It was a double victory for team ‘Caipirinha’ at the RS21 World Championships in the crystal-clear waters of Sardinia this weekend. The crew not only took the title of 2023 World Champions, but they also claimed first place in the RS21 Yamamay Cup. Owner and helmsman, Martin Reintjes, lived-up to his status as International Class President, with tactical light-wind decision making and consistent scoring on the leader-board gunning for the gold.
Racing was incredibly tight. AUS ‘Nutcracker’, helmed by Robert Davis, was the top-ranking team on Day 1 and Day 2, with the final day really deciding it all. Michiel Geerling, Commercial Director at RS Sailing and competitor on NED’s ‘Rafiki’, explains: “The last day started with really light winds which changed it up a lot. Some very good teams were struggling at the back, which altered the leader board dramatically. Reintjes is an RS21 legend. He has been at the forefront of the class since its inception and his super-consistent helming skills puts him top of the game. When 55 boats are racing, building a consistent overall series is more important that winning each individual race.”
The level of sailing throughout the series has been incredibly competitive, culminating in a Worlds which set the bar for international-level RS21 racing. A staggering 55 boats entered from 11 countries and the event continued to break-records with a series of firsts. Entry-wise, the 2023 Worlds hosted the first Spanish team on ‘Patakin’ and the first all-women team on ‘Magique et Terrible’ from Italy. It was also the first sailing event since London 2012 that was ISO 20121 Certified.
Davide Casetti, President of the RS21 Italian Class, was extremely satisfied with how the event was run. “Nigel Rolfe, UK & IE RS21 Class Chairman, told me after the awards ceremony that it was the best sailing event he had ever participated in!” declared Casetti. “It was a huge team effort, everyone worked intensely on their goals following a storyboard that we had written and developed together. In water and on land the event took place in the best possible way – the location is wonderful. Even the accompanying families had the opportunity to socialise and have fun onboard a large catamaran offered by Yachting in Sardinia – which really did the trick for them.”
“What we experienced was fully conveyed by the content produced by the media team, the indirect spectators were involved in the ballet of the boats and all the activities on land. The physical presence of the partners gave even more value to the World Cup. It will take a few more days of decompression for the whole team to realise the success achieved.”
Sustainability is a key driver for the RS21 Class. Partners at the event included the One Ocean Foundation and Up2You. Guglielmi also supported with a Pura Point water station in the Blue Village, where crews refilled their water bottles each day before leaving the dock.
The awards ceremony also celebrated the Under 23s category and gave special recognition to Giorgio Nocella, the youngest athlete in the Championship, racing on ‘Nox Oceani 285’.
“I am extremely happy and satisfied with the introduction of the Under23 category which immediately gathered four crews,” states Casetti. “It was amazing to see 20 kids who competed with Olympic professionals and multiple world champions without any fear. One of our objectives for the next two years, together with dealer Negrinautica and manufacturer RS Sailing, is to encourage the entry of young athletes who risk being lost at the end of their sporting period – to facilitate the transition towards the higher classes and potential professional opportunities.”
All-in-all the 2023 RS21 World Championship set a high standard for events to come. The Class Association gives thanks to Porto Rotondo Yacht Club, the Italian Navy, World Sailing, the Italian Sailing Federation, CONI, the Regatta Committee led by Alessandro Testa, International Jury led by Luca Babini, Measurers led by Egidio Babbi. You can see the full rankings here for the RS21 World Championship. “What an amazing event in every way”, reflects Geerling, “Everyone is going home with a good feeling and a smile on their face.”
So what’s next for the RS21 Calendar? Internationally, the 2024 Worlds will be held in Spain, with 2025 setting its sights on Dubai. Nationally, fleets are growing from strength to strength, especially in Lithuania, Canada, the USA, Poland and the Netherlands – who are starting a winter series this season. The UK & Ireland Class have had a breakthrough year in 2023 with the 2024 UK & IE Calendar recently announced at Southampton International Boat Show.
As fleets continue to expand across the globe, expect to see more RS21 events breaking records like the 2023 Worlds in the ultimate one-design racing class.
For RS21 enquiries please reach out to International Class Manager Nick Redding on firstname.lastname@example.org
Article by Rebecca Foot
Pictures by Code Zero Digital & Studios