The RS:X World Windsurfing Championships in Mussanah, Oman, delivered another cracking day of competition for the opening races of the Final Series.
Thirteen knots of wind, mid-afternoon, was enough to create thrilling speeds for the men's fleets both upwind and down and impressive tactical racing. The newly formed Gold and Silver fleets - determined by rankings from the Qualifying Series earlier in the week - really raised the intensity today. Given the fact that for many of the countries and sailors competing in Oman, this event acts as an Olympic qualifier, the competitors are fighting for every inch.
After a postponement due to lack of wind, the women were first off and managed to complete two races in generally light conditions. Malgorzata Bialecka (POL) posted two second places to slip into the lead of the Women's World Championship ahead of Peina Chen (CHN), event leader so far. Bialecka, who has been constant in her performance, said the key to success at this event is fitness and consistency.
"It is a very tough event, very physical, so it is important to be fit and to build up consistent results. I think the break we had yesterday made me come alive again, because I felt I had a lot of power today."
Peina Chen (CHN) who started the week well with a string of first places, and won the first race today, also had to settle for a seventh place to count, which puts her in second place overall, just one point behind Bialecka, the new leader.
The leader of Silver fleet after two Finals races is Joanna Sterling (AUS) with a four-point margin over Veronica Fanciulli (ITA).
The tempo has increased in the Men's Gold Fleet too with new faces appearing at the front including 27-year-old Dorian van Rijsselberge (NED) - gold medallist at London 2012. Van Rijsselberge revelled in the freshening breeze and snapped up the first two races of the day. Although Pierre Le Coq (FRA) still retains the overall lead, there are now just six points between him and Piotr Myszka (POL) who is in second.
Le Coq, who was blocked in at the start of the second race today admitted it was not an ideal scenario.
"I probably started completely last in that one and although it looked promising at the start of the third race, the wind dropped and I didn't sail well in that one either. Thankfully I had a good first race."
Myszka, who spent the last month training at the Millennium Resort in Mussanah, said he really feels the benefit.
"For us this event is a country qualification for the Olympics, so we are not only concentrating on the medals at the worlds but also qualification to Rio. My aim is to be in a medal position. To achieve that it is a case of being in tip top condition, and achieving consistent results.
"I really believe that training here at the resort and acclimatising to the hot conditions has made a lot of difference to my performance."
The current leader of Men's Silver Fleet, after today's three races is Pedro Pascual (USA) who sailed impressively to gain a sixth, fourth and a second place in the last race. Tom Squires (GBR) is lying second.
There are three remaining races in the Final Series tomorrow, starting at 12:00 local time (CET+2). The top 10 from the Gold fleets (Men and Women) in the Final Series will then go forward to Saturday's double points-scoring Medal Race to determine the overall winners of the RS:X World Windsurfing Championships.