The first-ever RS21 World Championship is officially completed. The week has been filled with sunshine, a great variety of light and strong wind conditions, close racing and lively debate on tactics ashore. On some days, the competitors were challenged with tricky conditions, which meant that success came down to focus and fine-tuning to stay at the front of the fleet.
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.”
True to it’s Corinthian nature, the RS21 fleet continues to be a friendly and inclusive class, welcoming family team combinations and bringing together friends to enjoy an awesome time on the water and the opportunity to mix with like-minded sailors in a relaxed, enjoyable environment on shore. Given the efforts that the team at RS Sailing and MT Partners went to in providing charter boats to share the experience with as many sailors as possible, it was comforting to see that the tight one-design nature of the RS21 ensured equal racing, with charter boats placing 4th, 7th, and 8th overall. The first Annual General Meeting took place at the RS21 World Championship where a new International Committee for the RS21 International Class Association was appointed. Martin Reintjes will lead and create a sailing community that you want to be a part of for the rest of your life.
Congratulations to the inaugural RS21 Open World Champions ITA 225 with Gianluca Grisoli, Andrea Casale, Fabio Gridelli and Giorgio Tortarolo in first place, ITA244 with Giovanni Meloni, Niccolo Bianchi, Camilla Cordero and Pietro Negri in second place and third place ITA243 with Martin Reintjes, Francesco Rubagotti, Giulio Desiderato and Daniele Cassinari.
Also, congratulations to the inaugural RS21 Corinthian World Champions, GBR211 with Hugh Watson, Helen Watson, Emma McEwen and Susanna Peatsin, first place, POL213 with Wojtek Myśliwiec, Rafał Błażejczyk, Marcin Panaś, Adrian Kaczyński in second place, and third place team GER289 with Claudia Rossi, Matteo Morellina, Andrea Spagnolli and Francesco Rampazzo.
Check out the full results here.
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.