Italian dominance at the first RS1 World Championship

Italian dominance at the first RS1 World Championship

The first-ever RS21 World Championship in Biograd na Moru is officially completed.  At the historic competition for this class, 40 sailboats with 160 sailors from 13 countries took part, and all three medals went to Italian crews. The first place on the podium was won by Gianluca Grisoli, Andrea Casale, Fabio Gridelli, Giorgio Tortarolo with 18 minus points, the silver was Giovanni Meloni, Niccolo Bianchi, Camilla Cordero di Montezemolo, Pietro Negri with 25 points, while the bronze went to the crew consisting of Martin Reintjes, Francesco Rubagotti, Giulio Desiderato, Daniele Cassinari with 26 points. Two Croatian crews sailed in the championship: Luka Šangulin, Šime Markić, Tomislav Bašić and Duje Fržop finished 17th, while Mladen Peharda, Vjeko Orlandini, Vice Ugrinić and Petar Milun won 38th place.

The four days of racing gave the RS21 Class everything they could have hoped for in terms of showing off the key attributes of the RS21. Its one-design nature showcased an ability to perform in light and tricky conditions and handle a big breeze and waves whilst retaining the enjoyment and thrill factor. Culminating with three races on the final day added to the excitement with the added pressure that the discard would kick in and anything could happen to the results, every point counted. With the three final races close to the club, the breeze was coming off the land, making the shifts very hard to read, and a consistent performance was very hard to maintain. Most teams recorded big scores on the final day, but both Gianluca Grisoli and Hugh Watson and their crews did enough to earn their respective titles as Open and Corinthian World Champions.

In the eye of the class, the close friendships the RS21 sailors enjoyed on shore are almost as important as the close racing. The host club, JK Briva, working with the Ilirija Hotel Group, provided unparalleled facilities that meant no sooner were the sailors ashore they would find themselves stood at the bar, food in hand, debating the strategy of the day. While few of the teams had ever ventured to Croatia, let alone Biograd Na Moru, the playground they had for the class to enjoy the racing and how they welcomed the RS21 sailors into their family could not have been more fantastic. An army of local volunteers and a community focused on supporting sailing activity provided everything the sailors could have wanted. JK Briva is now firmly a destination of choice for the future.

Jack Fenwick, RS21 Class Activity Manager, commented, “While it’s hard to know what to expect from a new venue, JK Briva delivered more than we could have ever asked for. Everyone involved in the club worked above and beyond to ensure everything went as smoothly as possible for the RS21 sailors. The stunning scenery along the Dalmatian coastline provided a backdrop to rival any championship venue worldwide. Couple that with a race management team who knew exactly how to get the best from their venue, and we had some amazing racing for our first World Championship. Having a ringside seat in the umpire rib allowed me to see how much the sailors enjoyed the racing and how hard they fought for every place. Watching racing happen in 30 knots, where the majority were revelling in the conditions rather than just surviving, reaffirmed to me just how great the design of the RS21 is for big-breeze sailing. If the rumours are true about Puntaldia, we’re in for more of the same at next year’s World Championship, and I, for one, cannot wait. The only change I might make is I’d like to go racing myself.”

Michiel Geerling, RS Sailing Commercial Director, commented, “In Croatia, the RS21 Class have set the standard for future RS21 World Championships. Prioritising fantastic venues for good racing, we will not be shy to race in heavy conditions because the RS21 has proven that it can perform incredibly well, even in 30 knots of breeze. Regarding socials, JK Briva delivered Mediterranean food and drink with a Dalmation touch for our sailors to enjoy. Together, with a couple of key sponsors like Harken, MarkSetBot and North Sails, we will be building a longstanding International Class, inviting more nations to join our mission for more fantastic but also responsible racing. The use of MarkSetBots, reducing our use of plastic and fossil fuel will be just a small part of our mission towards zero-emissions sailing. Now it’s up to the RS21 Italian Class to deliver in 2023, we can’t wait.”

Alex Newton-Southon, CEO of Design and Technologies – RS Sailing, commented, “Congratulations to the new World Champions! I am so proud to have been a part of this event; thank you to everyone who made it possible. At RS, we always push to support the sport we love; the RS21 World Championship will certainly be a highlight for 2022. This is the beginning of something special, with much more racing in 2023, where we can expect more nations to join this great class that chooses excellent venues and fun socials. I am looking forward to this journey.”

With thanks to the RS21 World Championship sponsors MarkSetBot, North Sails, Harken, Sangulin Group, Ilirija Hotel Group, JK Briva Sailing Club, Biograd Na Moru, Lifejacket Skin Protection and RS Sailing.