Day 4 of the Laser Radial Open and Women's World Championship surpassed Day three in terms of difficulty for both the race committee and competitors.
A 15-knot gradient wind was pulled left and right by as much as 30 degrees as a complex succession of rain showers passed directly through the course area throughout the day. The nightmare for the race committee was whether to chase each shift with course changes or rely on the previous experience when the gradient wind direction always reinstated itself after each squall. Today was one of those days when experience counted for nothing and the conditions beat the race committee with the locals saying the inevitable "we've never seen it like this before"!
Only one race was completed for each of men's fleet and the women's race was abandoned at the half way stage. An attempt to re start the women in lighter winds at the end of the day proved futile as the wind continued to drop and became unstable.
Although the courses for the men's fleet races were not ideal in 15 knots the cream still came to the top with the joint series leaders, Michael BLACKBURN and Tom SLINGSBY from Australia, both winning their respective races. Slingsby led from start to finish. Blackburn said "I started in the middle and stayed in the middle which wasn't great for the first left hand shift but when it came back again I was well placed and was second behind Mark ORAMS (NZL) at the first mark. I caught mark on the downwind leg and was able to pull out a safety margin on the second windward."
Two more races are scheduled for today. Full results, as well as a full selection of some great photographs by Mike Cleveland, are available on the event website at the address below.