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Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, Holland: Polish windsurfers dominate windy opening day - RSX Class
It was a strong-wind opening day for the 700 boats competing at the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, Holland.

Polandís world-class windsurfing squad has always enjoyed the strong breeze, and Pawel Tarnowski leads the RSX menís windsurfer division after a perfect day of three race victories. Zofia Noceti-Klepacka leads the RSX womenís division with scores of 2,1,2.

In the womenís skiff, the 49er FX, Dutch team Annemieke Bekkering and Annette Duetz blasted around the course with incredible consistency, racking up 3,3,3 to lead the regatta, although the Aussie team in 2nd place, Tess Lloyd and Caitlin Elks, also sit on 9 points with scores of 1,4,4.

Itís a similar tie-break story at the top of the menís 49er leaderboard; New Zealandís young team of Marcus Hansen and Josh Porebski hold the lead in the menís skiff fleet, but on equal points in 2nd place is Australiaís Joel Turner and Lewis Brake. Near the back of the fleet, but not surprising after their first day ever of competition in the highly challenging 49er, is the team from Oman, Musab Al Hadi and Hashim Al Rashdi. ďIf we can get round the course, and not crash into anyone, weíll be happy,Ē said Al Hadi, although he was disappointed to finish outside the time limit of the final of their three heats, after multiple capsizes on the last leg of the race.

Part of the challenge of racing on the IJselmeer is that the shallow 5-6m waters generate a short choppy wave pattern that makes it very easy to stick the nose of a fast boat like the 49er into the back of the wave, resulting in pitchpoles and capsizes. Itís a similar problem for the high-speed catamaran, the Nacra 17. However this didnít upset the World No.1s from France, Billy Besson and Marie Riou who dominated the multihull fleet with 1,3,1 scores, sitting 10 points in front of Great Britainís Ben Saxton and Nicola Groves in 2nd place just ahead of Olympic medallists from Australia, Darren Bundock and Nina Curtis.

Matthew Wearn from Australia did well in his side of the three-way draw in the 162-boat Laser qualifying fleet, with scores of 1,2 leaving him well placed after day one. Rutger van Schaardenburg is the top Dutch sailor in a very competitive home fleet, lying 2nd overall with a 4,1 score. In the womenís singlehander, the Laser Radial, Irelandís Annalise Murphy hammered home her traditional big-breeze advantage to win the first race of her qualifying group. On the other side of the draw, Olympic silver medallist Marit Bouwmeester from the Netherlands won her race at a canter, easily justifying her early selection to the Olympic team for Rio 2016.

In the three-person Paralympic keelboat, Colin Harrisonís team from Australia tops the 12-boat Sonar fleet. In the SKUD doublehanders, Great Britainís Alex Rickham and Niki Birrell hold a one-point lead over the Netherlandsí Rolf Schrama and Sandra Nap. Franceís Damien Seguin enjoyed a perfect day in the 2.4mR singlehander keelboat, winning both races.

In the 470 divisions, Finlandís Niki Blassar and Mikaela Wulff lead the womenís fleet, and Koreaís Kim Chang-Ju and Kim Ji-Hoon lead the men. Pieter-Jan Postma didnít have it all his own way in the Finn singlehander, although the Dutchman still looked impressive on home waters to lead with scores of 3,1. ďWhen itís windy and shifty like that, and with the waves on the IJselmeer, it can be tricky for sailors visiting here, but they are learning quickly,Ē he smiled. ďI wonít be sharing any local secrets with them, they are working it out already!Ē

Photo :© Laurens Morel
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