An exciting OpenSkiff World Championship came to an end in style thanks to the excellent organisation of Club Nautico Rimini, which together with the staff of the National and International Open Skiff class and the Race, Jury, and Protest Officials of the Italian Sailing Federation and World Sailing allowed everything to run smoothly.
It was an intense week characterised by 14 races in total, very warm weather, light wind and current conditions, with the last and decisive day marked by the pleasant variation of the initial “garbino” wind turned in the second race under 15 from the north, which gave a more dynamic final touch.
But what really made this event special was the welcoming and friendly atmosphere that pervaded the entire championship. The teams established a genuine friendship, creating a family atmosphere that accompanied the young participants (from the promising Under 12s, to the numerous Under 15s and the older Under 17s) all the way to the awards ceremony, in a unique and memorable experience, in the most well-attended OpenSkiff World Championship in history, with 286 competitors from 14 nations.
The podiums were not the monopoly of a few nations. In the under-15 category, where New Zealand’s Ewan Brezle learnt very well from coach-champion Russell Coutts (present at the opening ceremony): And so it was that in the largest category, the only one that was divided after qualifying into gold and silver fleet with a total of 164 competitors, Ewan, who had already made a name for himself in the last two Italian national regattas in Formia and Cagliari, was able to react in the final of the championship to an initial performance that was below his potential, with a sequence of partials that allowed him to make the final push and win the rainbow title. This was not the case for the Spaniard Pepe Garcìa, who ran into an early start in the last race and dropped to a still excellent second place. Third was his compatriot Oriol Costabella. On the podium, fourth place went to Frenchman Lesniak Timothe and fifth to Australian Kaison Puls. Best girl was the French Clara Zunquin.
A solitary victory in the under-12s went to the Ukrainian Sviatoslav Yasnolobov, welcomed by Club Nautico Rimini with his father as coach after the outbreak of war. From the very first trials Sviatolslav grinded out victories or first positions, increasing day by day the gap from his adversaries: he also won the fourteenth and last trial, inflicting 64 points on the Polish Jan Waskiewicz, second. A beautiful bronze medal for the Sardinian (LNI Sulcis) Fabio Serra, only 3 points behind silver and always very regular. Also on the podium for the top five were New Zealander Oliver Tiedemann, fourth, and the other Italian Lapo Manigrasso (CVTalamone). Aurora Milanese (Italy), sixth overall, was awarded as best girl.
And now we come to the under-17 category, the one that gave Italy the gold, thanks to the italian Niccolò Giomarelli, who in the last race with a fine garbino at 14 knots controlled his direct adversaries, deserving the final victory and the world title. Nicolò won by a margin of 14 points over Frenchman Blum; bronze to German Malte Kreutzer. Also on the podium for fourth and fifth place respectively were France’s Margot Berenger, best girl, and Poland’s Staron.
Guido Sirolli, President of the Italian Open Skiff Class, comments: “The time is ripe for the OpenSkiff class to take off with even greater strength in numbers, diffusion and technical level; Italy is leading the way, but all the nations are responding well with good participation, as demonstrated at the World Championship in Rimini with a new record of almost 300 helmsmen. The boat and class rules have been designed for young people, who should find fun in racing as well as sailing. The side of freestyle (sailing standing up or doing a mandatory 360° penalty) maintained even at the Worlds shows that despite the world’s best being in Rimini, a format is maintained in which excessive agonism is ‘left at home’. The boat glides with a little wind, forming the characteristic ‘whisker’ of water spray on the bow, which makes it spectacular. The refereeing on the water is in line with the most modern sailing classes, especially fast and foil. Italy played its part with the impeccable organisation entrusted to the Club Nautico Rimini, thanks to its President Gianfranco Santolini and his secretarial staff with Diana and assistants; thanks to Committee Chairmen Mario Lupinelli (U15) and Franco Pagliarani (U12 and U17) and to our own Laura Pennati, general secretary of the Italian Open Skiff class, but also involved with her own club. We are thinking about 2024 with the proposal of new ideas to encourage comparison between clubs and nations: the European Championship on the Upper Garda has been confirmed thanks to the organisation of Circolo Vela Arco, and we will start again with the Euro-Challenge, a circuit with four stages between Italy, Germany, Hungary and France. The class is ready to welcome those who believe in our philosophy by proposing a “smart, joyful/fun and fast boat!”