednesday) in light conditions on a day when the wind did a 180° shift at lunchtime

Raul Rios with 5/11/4 in the latest three races has extended his lead to 47 points and Ian Barrows of the USVI moved into second place. But the most dramatic rise was from Tomoyo Wakabayashi (JPN) whose 2/27/1 lifted her into bronze medal position. If she can maintain this place it will be the fourth successive year in which we will have had a girl on the podium. Even if she cannot, the three leading girls are currently all Asian so the chances of an Asian successor to Olympic prospect Xu Lijia (top girl in 2001 and 2002) and 2006 silver medallist Griselda Khng (SIN) for the girls' prize look good.

Three races are required to complete the series with the second discard only being applied if all three are sailed. However by 0900 on Day 8 a good northerly breeze has set in and it is just possible that the series can indeed be completed.


STOP PRESS!

Malaysia was today voted as the venue for the 2010.
Under-bidder Poland was awarded the European Championship 2010.

2009 venues were confirmed as:
Worlds: Brasil
South Americans: Ecuador
North Americans: Dominican Republic
Europeans: Slovenia
Africans: South Africa
Asians: Malaysia

More details will be available on the IODA calendar shortly.


DAY 6:

The glorious winds deserted the venue today and, despite moving the course far out into the bay, only one full race (Race 9) could be completed. Division A of Race 10 was completed but divisions B and C will have to wait until, hopefully, tomorrow.

Raul Rios (PUR) showed his versatility with his third bullet of the series, the sweeter for him as his closest rival Jens Marten (GER) was back in 42nd, so Raul has a 32 point lead over the new second-placed sailor Jordi Xammar (ESP).

Tomoyo Wakabayashi (JPN) had an excellent 8th and moved into the top ten which is where we have come to expect our best girl in recent years.

WORLD TEAM RACING CHAMPIONSHIP:

The IODA TR World Championships were held today with the course set just 50 metres from shore. Sixteen teams had qualified and they began racing in 12 knots of breeze. The current holders Greece had failed to qualify which left Singapore, last years runners up, hopeful of success this year.

The most exciting early match was between Sweden and Germany. Racing was close until Sweden had a capsize on leg 3 but, through some brilliant sailing which included taking one of the German boats way out to the left of the course, Sweden won to cheers and applause from the enthusiastic crowds gathered close by on the shore.

Top seeds New Zealand progressed well until they encountered Singapore and were then eliminated by a second loss against Denmark. Denmark themselves were then beaten by US Virgin I. who then sailed against Puerto Rico for a chance of a top three position. This match drew much shouting from the spectators as USVI were penalised by the umpires for an incident at mark 2 right in front of the crowd and Puerto Rico eventually sailed to an easy win. Bermuda, despite a first round loss to Uruguay, won three races to come through the repechage with three victories before losing out to Puerto Rico.

This set the stage for the best of three race final between Puerto Rico and Singapore. Puerto Rico started well in race 1 and went on to win by 13 points to 23. This put the pressure on Singapore. Again Puerto Rico started well but by mark 2 the teams were tied with 18 points each. Ties are broken in favour of the team that crosses the line second and the points combinations kept changing as boats went back to help a team mate sail through. This was team racing at its most exciting with the young sailors demonstrating superb sailing skills and tactics as the points advantage changed time after time in the last 100 metres before the finish. Finally as they crossed the finish, a jubilant Singapore were declared the winners, 15 - 21.

As the boats manoeuvred on the line for the start of the final race, the wind increased slightly to a steady 15 knots. The slightly heavier Puerto Rican team seemed to have an advantage upwind and had a winning 1,2,3,7 combination as they rounded mark 1. They maintained their lead although Singapore challenged the third Puerto Rico boat without success. As the boats approached the finish line with Puerto Rico still ahead, they bunched and Puerto Rico was penalised by the umpires. As the boat took its turns penalty, it looked like Singapore might just surge ahead but Puerto Rico had done enough and crossed the line as well deserved World Champions.

Results:
1 Puerto Rico
2 Singapore
3 U.S. Virgin I.

Full score sheet

DAY 3:

Winds, while in the 12-15 knot range for most of the day, were shiftier than previously and many of the leading sailors had to use their discards. Three races were sailed.

North American champion Raul Rios (PUR) edged into a 3 point lead over the overnight leader Jens Marten (GER) who is tied on points with Raul's compatriot Ivan Aponte.

An excellent day's 8/1/2 has produed a new girls' leader in Tomoyo Wakabayashi (JPN) and fluctuating fortunes among the girls see Nikki Barnes (ISV) and Noppakao Poonpat of Thailand in silver and bronze slots.

Fleet racing is now suspended for two days for the team-racing and the rest day before resuming with a further planned seven races from Tuesday.



DAY 2:

Day 2 of the 46th Optimist World Championship saw a further three races in slightly more wind than day 1.

Jens Marten (GER) retained his lead with a fine 1/2/5, results only bettered by Russel Kan (SIN) with 1/2/4. Kristian Kirketerp (DEN) moved into second place while Ian Barrows of the U.S. Virgin Islands retained third.

Perhaps only in the Optimist Class could one see five of the six continents represented in the top eleven.

Among the girls Rachel Lee (SIN) had an uncharacteristic poor day and must wait until the first discard is taken after race 6 before re-entering contention. The new leader is Naomi Mannering (NZL) just three points clear of Florencia Prego (URU).

Also awaiting the discard will be Ivan Aponte (PUR) whose nett 14 points could bring him firmly back into contention, but pre-regatta favourite Logan Dunning-Beck (NZL) must sail very carefully for the rest of the series if he is to recover from two OCSs already in the series - Logan, it can be done: look back at Hannah Mills in 2003!

SEEDING FOR THE WORLD TEAM-RACING CHAMPIONSHIP
The results of each team's best four sailors in races 1-5 are used to seed teams for the Team-Racing on Sunday. These have led to the following first round matches:

1New Zealandv16Turkey
2Puerto Ricov15Japan
3U.S.Virgin I.v14Norway
4Germanyv13Sweden
5Italyv12Singapore
6Francev11Spain
7Denmarkv10Netherlands
8Uruguayv9Bermuda

Surprisingly neither of the historically strong team-racing teams of Argentina or Peru qualified.


DAY 1:

Day 1 of the 46th Optimist World Championship opened the regatta with a superb day's racing in a brisk north-westerly 15-18 knot breeze gusting to 22 knots. Bright, bright sunshine and a sea of the darkest blue made a magnificent panorama of the 255 small boats.

The German team, still celebrating the European girls' win by Paulina Rothlauf, were delighted by the double bullets of Jens Marten in the two races held. Jens is not part of the "Bavarian brigade" which has produced a succession of champions in recent years but is from Eckernförde on the Danish border. His past successes have included a bronze in the 2007 Garda Easter meeting.

In second place at this early stage is Hermann Tomasgaard (NOR), followed by the expected Caribbean challenge led by South American open champion Ian Barrows of the U.S. Virgin Islands and North American champion Raul Rios from Puerto Rico.

Among the girls North American silver medallist Rachel Lee (SIN) is the predictable leader but our hosts will be delighted that Ceyla Yurtseven is upholding a great tradition of Turkish girl sailors. 2007 top girl Lara Vadlau (AUT) is currently fourth girl behind Naomi Mannering (NZL).

Sailors from the less-experienced countries such as the Gulf states of Bahrain and Qatar can pride themselves in finishing both races in challenging conditions, and a little more effort could see Abdul Azzi Faisal (BRN) in the top half of the fleet.

Racing continues today with three further races scheduled.


Opening Ceremony

255 sailors from 53 countries are assembled in Cesme on the west coast of Turkey for the 46th Optimist World Championship. First time participants include Bahrain, one of tWO Gulf states represented, and FYR Macedonia.

The shore venue is at the ***** Blue Dolphin resort launching into the deep blue waters of the bay. Winds during the practice period have been influenced by the Meltemi wind and have been up to 28 knots but this disappeared yesterday and rather lighter thermal winds prevail for the moment.

The Turkish Yachting Federation has called on enthusiasts from all over the Turkish coast to provide a large organisation team headed by Class secretary Neylan Gunay and with the presence of very active TYF president Nazli Imre. The IODA has supplied three International Measurers to check the equipment - 165 charter boats supplied by Winner Optimists plus 90 brought by participants - and two International Race Officers. The International Jury of ten is headed by Americas Cup judge Henry Menin (ISV).

"Form" in the Optimist Class in always difficult to forecast with the young sailors developing rapidly at this age. Of the competitors remaining from last year the highest ranked were Logan Dunning-Beck (NZL), Lara Vadlau (AUT) and Ian Barrows (ISV) but the tight results at the recent North Americans suggest that Puerto Rico's Raul Rios and Ivan Aponte with Rachel Lee and Russell Kan of Singapore may well be in contention. European form is less easy to forecast since Worlds sailors do not participate in the IODA Europeans but notable victories in other major events have been gained by Tadeusz Kubiak (POL), Harald Faste (NOR) and Stijn van Hoye (BEL).

Following a colourful and commendably brief opening ceremony under the walls of Cesme castle and practice racing in up to 18 knots today, the first races of the 15-race schedule start tomorrow 17 July.

Organisers' Website