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15 July 2009, 12:54 pm
NED And FRA Take The Lead Under Strong Weather Conditions At F18 Worlds
Coen DE KONING and Thijs VISSER in action
Coen DE KONING and Thijs VISSER in action

F18 World Championship 2009
Knokke-Heist, Belgium

The Dutch team of Coen DE KONING and Thijs VISSER and Frenchmen Jean MOURNIAC and Alexandre GUYADER powered into the lead after an exhillirating day two at the F18 Worlds in Knokke-Heist, Belgium.
French people say "Qui sème le vent, récolte la tempête » (Who seeds the wind, is getting a hurricane). It is precisely what happened today in Knokke Heist, where the PRO had to hoist "AP" on "A" by 15:00, the wind being over 30 knots at this moment, with aggressive gusts, and the strong North Sea current creating steep, short breaking waves.

According to the favourable weather forecasted conditions for this Wednesday, supposed to be a perfect outshore 4 Beaufort, the organizers did asked the competitors to be prepared to an early start, the first warning signal to be given by 10:00, and the PRO actually did so.

Race Three

When the first blue and yellow groups started without any particular problem, the white and green groups forced the Race Committee to use the black flag to get a proper start, the wind force continuously increasing meanwhile.

Blue and yellow fleet produced a tense battle all around the cans between Mischa HEEMSKERK and Bastiaan TENTIJ (GBR) and Hugh STYLES and Ferdinand WEST (GBR), the Dutch team finally crossing the finishing line 15 seconds ahead the Brits, followed by both French youngsters Billy BESSON and Arnaud JARLEGAN, and François MORVAN and Matthieu VANDAME.

As mentioned above, White and Green groups were rather hot from the start under black flag until the finish, a group of seven boats lead by the French Canadians Louis-Philippe ETHIER and Maxime LOISELLE, and including the under 20 French team Charles HAINNEVILLE and Hubert SAVATIER, were in a close fight during the two rounds, all of them finishing in the very same minute.

Race Four

Race Four saw the weather conditions getting rather tough, with an average 25 knots wind with gusts up to 30, the boats smashing more and more steeper waves. Like race three, the first yellow and green fleet started with no major problems, when the white and blue fleet did forced the Race Committee to display the black flag again.

Rob WILSON and Marcus LYNCH (GBR) won the yellow and green race, 25 seconds ahead MORVAN and VANDAME, followed by Mitch BOOTH Junior (AUS) and Jacques BERNIER (USA) at 44 seconds.

In the second fleet, the three teams of Coen DE KONING and Thijs VISSER (NED), HEEMSKERK and TENTIJ and Jean-Christophe MOURNIAC and Alexandre GUYADER (FRA) had a magnificent chase all race long, featuring many gybing duels. All three top teams finishing once more within a minute of one another.

As a result, this second racing day allowed both Dutch and French top teams to take the lead of this, the 10th edition of the F18 Worlds, and to some teams to actually demonstrate their talent, such as Louis Philippe ETHIER and Maxime LOISELLE (CAN) scoring 1 and 6, or the pretty young French Charles HAINNEVILLE and Damien SAVATIER, both aged 19, and scoring a fourth place in race three. It's also worth noting STYLES, although being black flagged, still remain a serious contender with a series of 2, BFD, 2 and 12.

Results - click here
Olivier Bovyn (As Amended By ISAF)
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