The longest Round Robin is over and a new one underway. Matthew Sheahan reports on the second session in Valencia

 On another day when the clouds billowed over the shore steered the breeze around the race course, principal race officer Peter Reggio did well to set up a course that could see racing get under way on the opening day of round robin 2. Down on the south course his partner Harold Bennett was not so fortunate and once again racing was postponed on this course as a huge right hand shift swept through the course and ripped up what little breeze there was with it.

Even though racing happened on the north course in 7- knots of wind, there was only one match to watch of the three and that was the one between Shosholoza and the Swedish Victory Challenge, a pair of light weather flyers both vying for a place in the semi finals.

The South African’s began well in a closely fought but evenly matched start and took the lead at the weather mark. On the downwind leg the Swedes managed to get past for a while, before the shift that had moved them into the lead betrayed them shortly before the leeward mark.

The right hand shift also made things a little tight on the starboard lay line into the leeward mark. Easing the pole forward too far just before the gybe didn’t help either as the South African spinnaker pole broke around the forestay just seconds before the drop. With lightening reactions the South Africans dropped the kite, gybed and regained their composure in a very proficient manner to keep the Swedes behind. But with no pole and no means of repair, the damage had been done for the next downwind leg.

Despite a brave attempt, the Swedes swallowed Shosholoza’s lead at the weather mark to take a win. In losing the race to another middle ranking team Shosholoza’s hopes of making the semi finals look even less likely. To succeed they need to win the races they should do, plus beat the big boys on a regular basis. Not mathematically impossible, but pretty unlikely.

Meanwhile, the Swedes have improved their chances slightly, but a semi finals place is still a long way away.

The next two days look to have decent breeze and possibly even some reliable sea breeze conditions. Bring it on as they say.


Flight 1
BMW Oracle BEAT United Internet Team Germany
Victory Challenge BEAT Shosholoza
Luna Rossa BEAT China Team

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