USA in the hunt at Laser Radial Worlds
Published on July 21st, 2019
Sakaiminato, Japan (July 21, 2019) – The typhoon that was headed north towards the Sea of Japan veered west, over the Korean Peninsula, and is no longer a threat as the 2019 Laser Radial Women’s and Men’s World Championship enters the third day.
However, the storm is likely influencing weather patterns in the region, so it’s at least an indirect threat. Similar to yesterday, today started with optimism but at times racing looked questionable. An initial course was set for 15 knot winds at a heading of 185° under moderately rainy skies.
The skies were clearing by start time, and the wind softening, but conditions were raceable and the Men’s fleet started their Race 5 cleanly.
On the final day of qualifying for the women, the RC held off starting their Yellow fleet, to give the Men some separation and to adjust the first mark to a 5 degree shift to the left. But after one General Recall, Yellow started their Race 3 without penalties under a building breeze. The Women’s Blue fleet needed three starts (six sailors received BFD penalties in the second) but by early afternoon all three fleets were on the course or finished.
The wind was gusty, mostly in the mid- to high-teens, and there were clear differences across the course. But it did seem that the leaders on the inner trapezoid (Women’s Yellow & Blue) often came into the weather mark from the left side of the course.
Paige Riley (USA), who finished second twice today, confirmed this. She thought that coming in from the left near the top mark worked for most of the day, whether it was geographic or just how the oscillations lined up lined up with the Yellow fleet. Mostly, she thought it was a matter of staying in pressure as you worked your way up, and down, the course.
A second round of races were started early afternoon, first Red (Men’s), then Yellow (Women’s). But before Blue got off a clean start, things got weird. The wind shifted right ten degrees, then another ten, and then kept going. By the time Yellow was halfway down to the bottom mark they were reaching, and RC had no choice but to abandon the race. Everyone drifted and waited while the wind died, built, and died again, shifting throughout.
It took 90 minutes for the breeze to settle back in at the original southerly direction, but ultimately Red (Men’s) and Yellow & Blue (Women’s) got in another race before the 1800h off-the-water deadline. It required shortening the final race at the second weather mark for Blue, but the day concluded with Race 6 for the Men and Race 5 for the two Women’s fleets and the end of their Qualifying Series.
The first three days of the event were qualification rounds for the 111 women, with the top 56 now advancing to gold fleet. The 32 men are racing as one fleet. Twelve races are planned on July 19-24.
DAY THREE RESULTS:
Ten nation places for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics are available at the end of this event following the 20 places already allocated out of a total of 44 berths in the women’s event at the next Olympics.