An intense week in Rimini for all 286 O'pen Skiff racers!

The 2023 O’pen Skiff World Championships came to a beautiful conclusion with two final rounds of racing in a fairly strong but very changeable wind. The storm clouds hovering nearby caused a 180 degree wind-shift, making the skippers’ work very tricky and maintaining the suspense all the way to the final race, for the U15s.  

16th to 21st July – Rimini – Italy

This very well-subscribed World Championships confirms the vigorous good health of the class, especially in France and Italy where the early-season national events have consistently had over 100 young riders on the start line. Same goes for America, where the National Championships attracted 85 racers for a UN Regatta that featured some specially creative race formats.

There’s also a welcome return of the German fleet with over 20 riders registered, the rising numbers of Hungarian and Polish racers with 8 and 30 entries respectively, plus the clock-steady progression of the very busy Swiss team with 10 racers.

The Australian and New Zealand teams, absent during the entire pandemic problems, are well and truly back ! They’re bringing a team of over a dozen highly-skilled and competition-ready young skippers to the mix. The NZ team are currently enjoying some prep time on the iconic Lake Garda with 5-time America’s Cup winner and Olympic Gold Medallist Russell Coutts, giving them the benefit of his winning wisdom!

On the start line for the Championship racing will be also teams from Brazil, Spain, India, Japan, and United States… The U12s and U17s both have a very solid entry of 60+, but by far the biggest fleet will be the U15s.

Benoit Tréguilly, President of the O’pen Skiff International Class

"With nearly 290 racers registered, this World Championships confirms the very strong return of the O’pen Skiff class after the interruptions of the Covid years. The countries powering the O’pen Skiff resurgence are France and Italy and they make up a solid percentage of the fleet but some of the central European countries, back in bigger numbers once again, could provide some serious challengers "

" There are plans for a Euro Tour in 2024 to give the European teams a chance of more international race meetings outside the annual World Championships. There are other pleasant surprises, coming from far-flung countries like India with 4 riders and Brazil, making its first visit to the O’pen Skiff main event, plus the New Zealand and Australian teams making their welcome return to the big stage. We’re also very pleased to have succeeded in launching the new U12s category, and with it the specially-adapted 3.5 m2 sail.

The 60 registrations for this category is nearly double the 2022 number. That’s a sign of success, and helps assure the long-life of the class, bringing a new future generation of young up-for-it skippers into the O’pen Skiff tribe/family!" 

Guido Sirolli, president of the Italian class

"286 pre-registrations from 13 nations! This massive swell of highly motivated young racers will be welcomed by the Club Nautico Rimini, working alongside the Italian and International Open Skiff Class Committees and TAHE, supported by the Italian Sailing Federation. The whole circus will be the life and soul of Rimini beach life for the week of 16th to 21st July "

" Three categories will be competing for the coveted rainbow medal ribbons : the youngest group of the Under-12s, the biggest WC fleet of the Under-15s, and the Under-17s. The varied race format programme starts on Sunday 16th with a long-distance coastal run, followed by the traditional opening ceremony in the evening. From Monday, 17th to Friday, 21st July, the fleet races will take centre stage, a five day festival of high level sportsmanship, fun, and respect for the O’pen Skiff rules.

The Open Skiff class chose the option of on-the-water refereeing and immediate resolution of protests, to minimize time lost on post-race inquests. Meaning that time on the beach is spent making new friends, catching up with old ones, and enjoying the O’pen Skiff Tribe experience. We will fully respect for the spirit of the O’pen Skiff international class.

As ever, we expect to see the strong home team well-represented on the podiums despite the big challenge from down under! "

Rimini, the Adriatic Penthouse Suite

The coolest seaside resort on the north Italy coast, Rimini is famous for its wide, welcoming beaches and busy nightlife. It’s one of THE destinations on the Riviera. White sand beaches and sumptuous sea-view villas will be the backdrop for these World Championships. But there’s more to Rimini than that, its reputation also comes from its excellent and very dynamic sailing club, which organises a series of summer sailing events, notably in dinghy racing. The O’pen Skiff contestants can look forward to a truly “Dolce Vita” week!

Day 4 & 5

That made it an action-packed and intense week with 14 rounds of racing completed in a weather scenario that very similar every day.

It was hot, very light wind in the morning filling in all the way through the afternoon to the evening, but very changeable and with a strong current which put a premium on sailing technique and tactical decisions for all 3 of the fleets. 

Whether it was on or off the water, all the competitors very much appreciated the excellent organisation by the host club, Club Nautico Rimini. The legendary Italian club’s work in organizing the 286 young competitors was faultless and every one present had a great and unique experience.

In the end the rankings were very varied with no individual nation dominating the event. Coming from 14 different countries, the racers were able to max the race experience and enjoy making new friends. That’s all part of the O’pen Skiff spirit! 

Let’s start with by far the biggest fleet (164 entries), the U15s, which was divided into two sections after the first two days, called “Gold” and “Silver”.

In the Gold Section, New Zealander Ewan Brazle confirmed the great form he’d demonstrated during a series of “training” races in Italy during June. He’d been steadily climbing the rankings all week, eventually getting in front of Spain’s Pepe Garcia, the leader, who made a mess of his start in the final race.

Another Spaniard, Oriol Costabella, finished on the third podium step. He was followed by France’s Timothée Lesniak and Australian Kaison Puls. France’s Clara Zunquin had a great result as the top placed girl in an excellent sixth place. 

In the U12’s, Ukranian Sviatoslav Yasnolobov was the runaway winner of this championships. After the start of the war in Ukraine, Sviatolslav and his father/trainer left their country and were taken under the wing of Club Nautico Rimini, where he made extremely rapid progress to get to his current, excellent level. During the course of the week he racked up victories and top three placings, pulling far ahead of his adversaries.

For his closing flourish, he walked away with the final race to finish 64 points ahead of the runner up, Poland’s Jan Waskiewicz in the final ranking! Just three points behind Jan, in the bronze medal spot, was Sardinian Fabio Serra.

Just outside the podium places New Zealand’s Oliver Tiedemann finished fourth with Italy’s Lapo Manigrasso fifth. Aurora Milanese (Italy), was the top placed girl in sixth place. 

In the U17s category, a home victory with Italian Niccolò Giomarelli taking the gold medal, thanks to a superb final race where he dealt well with the wind-shift and kept his direct rivals at a distance. He beat France’s Moritz Blum by 14 points, who was followed home by Germany’s Malte Kreutzer.

A superb performance by France’s Margot Berenger saw her finish just off the podium in fourth, with Poland’s Hubert Staron following in fifth. 

Day 3

The days roll by, every one better than the one before here in Rimini, with the medal scenarios starting to take shape. The wind is light at midday when the fleets are sent out like every day, but fills in well by mid-afternoon thanks to the local thermals. The U15s had three races, and the U17s and U12s two each.

At the mid-point of the competition all three categories have had the same number of completed races (9). 

As regards the rankings, there was a minor change in the U12s with Italy's Lapo Manigrasso leapfrogging New Zealander Olivet Tiedemann for the third step.

Still out in front is Ukraine's Yasnolobov Sviatoslav who's literally skimming his way to victory with a comfortable lead over the rest of the chasers. 

Unbelievably, in the U15s, the first three in the GOLD group are on equal points ! Which means everything is still possible for Italy's Corrado Dorrington (1), Spain's Pepe García (2), and France's Clara Zunquin (3) for the podium spots in the "Queen" event. The next two days will decide everything !

In the U17s, France's Blum Moritz managed to force his way to top spot by winning the last race of the day. But only just. He's on equal points with Germany's Kreutzer Malte, both of them only 2 points ahead of Italy's Giomarelli Niccolo.

Still everything to play for at this excellently organised World Championships, on and off the water. 

Day 2

It was a warm day with light winds, making the trials highly technical.

The starts were punctual on both race courses, and the two under-15 fleets competed in an additional two races, following Monday's four races, in order to reach the minimum number of races required for qualifying. From tomorrow onwards, the fleet will be divided into gold and silver fleets, with the top 82 racers competing together. 

In the under-12 category, Ukrainian sailor Yasnolobov Sviatodslav excelled in the light winds, so much so that he finished alongside the under-17 fleet, which had started at least 5 minutes earlier.

Sviatodslav, a member of Club Nautico Rimini, currently holds a commanding lead with 16 points, ahead of Italian sailor Fabio Serra (now 4-3-6).

In third place is New Zealander Oliver Tiedemann, who claimed first position in the latest race. Among the under-17s, the top positions are closely contested.

Italian sailor Nicolò Giomarelli maintains the lead (3-1-2), with a two-point advantage over Poland's Kuzniarski (1-7-7). Frenchwoman Margot Berenger follows closely behind (12-2-6), trailing by just one point in third place. 

In the larger under-15 category, Corrado Dorrington (1-5-13) remains in the lead. Spanish sailor Pepe García is in second place, five points behind, and Frenchman Timothe Lesniak is in third place, only one point behind García.

Clara Zunquin, also from France, secured first place in the sixth and final race. Spaniard Oriol Costabella achieved a partial victory in the first race of the day and is currently fifth overall.

Racing continue! 

Day 0 & 1

The Open Skiff World Championship, which boasts the highest number of participants ever with 286 competitors from 13 nations, commenced with an opening ceremony that celebrated the rich history of Rimini. On Sunday, July 16, in the late afternoon, the event witnessed a beautiful and engaging ceremony.

It began with a parade of the participating teams from Arco Augusto and culminated in a route through the streets of Rimini's historic center, leading to the magnificent amphitheater of Piazza sull'Acqua, situated beneath the ancient Roman Tiberius Bridge.

The Club Nautico Rimini, the organizer of the event, wanted to highlight the ancient Roman heritage of the town and its connection to the sea, its beach, and the wind.

The presentation of the teams was preceded by a special appearance from Sir Russell Coutts, an esteemed figure in sailing (one Olympic gold medal, 5 America's Cup victories, and one as CEO of Team USA). Sir Coutts, who arrived in Rimini with the New Zealand team, delivered a brief speech emphasizing the importance of fun, a value that the Open Skiff class aims to prioritize.

Despite the scorching heat, the wind intensified throughout the first day of racing, starting from 6 knots and gradually increasing to 12 knots during the fourth and final race.

Witnessing the fleet of nearly 300 young sailors at sea, divided between the two racing courses, was a spectacular sight. It was evident how much fun they were having with this easy, enjoyable, and fast boat, embodying the essence of the Open Skiff class.

After the first day of racing, the rankings include the application of the first discard, which was implemented after the fourth race. Among the under-17 category (64 participants), the French sailors Blum (1-11-4-2) and Berenger (2-2-3-13), the first female competitor, claimed the first and second positions respectively. The German sailor Malte Kreutzer secured the third spot.

The fleet of under-12 sailors was also substantial, with 57 competitors. They showcased increasingly competitive races this year. The Ukrainian sailor, Yasnolobov Sviatodslav (adopted by Rimini), consistently demonstrated impressive performance, with three second-place finishes and a partial victory, securing a seven-point lead over his closest rivals, the Italian Fabio Serra and the New Zealander Oliver Tiedemann.

Two races were held for the under-15 category, comprising a total of 164 participants. Italian-Australian sailor Corrado Dorrington made a strong start (2-1-3-1) and claimed the top position, followed by the Spanish sailor Costabella, who initially struggled in light winds but secured victories in the last two races (9-4-1-1). Timothe Lesniak currently holds the provisional third place with scores of 6-4-1-7.

Considering that the wind subsided early in the afternoon on this first day, the second day of racing, scheduled for Tuesday, will begin with the first races at 14:30.