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17 July 2009, 09:20 am
Qualification Completed at Formula 18 Worlds
Adam SKOMSKI and Jakub Kopylowicz
Race Win for Adam SKOMSKI and Jakub Kopylowicz (POL)

Formula 18 World Championship 2009
Knokke-Heist, Belgium

When Day 3 finished with strong winds, forcing the Race Officer to send all boats back to shore early in the afternoon, Day 4 started with more than light breeze, severely testing sailors patience.
The Race Committee succeeded starting the white and yellow groups by 10:18, but the wind shifted shortly afterwards, decreasing in power accordingly, and the race had to be shortened at the second windward leg.

Polish team Adam SKOMSKI and Jakub Kopylowicz crossed the line first, closely followed by the Sach brothers (GER), 2006 World Champions, Gurvan BONTEMPS and Matthieu Marfaing (FRA), Julien VILLION and Louis Viat (FRA) and loic FEQUET and François Filippi (FRA), these five boats finishing within 11 seconds.

There was unfortunately no chance for the remaining groups to start, and the 173 boat fleet had once more to go ashore waiting for the weather conditions to permit proper competition...

Race 5
The sailors patience was eventually rewarded, when a thermal breeze went up in the afternoon, giving the PRO the opportunity to complete race 5 for blue and green groups.

After a tense fight, between five of the top teams, Billy BESSON and Arnaud JARLEGAN (FRA) took the bullet, ahead of Coen DE KONING and Thijs Visser. Mischa HEEMSKERK and Bastiaan TENTIJ finished third with Robbie DANIELand Gary CHU (USA) in fourth and Thibaut VAUCHEL and Jeremie Lagarrigue completing the top five.

Race 6
The good surprise then came from the wind, steadily increasing to a pretty good Beaufort force 3, allowing race 6 to be sailed, even claiming the use of the black flag for the white and green fleets, and to close the qualification races after a second round robin being completed.

Andrew MACPHERSON and Herbert DERCKSEN (AUS/NED) got the White and Green fleet win, in front of Rob WILSON and Marcus LYNCH (GBR) and Mitch BOOTH and Pim NIEUWENHUIS (NED). Finishing in the same minute as the top three were Francis PROOT and Michel PROOT (BEL), Moana VAIREAUX and Romain PETIT (FRA), Greg Goodall and Brett Goodall (AUS) and Taylor BOOTH and Jacques BERNIER (AUS/USA).

Race 6 for the Blue and Yellow fleetts gave the opportunity to the Australian team compromised of Glenn ASHBY, Multiple A Class World Champion and the usual crew of Multiple Tornado and F18 Champion Darren BUNDOCK and Will HOWDEN, to demonstrate their skills, and to take a bullet 30 seconds ahead Billy BESSON and Arnaud JARLEGAN (FRA) and Coen DE KONING and Thijs Visser (NED).

Day 4 was definitely the day of the three teams compromised of Besson and Jarlegan, de Koning and Visser and Heemskerk and Tentij, respectively scoring 1/2, 2/3, and 3/5, and placing them as serious contenders for a podium finish. The overall lead is with the Netherlands with de Koning and Visser two points ahead of second placed Mischa HEEMSKERK and Bastiaan TENTIJ. A one-two from Besson and Jarlegan (FRA) brings them to third overall just one point behind Heemskerk and Tentij. A ten point gap then extends back to the British team of Wilson and Lynch in fourth.

No doubt for the Gold fleet races will be more than tense for both competitors and spectators. Let's cross the fingers for the weather conditions to permit fair competition.

Results - click here

Olivier Bovyn (As Amended By ISAF)
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