SAILING: Wind conditions disrupt first day of F18 World Championship in Bangor

Barry Swanston and Adrian Allen in action
Barry Swanston and Adrian Allen in action

Tricky wind conditions impacted on the opening day of the F18 World Championship in Bangor.

Hosts Ballyholme Yacht Club woke up to champagne weather for Day One of the prestigious event, but a sudden shift in conditions provided a challenge for the race committee.

A couple of attempted starts had to be postponed as the wind swung around.

The Committee boat moved positions several times as local winds filled in from different directions.

After a delay of three hours and a general recall, the race finally got under way with a black flag to keep the eager competitors away from the line.

The Argeninian crew Ian Rodger and Pablo Volker got squeezed at the starboard end of the line almost colliding with the committee boat.

It was the French son and father team of Tim and Jean Christophe Mourniac who managed to work their way up to the windward mark first followed by fellow countrymen Morgan La Graviere and Arnaud Jarlegan.

Jean Christophe is a long time professional catamaran sailor but had given the helm this week to his son.

Close behind were the Dutch team of Gunnar Larson and Ferdinand van West followed by Australia’s Glenn Ashby and Brett Goodall.

Local crew Adrian Allen and Barry Swanston rounded in a very credible sixth position but struggled in the second downwind leg in light and patchy conditions to finish 40th.

The top teams had their problems as well and the second round saw the fight for first place with Larsen/van West taking pole position into the second windward mark, followed closely by Ashby/Goodall.

The breeze started to die as they made their way into the finish but Larson/Van West held their first place through the line, followed by Ashby/Goodall in second and the German team of Helge and Christian Sachs in third.

The Committee boat tried to squeeze in the second of three races scheduled as the wind started to fill in.

A 30 degree windshift, however, persuaded them to abandon racing for the day.

Organisers will be hoping for steadier breezes on Tuesday.

The first start is scheduled for 11:30am with three races planned.

The public are invited to come down to Bangor and watch the racing.