Radial Youth European Championships
by Lucija Ruzevic
The 2018 Laser Radial Youth European Championship took place on Lake Balaton, Hungary, April 7-14, 2018. There were a total of 207 sailors from 29 different countries. We raced only three out of the six days due to no wind. The first day the wind was between six to ten knots from the East/Northeast with flat water. It was very shifty and was key to get to the first shift/pressure line before the rest of the fleet. Our race course was very short (the whole race took about 40 minutes) so there were very little chances to make a comeback if a start didn’t work out or you missed the first shift. The second day we were postponed until two o’clock because of no wind. When we finally went out on the water, we were postponed and ended up not racing the whole day. The third day was similar to the second one. Thankfully the club had activities we could do while waiting, and we got to meet sailor from other countries. We were postponed on land till four o’clock when the race committee finally decided to not send us out at all because there was no wind. The fourth day of racing there was finally wind! The conditions were the same as Day 1 except the wind died off a lot at the end of the race day and became really shifty and unstable. We did three races that day to catch up to the race schedule. Thankfully, on the fifth day, the wind decided to show and was about 15-20 knots from the South/Southwest with really sloppy chop. The girls were the first start and had to redo the first start about 6 times. It took an hour to finally get the girls racing. The wind didn’t have as big oscillations in direction as the other two days but shifted more frequently. When the wind died off, the shifts lasted a lot longer and sailing a side would pay off, but when it picked up it was key to stay towards the middle and play the shifts. The last day there was no wind again and we waited until three for the final decision to end the regatta.
The competition was close and you had to fight for every point. It was easy to lose twenty places just around a mark! The courses were very short, so the whole fleet would round a mark at the same time. It was important to stay calm and to see the big picture instead of focusing on one aspect of the race, like a mark rounding. The people that did well planned ahead and stayed calm. Even with only three days of racing, you got to experience different conditions and sail against some of the best sailors in the world. I can’t wait to compete in this regatta again next year!