Calasetta, 12th July 2021 – 205 O’pen Skiffs are lined up on the harbourside in Calasetta, ready for the 2021 World Championships to get underway. All the sailors, representing 6 countries, have one aim in mind: winning the 2021 World Championship title! The 2020 contest was postponed due to Covid restrictions, with 2021 seeing the O’pen Skiff caravan finally arriving at its destination here at the southern tip of Sardinia, a location perfectly suited to the world’s most dynamic Junior dinghy sailing class.
The big number of skippers present in Calasetta shows how keen the young competitors are to get back to racing again, and that O’pen Skiff has maintained it’s international appeal despite the pandemic. The only disappointment? The absence of some countries (New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Thailand etc…) due to the strict health restrictions that still apply in those places. They’ve already stated their aim to send even bigger, stronger teams for the 2022 World Championships. Here in Calasetta, the 131 Under 17s and 74 Under 13s signed up means that 205 racers from 6 countries will be on the start lines, an excellent entry under the circumstances!
At 7pm the official opening ceremony took place – a Covid-reduced affair obviously – minus the traditional parade through the streets, but including the speeches and team photos on the quay-side steps. After a two-year hiatus from international competition, the competitors, coaches and proud parents are all delighted to be back together, and to be experiencing the friendly-games atmosphere of the O’pen Skiff class.
Calasetta, 13th July. First light reveals grey skies and 25 knots of wind on the beach, a chilly welcome back to competition for all the teams. Worried at the prospect of starting the Championships in such difficult conditions, they nevertheless go through their preparations of boats and bodies to be ready to take on the beefed-up weather… The waves are even heavier in the middle of the bay, with gusts reaching 35 knots and more. The Race Officer decided to put the start time back until at least 3pm before making a decision.
2.30pm: the wind has actually strengthened, forcing the Race Committee to decide that it’s just not worth sending anyone out. So it’s everyone back here this morning with the hope that the second day will be blessed with more helpful conditions…