|KIEL, GERMANY-(21-6-2006) Gusty and shifty conditions of 10-25 knots greeted competitors on the first day of Olympic classes sailing at Kiel Week 2006 (21-25 June).
Wednesday's racing at the German Olympic Sailing Centre saw a mixed bag for the slimline 29-sailor Skandia Team GBR contingent, but there were some solid opening races from both seasoned campaigners and upcoming new talents in several classes.
World silver medallists Leigh McMillan and Will Howden had a strong opening day in the Tornado, in spite of some big place changes around the course. The British pair did well to claw their way back to seventh after dropping into a windless zone during their first race of the day, and went on to finish third in the second race, just behind Spain's ISAF World Sailors of the Year, Fernando Enchavari and Anton Paz.
McMillan and Howden are currently in third overall, just one point behind the Spaniards, with Australians Darren Bundock and Glenn Ashby getting the perfect regatta start with two bullets.
'It was a good day for us,' said Howden. 'We sailed conservatively today which was a good option when you look at the up and downs that happened around us.
'It's good to have the first day under our belts, and we're looking forward to the rest of the week.'
Development squad Laser sailor Nick Thompson - gold medallist at the 2004 ISAF Youth Worlds - also had a superb start to his Kiel Week campaign. The 20-year-old from Lymington posted a 4,3,2 in the three races of the day to sit in third overall, while European Champion Paul Goodison is in 12th with 3,10,3 for his first day's efforts.
Strong starts and good positioning on the first beat led to a good day for 49er transitional squad sailors Dave Evans and Rick Peacock. They're in fifth overall with the help of two thirds and a sixth from their opening three races.
In the 2.4mR Paralympic class, world silver medallist Helena Lucas didn't quite have the campaign start she was hoping for, posting a 7,5 in her first two races.
'It was a really tricky day on the water and I just didn't manage to get in phase with the shifts,' Lucas said. 'But tomorrow, I hope to not only recover my mobile phone from the bottom of the marina, but have a better day's racing as well!'
In the Laser Radial class, Harriette Trumble is the top Skandia Team GBR sailor in 12th place, while Jonny McGovern and Tom Mapplebeck are 14th in the sole British 470 to compete at this regatta.
Olympic classes racing in Kiel continues through until Sunday 25 June.