It's the last day of the semi-finals at the Hobie 16 World Championships, as the pressure intensifies for the 200+ competitors in Suva, Fiji.
Tuesday proved to be a great day of racing in Suva. The rain held off and after a short delay a steady breeze kicks in and race 2 was underway. It is won by Jerome LEGAL and Enrik OBERT from New Caledonia, who won the qualifying round and are now sitting in first place.
Mick BUTLER and Susan ETHERINGTON sail in the fifth race while Mick's wife Rebecca and their two children, Patrick, aged 8, and Bonnie, aged 5, are in the tent listening to mark roundings. A cheer goes up each time Mick rounds, as indeed it does whenever one of their compatriots is called in a good place.
Bonnie and Patrick are proud of their dad and do all they can to help him. Mick works at the Hobie Factory in Jervis bay and Patrick goes and helps with the ropes. Bonnie cut all the tell tales, takes his special tiller out to him before he starts and takes the tool box out to him when he finishes. Most important of all are the big hugs she gives him.
Mick and Susan finish the race. They have announced on the beach that there has been a bunch of OCS and the team has been pretty extended on the line. They are relieved to find it's not them. They were rolled at the start to the right hand side of the course and all week it has been go left, go left go left. But they stay right for both beats and it pays off. They are in second place for this race and having won race 3 are in fourth placing overall.
Race 4 is won by Leff DAHL and Cecilia CUMMING from Sweden. They have qualified here, the only Swedish team to do so and are pretty pleased to win their race. CUMMING says, "The conditions were just like home - not too much wind and not too many waves!"
They are currently in eighth place.
The winners of race 5 are Yamil SABA and Gonzalo CENDRA from Venezuela, who get a rousing reception from their friends in the Caribbean tent. They say that they needed this place and are finally glad to have got it. They say the secret to winning is training hard and working hard to achieve what they want. The rum will probably flow freely in the Pirates of the Caribbean tent this evening!
By the last race of the day the rain has returned, not the torrential rain of the last few days, but a steady rain that fills all the hollows with puddles again. The skies have become very grey and by the time the last boat finishes, the light has faded. And there are far more people in Trapps Bar than on the beach.
During the day there has been a very slick operation as the boats are rigged for the races, launched, sailed, returned and assigned to a new team. The "beach boys" are quick and efficient and others on the beach lend a hand to help a quick turnaround. Now the boats are unrigged for the night, the shuttle buses roll back to the hotels and the jury hears the protests that have been lodged.
Wednesday is the last day of the semi-finals, with 56 teams from this round going through to the finals.
Event Website - www.hobieworlds.com/h16-2007