The first day of the 2013 Rio Intergalactic had conditions very similar to what sailors can expect at the Rio Olympics. There are two options for the breeze here in Rio, it can be right or left of the sugarloaf and today it was left. The only difference between today and what we expect at the games is that the wind strength was a bit higher at 8-10 knots, so a couple more than in the winter.
Taking well to the conditions were Nico Delle Karth and Nikolaus Relsh of Austria. They were able to start well, had good upwind speed, and as the course was mostly left favored were able to win the left side and took good scores from there. They were not suprised at the conditions or their success, as they were here in June to practice and were prepared for what to do here in Rio. “There was more to do in the later races, as the wind died a bit and the current favored the left side upwind on the left,” said Niko. That meant downwind was a challenge as finding the pressure patches, balancing the left, and knowing when to consolidate center was important.
Nico & Niko were absent from the 2013 worlds as Niko, the crew, had to undergo surgury to repair his knee. This is the first time back sailing since the operation. Niko said that his range of motion is a little inhibited now, but he expects a full recovery. The recovery certainly didn’t slow them down any today.
Also having a good day was Dylan Fletcher and Alain Sign. We caught up with Dylan after racing as he was checking over his rig settings looking for a little more speeed.
Also sailing well was 2012 Bronze medalist Allan Norreggard. They caused the only real blemish to an otherwise perfect day for the Nicos as they collided with the Nico’s right at the finish line. In the end, the Nico’s retired from the race acknoledging they were at fault for tacking too close right on the finish line and scored a 15 (RAF). It’s not normal for 49ers to finish upwind, but the innovative format adopted for today to avoid boring second laps with only 10 boats was popular with the sailors.
Local event organizers and the driving force behind the Intergalactics, Dante Bianchi and Thomas Lowbeer had a nice first day and sit in 3rd position overall.
Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth lead the 49erFX fleet but the group is very close after day 1. They are starting on the same line as the 49er fleet, so getting to the left was a real challenge, but the teams are battling well in the sort race length conditions.