The wind filled in as was hoped for this second day of competition. Meaning that the 400+ young windsurfers contesting this magnificent T293 World Championships here in Brest, were able to complete several rounds of heats by the end of a great day's action on the water.
The riders rolled up at the competitor village at 11hrs, but had to be patient as the wind was just beginning to rise. The forecast predicted a light north-easterly that would combine with the localised thermals, but they had some difficulty lending their weight to the conditions because of a layer of early cloud cover.
So it wasn't until 15.30hrs that the first heats started, in a steady northerly in the end that filled in more and more as the day wore on. All the competition classes were able to complete three rounds of heats at the same time, but not always exactly the same conditions : for instance, the Under 15s, much closer to the bridge found their wind much more disturbed by the structure, and of course all the wind shifts and changes were not happening at the same moment across the three race areas spread over the whole bay from north to south. (results available online at the event website)
More than thirty countries have made the trip to Brest for this truly international competition, and each country has it's own view of what makes ideal conditions, and brings their own sailing traditions to the party.
Italy is one of the best represented, after the host nation France. The Italian national coach is Mauro Covre : "We managed two medals at the ISAF World Championships in Portugal : Mattia Camboni and Marta Maggetti carried the flag in great style. We're hoping for some good results here... But our riders are used to different conditions than those here in Brest : we don't have these currents and we're used to much shorter waves, and the wind is much rougher but actually stronger...".
The Tunisians were very happy with their first experience of the bay of Brest, apart from the rather chillier water temperature (!), otherwise they felt quite at home in the conditions. Ons Meliani is the official Tunisian representative. "Our youngsters are doing us very proud, they're sailing well because actually the wind conditions very much like they are inTunisia : not much real wind but lots of sea breezes and thermals"...
The Tunisians may have felt comfortable, but the eight Japanese who have made the long trip were feeling totally disoriented. 19 year old Ishii Ryohei is from Osaka : "The conditions here are completely different (to Osaka) and it hasn't been easy for us to adjust. We're used to much lighter conditions in general... and the water back home is much warmer ! But this is the first time I've travelled outside Japan for a competition and I'm really happy to be here."
Differing opinions maybe, but it was the same smile on the lips of all the competitors who were able to come and measure themselves against other riders from the world over, under sunny skies with generous wind, ideal conditions for windsurfing.
Wednesday's conditions are forecast almost identical to today : rendezvous back in Brest tomorrow morning at 11hrs for another great day's T293 racing.