In a similar fashion to the last leg of the 49er European Grand Prix at Eckenforde in Germany, the first day of racing at the final round of the series at Goteborg in Sweden was subject to an intense opening day as tough conditions tested the 42 crews to their worlds best.

There was a clear emphasis on boathandling as the breeze spilled across the narrow course (which is sandwiched in between a shoreline and shipping lane in a river estuary) in strong and unpredictable gusts. The breeze steadily built from around 10 knots at the start of racing to 18 knots by the fourth race.

Following two average races in their group, RYA Team GBR members Ian Barker (Wales) and Simon Hiscocks (London) continued to show the level of performance that led them to fourth place overall in Germany with a clear win in race three. Ian explained: “We got a good start but sailed fairly conservatively up the beat as you can’t dive to one side looking for more breeze as it comes across the course in gusts so it’s easy to sail into a calm patch. Nothing is easy in a breeze like that” said Ian.

However, their form was hampered in race four as they collided with American Morgan Larson at the windward mark. “We went for a gap which closed shut on us at the last second” explained Barker after the race. They go into the second day in twenty seventh place overall.

Following the Grand Prix series, the next major event for a majority of the World Class Performance 49er squad will be the class European Championships in Portugal (in October) where Barker and Hiscocks will be looking to equal or improve on their Bronze Medal position last year.

World Class Performance Elite sailors Andy and Ian Budgen, from Hampshire, posted three consistent top ten results in their four races and are in twenty fourth place overall.

Racing continues tomorrow (Friday) and concludes on Sunday.

SWEDEN: Goteborg; 49er European Grand Prix Series (after day 1):
1, Santiago Lopez Vasquez and Javier De La Plaza (Esp) 2,1,2,6 – 11pts
2, Chris Nicholson and Daniel Philips (Aus) 8,5,1,1 – 15pts
3, Michael Hestbek and Jonathan Persson (Den) 1,9,2,3 – 15pts
4, Thomas Johanson and Jyrky Jarvi (Fin) 4,3,8,1 – 16pts
5, Francesco and Gabriele Bruni (Ita) 5,1,5,6 – 17pts
6, Christoffer Sundby and Vegard Arnhoff (Nor) 6,7,3,2 – 18pts
British Placings:
24, Andy and Ian Budgen – 19,8,10,10 – 47pts
27, Ian Barker and Simon Hiscocks – 15,13,1,22 – 51pts