Standings shuffled at 2013 Laser Radial Youth Worlds
Published on January 1st, 2014
Mussanah, Oman (January 1, 2014) – It was all change at the top of the leaderboard in the 2013 Laser Radial Youth World Championships as a tricky day of racing, plagued by big wind shifts in Mussanah and patchy breeze, took its toll on form, rankings and race management.
Two races had to be abandoned shortly after they were started when the wind dropped to below the minimum required to race and the final race had to be postponed when it became clear there was not enough time for it to run its course.
By the close, Finland’s Monika Mikkola was the fourth leader of the Girls rankings in four days, taking over from Norway’s Celine Therese Herud while Sebastien Schneiter from Switzerland nudged to the top of the Boys even though he finished in the back half of the fleet in the only race possible.
He moved ahead of Gianmarco Planchestainer by virtue of a disappointing result that the Italian is unable to discard while Schneiter’s 43rd – his worse result of the regatta by some margin – will not count.
Both will be aware of the growing threat posed by the Hungarian brothers Benjamin and Jonatan Vadnai whose downwind speeds have impressed from the outset but whose lack of consistency has kept them off the overall podium.
Until now that is. The 18 year-old Benjamin sailed a flawless race for an outright win to raise him one place to third while his younger but equally competitive brother Jonatan posted a fifth to stay fifth.
“The conditions here today were just like they are in Hungary,” said Benjamin who with Jonatan comes from Balatonalmadi where he sails for the Balafontured Yacht Club on Lake Balaton.
“We sail on a small lake where the wind is usually very shifty – it is hard to read the shifts but you have to keep a close eye on the water.
So will the Laser Radial Youth World Championships come down to a battle of the Hungarian Vadnai brothers?
“No,” says Jonatan categorically.
“We are happy if either of us is doing well and I shall be very happy if Benjamin wins. We are good but there are a lot of very good sailors here so we will be happy if one of us comes in the top three.”
Chasing the Vadnais paid dividends for British sailor Nik Froud who recorded his best result of the regatta with a third place. The 18 year-old student used to live in Oman until 2011 and paid for the trip back from the wages he earns as a part-time delivery driver for a supermarket chain.
“If the world championships hadn’t been in Oman I wouldn’t have bothered but I learned to sail in these waters. I saw the first group of sailors come through Oman Sail and now I am seeing it host the World Championships which is impressive. If they carry on their youth programme like they are, it won’t be long before they produce an Olympic sailor.”
There was change in the Girls leaderboard too when Monika Mikkola from Finland, who is one of the most consistent performers of the week though yet to win a race, rose to the top. Her fourth podium place in seven races gave her a four point lead over Agata Barwinska from Poland and Celine Therese Herud of Norway who are tied in second on 27 points.
Monika, recently given Finland’s Youth Sailor of the Year Award, is already hatching a plan for the remaining four races working out what she needs to do to become Finland’s first female Laser Radial Youth World Champio
“It was a tricky day – the wind was all over the place but I managed a second. It would be nice to win a race. It is really tight at the top but my plan to carry on doing what I’ve been doing because it seems to be working.
“It would mean the world to me to win these Championships. I love winning and it would be like a dream come true. I already had third and fourth in the ISAF Youth Worlds and Youth Europeans so it would make a great start to 2014 if I won.”
Racing in the 2013 Laser Radial Youth World Championships continues through to Friday with two races scheduled each day.
For Overall Results: http://omanlaserworlds2013.com/eng/championship.php?id=25
The Laser Radial Youth World Championship, currently held in Oman (29 Dec 2013 – 3 Jan 2014), is regarded among Olympic sailors as one of the most valuable platforms for success in sailing. British sailor Sir Ben Ainslie started in the Laser Radials as did Olympic gold medalist Tom Slingsby. Many of the current fleet of Laser sailors, competing in the World Championship in Oman, claim they owe their success to their Laser Radial campaigns as teenagers.