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Spain sail into lead at Cherbourg

Sailing 2 September 2018

Hosts France and Australia in top 3, after 2 days

CHERBOURG — The weather was nearly perfect, for an ideal weekend of sailing off the coast of Cherbourg, France. The stunning French harbour is hosting the 3rd edition of the World University Sailing Championships and competition got underway on Saturday 1 September, for the 10 participating nations in the fray. 


The weather may have been ideal, but strong winds made the competition rather tricky.  It was a game of patience throughout the first day, more so because the teams had to compete in rotation as only 13 boats were allowed to be at sea at any given time. This meant others had to wait and many of the student athletes made the most of it by resting and relaxing in the athlete’s village and soaking up the summer. 


At the end of the first day, it was the regular table toppers Spain, France and Australia in the lead. The local French teams are largely made up of students from the Normandy and Cherbourg region and for them, this is home turf – or rather, home surf. But Spain have the edge, at the moment. 


“This day was difficult because of very unstable winds and also because of the very good level of the other competitors,” said Alberto Basadre Lopez, skipper of the ESP2 crew from Spain. “The championship lasts several days and our objective was to start strong, to be in contention for the title.” 


The French team felt that the waiting time between rotations actually worked to their advantage. “We got organised well and prepped,” said Pierrick Letouzé, skipper of the crew FRA2, of France. “That gave us confidence.”


After 8 courses on Day 2, the crew of AUS 2 from Australia moved into second spot, pushing the host team into third spot, while Spain remained firm at the top of the standings. The leading women’s crew is FRA3, which is currently placed 4th in the temporary rankings. 

“It was a beautiful day for us, especially at the end when the wind got up a little more,” said Thomas Grimes, skipper of the crew AUS2. “We were able to adapt our tactics and learn from our errors the day before.


Competition continues till 5 September and the ten nations in the fray are: Australia, South Korea, Italy, China, Singapore, Netherlands, Austria, Japan, Spain and hosts France. Monday, 3 September is the last day to qualify for the Golden Circle or Silver, and to get closer to the title of University World Champion.


You can see the full results here and watch the highlights of Day 1 in this video.