Five-time Olympian and 1996 Olympic Champion Nikos Kaklamanakis made light work of atrocious conditions in Portland Harbour to move stealthily up the Raceboard Masters rankings at the 2009 IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Windsurfing World Championships today (Wednesday 26 August).
The Greek legend, also winner of three Mistral World Championships during a celebrated career, did not compete in the lighter breezes on his RS:X board on Monday’s opening day of the regatta opting to wait for conditions to become more favourable.
But the 41-year-old has been in sensational form since stepping on to the water on day two, winning all four races he has competed in, including the two run today in winds gusting over 30 knots and heavy rain.
Portugal’s own quadruple Olympian Joao Rodrigues continues to sit atop the pile in a fascinating Masters contest, Rodrigues posting two more second places to consolidate his lead while Skandia Team GBR RS:X coach Barrie Edgington moves up to second courtesy of two thirds.
Kaklamanakis is 10th with one more Did Not Compete (DNC) score to discard, which will kick in once the fleet races for an 11th time. They have currently completed six races.
Kaklamanakis is revered in his home country as one of Greece’s greatest ever sportsmen and for youngsters such as Stratis Doukas, who is competing at his first ever Worlds in the Bic Techno Under 17s, just being at the same event as a national hero is almost incomprehensible.
The 14-year-old said: “For me it is very inspiring to be next to an athlete like Nikos in the Greece team tent. Before I started windsurfing I knew he was a really good sailor but then he became my idol and to be so close to him here and to be able to ask his advice just makes me want to be like him.
“I have learned much already this week, to push myself further and further to be competitive with the best sailors. The standard of competition is very difficult but I learn all the time and want to learn much more.”
The Masters were the only division to race twice today, with the Raceboard Youth and Techno Open divisions both completing one race.
Britain’s Ali Masters, 17, remains in first place in the Youth section, scoring a third to put him a point ahead of Frenchman Oliver Pinlou with Benoit Bignot (FRA) third. Masters’ RYA Volvo Youth Squad teammate Izzy Hamilton, who celebrated her 17th birthday yesterday, is the top-ranked girl in the fleet.
In the Techno Open class, 17-year-old Spaniard Gonzalez Ruiz continues to dominate with four wins out of five with compatriots Sara Martel second and David Valliverdu completing the Spanish 1-2-3.
With today the final scheduled day of the qualifying series for the Techno Under 17 boys, attempts were made to get a sixth and final qualifying race in for both groups before the fleet is split into Gold and Silver fleets from tomorrow. Divided into two groups, and with the decision made to race the groups consecutively for safety reasons, the first group completed their sole race.
But with the wind suddenly increasing from 25 to over 30 knots, the race for the second group was abandoned meaning they will race tomorrow morning so that the whole fleet has completed six races before being split into Gold and Silver.
There was no racing at all for the Under 15 boys and girls and the Under 17 girls meaning Italy’s Veronica Fanciulli will resume her quest for the Techno Under 17 title tomorrow.
The 2009 Europeans silver medallist, who has scored two first places in her opening four races to sit a point ahead of Hadas Zaga from Israel, said: “I have enjoyed the event so far and I have most liked the flat water and the strategy of the wind at the venue.
“As this is my first Worlds as an Under 17 I did not come here expecting a big result as I am more looking at building up to trying to gain qualification for the Youth Olympics next year but I have concentrated well on the Championship and been happy with my sailing.”
Racing is scheduled to resume at 11am tomorrow.
The IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Worlds is the first of three back-to-back World Class events being run by the RYA, supported by UK Sport, being hosted at WPNSA over the next month with the RS:X World Championships taking place the week immediately following the IWA Worlds before the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta welcomes the cream of the World’s Olympic Classes sailors from 14 – 19 September.
To follow all the action from WPNSA visit www.ryaracingevents.org.uk