Laser Radial Youth Worlds - Tight and intense competition on Day 1

Laser Radial Youth World Championships 2013
The Laser Radial Youth World Championship is currently underway in Oman (29 Dec 2013 - 3 Jan 2014). An opening day of tight and intense competition offered a glimpse of things to come this week as 79 of the world’s best young sailors took to the race course at Mussanah in Oman for the start.

Laser Radial Youth World Championships 2013

Four races produced four different winners in conditions that were predominantly light airs and shifty, favouring the featherweight sailors and both Karyna Manuel from Britain who tops the girls leaderboard and Italy’s Gianfranco Planchestainer who is heading the boys group used their slight frames to best advantage to gain an edge.

Karyna Manuel - Laser Radial Youth World Championships 2013

Manuel, who has travelled to Oman independently of the RYA after she failed to qualify for the Worlds, has been training in Mussanah for two weeks and grown accustomed to the breeze, earning her a second place in the first race followed by an outright win in the second.

Also training to be a professional footballer with Cambridge United FC and used to doing battle with Arsenal and Aston Villa, the 16 year old Manuel formed a plan at the start of racing and stuck rigidly to it.

'I decided to use what I’d learned since I’ve been here which was firstly to be patient – and that proved to be important – and also to keep it simple,' she explained.

'I didn’t get a good start in the first race but tacked immediately and stuck to my plan as if I’d had a good start and then in the second race I didn’t really make a mistake.'

'I am as well prepared as I can be and all I can do is carry on doing what I’m doing but there are a lot of really good sailors here so there is a long way to go.'

m9957 crop11014 1000x1000 proportional 1388333304E023 - Laser Radial Youth World Championships 2013

Manuel was pipped to the post by Celine Therese Herud of Norway in the first race with German sailor Julia Kuehn coming third while Croatia’s Anja Hammerlitz and Finnish sailor Monika Mikkola shared the first day podium with the pint sized Brit who had a three point lead overnight.

Gianfranco Planchestainer found himself snapping at the heels of front runners in both the Boys races today but with Belgium’s William de Smet winning the first race then dropping to seventh in the second and Sebastien Schneiter from Switzerland posting a fourth in Race 1 and a win in the second, his consistency earned him a one point advantage over the Swiss sailor.

Laser Radial Youth World Championships 2013

All the sailors, plus coaches and families, were given a warm welcome to Mussanah Sports City on Saturday night with a launch party to give a flavor of Oman’s food and traditions. To fend off the Omani winter chill, they were given mussar scarves and instructions on how to wrap them around their heads while the girls had their hands and feet decorated in traditional henna dye.

Laser World Championships 2013. Mussanah. Oman. Day4. Arabian Night

Traditional Omani music and dancing accompanied camel rides and a sumptuous buffet followed a welcoming speech from Rashid Al Kindi, chairman of the Oman Sailing Committee, National team manager and deputy head of the organizing committee who pointed out that a future Olympic star could be sitting in their midst.

'This championship plays a significant role in adding to the high calibre events that Sultanate has hosted,' he said.

'This championship will encourage and help the next generation of sailing champions to develop their skills and expertise so they can fulfil their ambitions and aspirations and win medals at future Olympic Games. We welcome you all to Oman and wish you all the best in your races.'

Laser World Championships 2013 - Mussanah - Oman - Day 2 of racing
© Lloyd Images

Racing at the 2013 Laser Radial Youth World Championships continues through to Friday with two races scheduled each day.

Overall Results