Australia's Mick BUTLER and Susan ETHERINGTON were crowned 2007 Hobie 16 World Champions in Suva, Fiji.
On the last day of racing and there is an air of quiet tension down at the boat park. The sailors are intent on rigging their allocated boats and it's not a time to talk to them. It is announced that the Race Committee are out there, the wind is filling and that the sailors should get ready for sailing.
There's a rush to sign the boats in, then a trickle and then an announcement for the stragglers to hurry and sign. Music starts to blare out. "No, no" says the announcer, "We need boarding music!" Wet suits are pulled on, sunscreen applied, and harnesses made ready. The Puerto Rican flag which has gone missing overnight is apparently being kept in custody in a place appropriate to that country. Would it have something to do with rum?
The Race Committee gets a steady wind at 7-8 knots, but there's one of those rain squalls again and it's the waiting game again. They start the race with the wind east north east then it shifts 20 degrees to the north. The Race Committee squares up the course during the race. Those who go to the left make a good choice. The smart award goes to the ones who go north upwind and south down wind. Their decision is reflected in their finishing position.
The second race is about to get under way when the wind shifts to the left and stops. The skies darken, the lightening flashes and the thunder rolls. For about 10 minutes the wind blows strongly from the west. The committee moves the start line but can't get a race started and send the boats ashore.
Mick BUTLER and Susan ETHERINGTON (AUS) are going to be hard to beat and Mick's wife Rebecca walks past with a bottle of champagne. She and the children have been busy making streamers. But it's never over until the fat lady sings and there are still more races scheduled.
In the meantime the tent has been transformed. A winding channel has been cut, lined with polythene and filled with water. A wooden bridge has been constructed and tropical plants have sprouted up along the banks of the "river." It's looking good for the party tonight. The jury hears two protests. A decision will be made about the racing at 16:00. The waiting goes on.
At 16:00 it is obvious that the wind is not coming back today. The contest is over and we have a winner - BUTLER and ETHERINGTON from Australia. In second place are Christophe RENAUD and Alban ROSSOLLIN from New Caledonia and in third place, Cam OWEN and Susan FERRIS, also from Australia.
Event Website - www.hobieworlds.com
Results - www.hobieworlds.com/h16-2007/results/