The very least you can say is that it's been a fascinating first day of competition racing here in Michmoret, Israel, at the Techno293 European Championships. Conditions have been good, and all the young competitors wanted just one thing to happen, for the action to start.
The Race Committee sent the Junior Fleets out early this morning in fairly light winds, as planned to avoid racing in the heat of the day, for the scheduled three rounds of races, with nine more to come. The Juniors were totally up for it and the level was very high, they put on a great show with some exciting finishes. Then all back to the beach for some lunch, shade and down-time.
41 Junior Boys and 23 Junior Girls started the day all equal on 0 points. At the end of three races the early leaders and chasers are beginning to emerge. The home fleets are very strong, but leading Junior Girls and flying red and yellow is Spain's Azul Sanchez Vallejo. Then it's a blue-and-white wash with home team sailors tight behind in the next four placings, Tamer Steinberg, Danielle Ziv, Yael Yehuda and Shir Kravetc. Similar story in Junior Boys, with Israel in five of the top ten placings. But top of the pile on day one is Britain's Boris Shaw, holding a slender lead over four close chasers, Israel's Daniel Halperin, Greece's Petros Kontarinis, Israeli Rom Levi and the Spaniard, Billy Coll Tulloch.
If the Juniors had an interesting day, so too did the Youth fleets who went out later in the afternoon for their moment in the sunny spotlight. Thursday's full moon must have somehow got to them. The racing was as exciting and skilful, but a lot of indiscipline by the competitors led to a series of general recalls and eventually some Black Flag races (anyone crossing the line early is immediately disqualified). Surprise-surprise, the Boys were the worst offenders and there were 12 Black Flag DSQ's in the first race alone!
The Girls were better behaved, but they also had the occasional restart. In Youth Girls, Israel leads, Mika Kafri narrowly ahead of France's Jade Bruche and Spain's Naiara Fernandez De Babadilla Ramos (make sure you get that right when you say hello!), but there are seven nations in the top ten mix and it's wide open.
In the Bad Boys/Youth Boys fleet, Israel has seven of the top ten places, but not the one that really counts. Italy's Davide Antognoli leading home-boys Rotem Lev, Ido Pomarantz and Maayan Leeram, with France's Jules Chantel lurking, ready to pounce.
It's game on for the next four days of racing, and let's hope all the competitors come back concentrated and ready for action tomorrow when we start off with the Youth competitors in the morning.