Exciting racing during final day of RS:X Fleet windsurfing Oceanic Championship
Melbourne pulled out all the stops for the final day of racing for the entire fleet at the RS:X Fleet windsurfing Oceanic Championship. With a later start to allow the breeze to kick in, beautiful sunshine and 15 knots of breeze greeted the competitors as they arrived at Sandringham Yacht Club. With the 49er fleet still racing at the designated start time for the RS:X, Race Officials wisely kept the windsurfers onshore for another half an hour to avoid problems with the two fleets mixing.
The women’s fleet as per the rest of the week, started first with a clean start with Kwok Po Ma (HKG16), Gourand Solenn (FRA12) and Wai Man Chan (HKG26) leading off the start line. Unfortunately for Youth sailor Howard Chung (TPE8) fell over at the start and watched while the rest of the fleet sailed away.
At the first bottom mark rounding Hong Kong’s Youth sailor Kwok Po Ma (HKG16) led his rival and the rest of the women’s fleet by a clear 30 seconds. Victorian local Olympic hopeful Anna Davis (AUS004) took the mark next, followed by Chen Quibin (CHN9), Gourand Solenn (FRA12), Wai Kei Chan (HKG8) and Yasuko Kosuge (JPN9). Formula World Champion Allison Shreeve’s day was not starting as hoped and was well back in the fleet.
Kwok Po Ma (HKG16) continued to expand his lead on the next two legs and finished over two minutes in front. Cheng Quibin (CHN9) took the lead to take the bullet for the Women’s fleet closely followed by Anna Davis (AUS004), Yasuko Kosuge (JPN9) and Wai Kei Chan (HKG8).
The Men’s start got away clean with the sailors speeding down the line with pace and attitude. Steve Allen (AUS0) starting on Port saw an advantage on the right hand side of the course as he rounded the bottom mark in front of the next competitor by over 20 seconds. The next four competitors rounded very close with currently overall leader, Casper Bouman (NED2) taking 4th place just ahead of Aaron Gadorfalvi (HUN1). Casper continued to pick off the fleet to finish behind Steve Allen and in front of team mate Joeri van Dijk (NED1).
For the second race of the day the breeze continued as per the first race but the Port Philip Bay chop proceeded to increase producing 3-4ft steep, close waves, producing an aerial spectacular for the next 45 minutes of racing. The start was easily won by Allison Shreeve (AUS911) who used her formula skills to blast down the line and start at the pin.
Allison’s trend of being first continued in the race rounding in first place closely followed by Kwok Po Ma (HKG16), Cheng Quibin (CHN9) and Howard Chung (TPE8). The change in positions was minimal and Allison dominated in the lumpier more trying conditions.
Consistent winds throughout the course meant that there was no real course advantage left or right with 90 per cent of the men starting on starboard. The Steve Allen and Casper Bouman bout continued all during the second race with the nerves finally getting to Casper who just before the gate on the second lap dropped his sail and letting Steve Allen blast and team mate Jeori van Dijk (NED1) to take second place. At the finish of the Men’s race Steve Allen led by over a minute to Casper, Joeri, JP Tobin (NZL151), Ertugrul Icingir (TUR1) all finishing within 10 seconds of each other.
For those who are not familiar with the new Olympic format only 10 men and 10 women will go through to the final race tomorrow. The ‘medal race’ will awarded double points thereby leaving first place in both the men’s and women’s fleet wide open.