Laser 4.7 World Championships - And they’re off

Laser 4.7 World Championships 2011
Paige Brooks
The first day of the 4.7 Worlds comes to a close here at the St. Francis Yacht Club on San Francisco Bay with much anticipation for tomorrow’s races.

In contrast to the 25-knot winds of yesterday’s practice day, the first race of the day started for the girls in mild, overcast 10-12 knot conditions. After an all clear start in Race One, the girls battled upwind toward the Golden Gate Bridge against a lightly flooding current and taking advantage of the few extra knots of speed the current gave them downwind. Race One winner, Kim Pletikos of Slovenia, was especially happy about this was when she rounded the leeward gate in first and a few boat lengths ahead of any of her competitors.

In the girls’ second race the wind picked up, and the starts got hairy. After the Race Committee posted a black flag start, 18 boats were called OCS (On Course Side), which means their race result will not count for the second race. Kim Pletikos, who won the day, said that she had a really bad start in stronger wind, so she 'went right and was fourth at the top mark, lost a few boats but finished fourth and the girl ahead was black flagged.' Thus, she ended up with a third, putting her in first overall for the day. Nevertheless, Pletikos said she’s closely watching Athenasia Fakidi from Greece and Line Hoest from Norway.

Her secret? 'I love strong wind!' The current was a 'bit difficult, but we train [with members of the Italian and Greek team] in conditions just like this in the Adriatic Sea and off the coast of Italy.' Oh, to be a promising Junior Sailor!

As for the Under 18 girls called OCS? Said Regatta chair Kevin Reeds, there were 'Lots of sad faces on the dock, but they’ll have time the rest of the week to make it up.'

The boys, who finished racing just after 4pm, found again that the current, this time ebbing, had a huge effect on their game by giving them a boost to the windward mark. Francisco Gonzales, who won the first race, rounded 25th in the second race and clawed his way back to 13th, (protests pending) after realizing the folks in the middle had current 'pushing here' he said as he patted the stern of his Laser.

Results will be posted at www.sflaserworlds.com once the protests are sorted and the scores are finalized.