[Written by Laurie Fullerton] Thomas di Luciano of Argentina – who is in first place with 10 points after one day of racing in the 10th annual Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup, had a great start to this Optimist Class Championship of Champions.
“Each race got better and better for me,” he said. “At first, I was adapting to conditions, but by the last race I felt I was sailing well.” Thomas placed 2nd at IODA 2012 South American Championship and is a top competitor here.
With 15-18 knot winds gusting to 20 on the Great Sound – day one of the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup offered optimal conditions for the heavier, older sailors who excelled here during four races. Yet, the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup results today may set the stage for lead changes throughout the regatta as the lighter winds are predicted over the next few days.
This gives the younger or lighter competitors a chance to fight back. They will have their work cut out for them because the top of the fleet is loaded with talent and experience both from its international and Bermudian sailors.
The 38-strong team of Junior Gold Cup sailors faced a frontal system on the Great Sound that delayed racing and sailing coach Tom Herbert-Evans noted that “the weather meant it was hard for the kids to pick their strategy and stick it out. The weather meant that there were some very talented sailors with didn’t shine today but watch out because the light breezes tomorrow will really level out the playing field.”
Douglas Elmes of Ireland is currently in second place with 12 points and has been consistent throughout. He is the first place finisher at the Irish Nationals.
Bermuda talent is within striking distance, too, as one of the biggest standouts today was Bermudian Peter Dill, who is currently in third place with 19 points and racing in his third Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup. Dill led the regatta up until the fourth race.
He said the “breeze was what I favor and in the heavy breezes I feel pretty good. I am going to try to do as well as possible tomorrow in the lighter air.”
For New Zealand sailor Leonard Takahashi-Fry, some gear failure held him back in the first race, but he came back to fourth place with 25 points. “I had a set back in the first race with my halyard, but it got better after that. I am not too concerned about the lighter air tomorrow and I have a strategy. Don’t sail to the corners, stay consistent.”
Chase Cooper of Bermuda is also sailing well and is currently in eighth place. “It was great racing but I think the sailors get tired in these conditions,” Cooper said. “These international sailors are really good.
While the results today definitely helped the more seasoned competitors, the light air forecast could show some different conditions and results tomorrow.
“It is my experience that the cream rises to the top but different conditions could really settle things out tomorrow,” said event chairman Somers Cooper. “But, for Bermudians, Peter Dill’s performance was nothing short of spectacular and it was a proud moment for Bermuda.” Drop-out races will come into play later in the week to mix up the standings.
Racing starts Friday and Saturday at 11:00 on Bermuda’s Great Sound or Granaway Deep. Sunday the final race is held between the Petite Finals and the Finals of the Argo Group Gold Cup on Hamilton Harbour
- Photos by Charles Anderson/RBYC
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