It may not have been the most glamorous day on the water on the first day at the 2016 U23 Finn World Championship in Aarhus, Denmark, but it was a solid day of great racing. Phillip Kasueske (GER) leads after three races from Max Kohlhoff (GER) and Lars Johan Brodtkorb (NOR), each taking a win in the three races.
Despite a poor weather, and wind, forecast, and an early postponement ashore, there was soon enough wind to send the fleet out to begin racing. It stayed dry for the first race but rain through the rest of the day also brought big wind shifts and bad visibility.
After Brodtkorb led the opening race from start to finish, he almost won the second race as well, overtaking early leader Emil Bengtson (SWE) on the second upwind. Bengtson had opened up a large lead on the first lap only to see it evaporate on the second upwind as Brodtkorb and Kasueske found a big left shift to pass him at the top. However it still wasn't over with Brodtkorb and Kasueske splitting gybes on the final short leg to the finish. Kasueske took the win by less than a boatlength.
The shift caused a wait and course realignment for the third race with the rain briefly stopping before coming back hard just after the finish. Kohlhoff started at boat end and soon jumped out for a sizeable lead. He was only really threatened in the closing stages as Cameron Tweedle (GBR), who had rounded in second, sailed a great second downwind, to close the gap enough to put pressure on the big German, but he couldn’t find a way past.
Kasueske again split from the pack on the final leg to snatch third on the line and take the overall lead from Kohlhoff and Brodtkorb, who struggled to recover after a bad start.
Brodtkorb described his day, "In the first two I had quite good starts and the speed was also nice and in the last I had a good start but didn’t find the right path on the upwind."
“I thought I missed a bit on the shifts and the pressure. I am not quite sure what I did wrong because it was quite tricky. In the first race I had a really good lane and was leading by quit a bit at the first mark.”
With strong winds forecast for Wednesday, he said, “I am definitely not the heaviest guy here so I hope to get through the heavy winds not too badly, and just try to stay close, as there is only one discard and that’s really nothing in this – you have to be consistent.”
Kohlhoff spoke of his third race win, “Before the race the wind had shifted quite a lot to the left and I think that mark was also bit more to the right, so I think it paid off to start at the starting vessels. Nearly all of the other guys started at the pin. So I took a chance and got some good shifts and good pressure to get to the left, and then I was covering the whole fleet and was just defending until the finish.”
“It’s always nice to sail with the juniors. It’s totally different sailing. My first race wasn’t as I would like it to be, but I had a 7, 5,1, which is a solid start and tomorrow we have a big day with strong winds and I looking forward to that.”
“Today was very unpredictable, shifty, very puffy, and sometimes not easy to see where the gust was coming from and would be like.”
Kasueske came into the regatta as one of the favorites but explained, “My goal is to win but I didn’t want to lead from the first day straightaway. But I’ll take it as it comes. Today was a really good day for me, plus I had no penalties or yellow flags and I didn’t make too many mistakes.”
On his race win, “It was really tricky. I had a really bad start so I had to go full left and that really paid off as the wind shifted 20 degrees to the left, so I was about third the whole race and on the second upwind I managed to pass the guy who was leading by going about 30 metres further left and then in the last 20 metres before the finish I managed to pass the Norwegian, who sailed really well today.”
Summing up the day, he added, “The day was really lovely. We had rain all day. The wind shifted like crazy 90 degrees between the first and third race so it was really tough conditions for the sailors but I think we managed to do three fair races and we had a good start to the regatta.”
Three more races are scheduled for Wednesday when much stronger north-westerlies are forecast.
Results after three races:
1 GER 259 Phillip KASÜSKE 8
2 GER 25 Max KOHLHOFF 13
3 NOR 9 Lars Johan BRODTKORB 17
4 CZE 5 Ondrej TEPLY 21
5 ARG 48 Facundo OLEZZA 23
6 AUS 32 Jock CALVERT 26
7 SWE 59 Emil BENGTSON 32
8 POL 116 Sebastian KALAFARSKI 32
9 DEN 24 André HØJEN CHRISTIANSEN 34
10 GBR 71 Henry WETHERELL 35