Dart 18 World Championships gets underway in Pattaya

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Crews compete during race one of the Dart 18 World Championships at Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Sunday, Feb. 17.
Crews compete during race one of the Dart 18 World Championships at Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya, Sunday, Feb. 17.

A sunny day marked the first day of racing in the Dart 18 World Championships at Royal Varuna Yacht Club in Pattaya on Sunday, with the full scope of skills required for the spectrum of winds that filled in to 15 knots plus from the south.

The first race was marked by patchy wind shifts that put a premium on the ability to read the conditions and it favoured the lighter crews. The overall results were therefore not predictable.

There are now clear favourites however in the form of Dave and Louise Roberts, who came first in both races followed in second in both times by the dark horses of Gareth Owen and his very competent crew Hebe Hemming. Further down the fleet the Thai favourites Damrongsak and crew Kitsada Vongtim finished with a creditable 8th place, remarkable because a week ago they had never sailed a Dart 18 in competition.  In the second race the first three places were taken by former world champions.

Special mention should be given to Joffan and Georgie Garcka, with Georgie being the youngest competitor at 12 years old. They were ahead of Dave and Louise Roberts in the closing moments of the first race and should have come in first, but the senior Garcka misread the finish line.

With the championship ending on Friday, Feb. 22, there is still all to play for with a further 8 races in the week ahead.