Russell Coutts at the opening ceremony puts the fun for the very young sailors that the Open Skiff class is trying to put in the foreground

Rimini, Italy – The Open Skiff World Championship, which boasts the highest number of participants ever with 286 competitors from 14 nations, commenced with an opening ceremony that celebrated the rich history of Rimini. On Sunday, July 16, in the late afternoon, the event witnessed a beautiful and engaging ceremony. It began with a parade of the participating teams from Arco Augusto and culminated in a route through the streets of Rimini’s historic center, leading to the magnificent amphitheater of Piazza sull’Acqua, situated beneath the ancient Roman Tiberius Bridge.

The presentation of the teams was preceded by a special appearance from Sir Russell Coutts, an esteemed figure in sailing (one Olympic gold medal, 5 America’s Cup victories, and one as CEO of Team USA). Sir Coutts, who arrived in Rimini with the New Zealand team, delivered a brief speech emphasizing the importance of fun, a value that the Open Skiff class aims to prioritize. Notable attendees included local authorities, as well as regional and national sports officials, including Giuseppe D’Amico, Vice President of the Italian Sailing Federation.

The Club Nautico Rimini, the organizer of this record-breaking world championship, assembled its competitive team for the symbolic ribbon-cutting ceremony, officially inaugurating the event. The ceremony was strongly supported by Guido Sirolli, President of the Italian Open Skiff class. Following a journey into the historical origins of Rimini, highlighting its ancient Roman heritage, the city rekindled its connection to the sea, its beach, and the wind. Despite the scorching heat, the wind intensified throughout the first day of racing, starting from 6 knots and gradually increasing to 12 knots during the fourth and final race.

Witnessing the fleet of nearly 300 young sailors at sea, divided between the two racing courses, was a spectacular sight. It was evident how much fun they were having with this easy, enjoyable, and fast boat, embodying the essence of the Open Skiff class.

After the first day of racing, the rankings include the application of the first discard, which was implemented after the fourth race. Among the under-17 category (64 participants), the French sailors Blum (1-11-4-2) and Berenger (2-2-3-13), the first female competitor, claimed the first and second positions respectively. The German sailor Malte Kreutzer secured the third spot. The highest-ranking Italian participant was Nicolò Giomarelli, finishing in sixth place with scores of 27-4-16-1. The fleet of under-12 sailors was also substantial, with 57 competitors. They showcased increasingly competitive races this year. The Ukrainian sailor, Yasnolobov Sviatodslav (adopted by Rimini), consistently demonstrated impressive performance, with three second-place finishes and a partial victory, securing a seven-point lead over his closest rivals, the Italian Fabio Serra and the New Zealander Oliver Tiedemann.

Four races were held for the under-15 category, comprising a total of 164 participants. Italian-Australian sailor Corrado Dorrington made a strong start (2-1-3-1) and claimed the top position, followed by the Spanish sailor Costabella, who initially struggled in light winds but secured victories in the last two races (9-4-1-1). Timothe Lesniak currently holds the provisional third place with scores of 6-4-1-7.

Considering that the wind subsided early in the afternoon on this first day, the second day of racing, scheduled for Tuesday, will begin with the first races at 14:30.

Photo gallery: