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26 March 2011, 12:11 pm
Hunger Strike On Day One Of 2011 SAP 505 Worlds
Hard Days Work
Hard Days Work

SAP 2011 505 World Championship
Hamilton Island, Australia

Germany's Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner struck the first blow at the 2011 SAP 505 World Championship at Hamilton Island today, the defending champions winning the opening two races sailed in difficult gusty conditions on Catseye Bay.

Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner led Race 1 from the first mark and did not look back, extending their lead at each mark of the course in a 15 knot south-easterly breeze that produced waves and a big swell on the Bay.

South Australians Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh finished the race in second, stopping an all-international assault on the opening race, with the USA's Michael Holt and Carl Smit taking third.

The rest of the 84 crews who sailed must be wondering what they have to do to overcome the Germans, who recovered after a bad start in Race 2 to pick of the eight boats in front of them one by one to take the lead and extend again, to finish with a sizeable margin over Ted Conrads and Brian Haines (USA).

The south-easterly breeze had lifted a notch to around 18-20 knots by race two, throwing up some confused and lumpy seas, which threw a few competitors for a loop, including today's winners.

"It was challenging and mentally difficult to sail in that sea today," Hunger said. Kleiner chipped in, "We are not used to those sorts of waves; they go everywhere! We are happy we overcame them to win the second race."

"Wolfgang was very concentrated - it was very hard to be the skipper on a day like this. We are happy to have such a good performance in bigger winds," Kleiner said.

Hunger added, "It is pleasing to start with two good results, and not a bad one that we have to discard already. We are happy with our boat speed, but there are places where we can make improvements. We were not sure if we would be good in the bigger winds, as we are one of the lighter crews who are happier in the light and mid strength winds."

Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen (AUS) raised a few eyebrows with their top placings of ninth and third, which puts them sixth overall. They had better results than a number of former world champions, including Ian Pinnell (GBR) from 2008 and Mike Martin (USA) from 2009, who finished their day ninth and 11th overall respectively.

"We're a bit shocked we did so well," said Outteridge. "How are we going to improve on today? We've never sailed a 505 before. We got this one from Iain Murray and spent a couple of days fixing it up to race. We didn't get much time on the water beforehand."

Jensen remarked, "It felt really good being up amongst it. We didn't expect to be so fast in this breeze. The first time we sailed the boat was a day before the pre-worlds, for about an hour! We were lucky, Ayden Menzies (a former crew of Outteridge's) helped us set up the boat; he's sailed one for a while."

After two races, Hunger and Kleiner lead Ted Conrads and Brian Haines (USA) and Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh in the overall standings, the latter two are on nine points each, both having scored second and seventh places.

Race 3 of the SAP 505 World Championship is set to get underway from 13:00 local time on Sunday, Race Officer Kevin Wilson deciding to bring the race forward by one hour.

Top 5 after two races:

1. Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner (GER) 1-1 2points
2. Ted Conrads and Brian Haines (USA) 7-2 9points
3. Sandy Higgins and Paul Marsh (AUS) 2-7 9 points
4. Michael Holt and Carl Smit (USA) 3-6 9points
5. Jens Findel and Johannes Tellen (GER) 5-5 10points

Di Pearson
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