Published: Tuesday, 14 October 2014

It was a day for calculated thinking and well measured approaches for the 171 sailors from 21 nations across six classes as racing commenced at ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao, which runs from Oct 12-18.

The wind was a steady 8-9 knots but it was the strong current that played the biggest factor on opening day.

Those who read the conditions well rose to the top of the leader boards as three races were completed in the Men’s and Women’s RS:X and two in the Men’s and Women’s 470, Laser and Laser Radial.

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Laser and Laser Radial

Tonci Stipanovic (CRO) and Pavlos Kontdies (CYP) were models of consistency on the opening day with the former posting two bullets and the latter taking two seconds.

Wannes Van Laer (BEL) holds third position after the conclusion of race day one following a third and an eighth.

In the Laser Radial it was another 2013 victor, Dongshuang Zhang (CHN), who leads the way. Zhang was consistent on the racetrack posting two second place finishes to lead Sara Winther (NZL) by four points.

Gu Win (CHN) stole the show in the opening race of the day as she took an early lead. The Chinese racer got clean air and was able to extend her advantage as the race played out. She followed it up with an eighth in the second race to occupy third place overall.

2013 Laser Radial World Champion Tina Mihelic (CRO) took the second bullet of the day and sits in fifth.


Men’s and Women’s RS:X

Greece’s Byron Kokkalanis grabbed the lead in the Men’s RS:X fleet with a solid day of racing. Posting a 1-4-2 score line the Greek racer is one point ahead of China’s Xue Jingqi.

The Greek sailor, visiting Qingdao for the first time, is revelling in the Chinese racing and culture. “I love the place,” says Kokkalanis. “I’ve never been here before. It’s my first time. I did my campaign in 2008 but I didn’t qualify for the Olympics so it’s nice to be here and to see the place. The Opening Ceremony was good. I’ve never seen an Opening Ceremony in the World Cup like that, it was really nice.”

The day’s bullets went the way of Jingqi and Fu Erhao (CHN) who is down in sixth.

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In the Women’s RS:X Lu Yunxiu (CHN) and Olga Maslivets (RUS) share the lead on three points. Maslivets was the stand out performer in the Women’s RS:X picking up an opening race bullet and following it up with a second and a fourth.

Yunxiu discards a 24th in the second race of the day so will have to remain consistent throughout the remaining races to ensure she keeps in touch at the top of the bunch.

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Men’s and Women’s 470

Greece’s Pavlos Kagialis and Panagiotis Mantis have been one of the top performers in the Men’s 470 over 2014 and peaked at the Santander 2014 ISAF Sailing World Championships where they walked away with bronze. The pair have carried that form over to ISAF Sailing World Cup Qingdao and with a 2-4 score line they lead the 18-boat Men’s 470.

As the week progresses it will be the team with the most consistent results that will walk away with the spoils. Race 1 victors Weng Daoliang and Lin Qiaowen (CHN) picked up an 11th in the second race to sit fourth overall. Zhou Chuancheng and Lin Yiqiang (CHN) took the second race bullet but posted a sixth in the opening race.

In the Women’s 470 China’s Wei Mengxi and Xu Yani lead after a second and a bullet. They have a slender three-point advantage over Japan’s Ai Yoshida and Miho Yoshioka.