Spectacular first day at International 5.5 Metre Championship

Jean Genie leads provisional classification ahead of Aspire and Artemis

Porto Cervo, 25 September 2023. The International 5.5 Metre Class World Championship got off to a perfect start with a spectacular day of racing that saw the fleet complete the two scheduled windward-leewards accompanied by sunshine, significant waves and a northerly wind of 15 to 18 knots. The event is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda together with the International 5.5 Metre Class and the support of Technical Partner Quantum Sails.

Today's conditions were decidedly challenging for the fleet, not so much for the intensity of the breeze, as for the shifting sea state, with waves of around two metres on the course.

As the first warning signal sounded at 12.30 p.m., the fleet set off grouped closely on the left side of the course. The Jean Genie, having proved very fast during last week’s Scandinavian Gold Cup in winds higher than 10 knots, managed to get the better of Aspire, helmed by double Olympic medallist Mateusz Kusznierewicz, who had led the fleet on the first leg and rounded the first windward mark in front. A tight battle ensued, with The Jean Genie finally crossing the finish line in the lead ahead of the Polish team, followed in third by Artemis, helmed by Kristian Nergaard, a sailor with multiple class championship wins to his name. 

The second race of the day started at around 2.30 p.m. and once again the crew of Jean Genie, visibly at ease on board, led for the duration, making the most of the waves and handling the wind shifts with skill. The Polish crew chased their British rivals throughout, hoping to take advantage of any mistakes – none materialised however, and they remained in second. A battle for third place between the two participating Norwegian teams was clinched on the finish line by Otto (NOR 69, Bent Christian Wilhelmsen, Lasse Berthelsen, Herve Cunningham), leaving Artemis just a few seconds behind in fourth.

The provisional overall ranking sees Jean Genie (GBR 43, Peter Morton, Andrew Palfrey, Ruairidh Scott) in first place, Aspire (POL 17, Mateusz Kusznierewicz, Przemysław Gacek, Edward Wright) in second, and Artemis (NOR, Kristian Nergaard, Johan Barne, Trond Solli-Saether) in third. In the Evolution fleet, Criollo 30 (GER 30, Andreas Christiansen, Felix Christiansen, Moritz Christiansen) recorded the best performance today, while Cibele (ITA 72, Fabrizio Cavazza, Vittorio Zaoli, Duccio Colombi) triumphed among the classic hulls.

The Polish team on Aspire, second in the provisional classification, International 5.5 Metre Class World Championships. Photo credit: Robert Deaves

Andrew Palfrey, The Jean Genie: "It was a very challenging day. The sea state played an important role in today's performance. The waves were often transverse to the wind, and together with the wind shifts it made sailing particularly tricky. Our crew sailed well, there is fantastic communication on board and smooth decision-making. Overall, therefore, it was a very good day. We are only at the beginning of the event, but we are happy to have won the first two races in the World Championship."

Kristian Nergaard, helmsman on Artemis: "In the first race we didn't get off to a good start, but we handled the wind shifts, as much as 20 degrees, and the waves, as best we could. We got a good start in the next race, but we dropped back a few places because our opponents were better at using the current to their advantage. In any case, we are happy with a third and fourth place today and we are looking forward to racing tomorrow!"

Artemis, third in the provisional classification, International 5.5 Metre Class World Championships. Photo credit: Robert Deaves

Up to eight races remain to be completed, two per day, until the final day of the event on 29 September. Racing resumes tomorrow, 26 September, with the first starting signal scheduled for 12 noon and forecasts of a northerly breeze of 8 to 12 knots.

Video recap of Day 1 at the International 5.5 Metre Class World Championships

Racing can be followed on the YCCS Instagram account. For further information, results, entry list, programme, news, photos, please visit the section dedicated to the event or contact the YCCS Press Office.
YCCS Press Office

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