Limone sul Garda / Italy, September 28, 2016. Halftime: The leader board is developing as expected with a tight battle for the title amongst the top seven sailors. Currently leading is the reigning World Champion Brad Gibson GBR but only one point ahead of Matteo Longhi ITA and another three points clear of Marc Pomerade FRA. Yannik Rossignol FRA, Graham Bantock GBR, Lincoln Mc Dowall AUS and Chris Harris GBR are all in contention with 15 points separating them from first, so it’s all to play for in the last two days of racing.
On Saturday September 24th the 17th IRSA Marblehead World Championship was officially opened. The 76 participants, waving the flags of the 15 nations represented at the event entered the the centre of Limone. Forming a large circle in the old market place in central Limone they were welcomed by Limones Mayor Franceschino Risatti, Andrea Corsato the chairman of North West Garda Sailing and the Chairman of the RC Sailing Federation Modelvela Italy Idalgo Pierini. The official speeches ended with the words "above all I wish you all good wind."
With consistently sunny weather 40 races have been sailed in 5 groups. As expected, the mornings feature a northerly breeze that dies at around 10:30 and is replaced with the southerly Ora at about 13:00. The open venue is developing the expected waves, with some sailors having significant problems in these conditions not often found in RC sailing. The race team is using the conditions as good as possible with racing starting early in the morning at 9:00 and the continuing through until 18:30.
Sailing is on an "Up and Down" course within a circle of buoys and the actual marks are anounced by the Race Officer just before the start. The seven umpires lead by Gordon Davies and Chris Atkins (Vice President at World Sailing) initially had trouble keeping up with the fast-sailing Marbleheads. Incidents between boats were in the most cases resolved between the skippers involved. Nevertheless it came to a few protest hearings which were then handed to the international jury to rule on.
On the evening of September 28th , the Lay Day, there was a gathering of the Marblehead sailors present in Limone. The Chairman of the International Marblehead Class Committee Matteo Longhi reported on the development of the class over the past two years. Further, the establishment of a class organization (ICA) independent from IRSA was discussed and it has been agreed to establish a working group by January 1st, 2017. This group will be tasked with defining and taking the next steps in the process of founding a Marblehead ICA. During the event Nigel Winkley (Chairman RC Sailing devision of the German Sailing Association DSV) and Henning Faas (the Deputy Chairman) reported on their bid for the 2018 World Championship to be held in Germany by SV Biblis. A decision by IRSA on the hosting of the 2018 Worlds is expected by the beginning of 2017.
We have another two days of exciting competition ahead of us, where changes at the top of the list as well as the following places can be expected.