Competitors were literally 'flying' downwind with fins fully clear of the water before disappearing into troughs only to re-emerge again a few seconds later, an airborne 'speed blur'! It was totally 'full on' for the racers who came ashore with 'wicked' stories of heroic efforts to hold on while hitting speeds of up to 30 knots. A few competitors stepped it up today and dominated in the radical conditions.
In the men's blue fleet, 2003 Mistral World Champion, MIARCZYNSKI won with room to spare and took back the overall lead from young gun Nicolas LE GAL (FRA). LE GAL had a torrid time finishing 15th, now happily discarded, and so clings on to second place for now.
The other young gun, Fabian HEIDEGGER (ITA) who did well on Saturday, also sailed his throw out finishing the day's blue fleet race in 15th, but still hangs onto third overall. JP TOBIN (NZL), João RODRIGUES (POR) and Ivan PASTOR (ESP) are all square in fourth overall, the three sailed top five performances today. TOBIN, who rounded the bottom mark in second place during the race, fell on the jibe in the tricky conditions, but still recovered quickly enough to finish fourth. Not bad at all!
Next to start were the women. The breeze was building still further. Up went the 'Y' Flag and on went their lifejackets. The growing seas looked pretty gnarly! Straight out of the trap was the heroine of the day, Lucy HORWOOD (GBR) who revelled in the conditions using her vast Formula Windsurfing experience to take the bullet. Alessandra SENSINI (ITA) took second and picked up some points on the overall scoreboard where she sits in third, just behind Barbara KENDALL (NZL), who finished eighth in Sunday's race. Regatta leader ALABAU sailed her discard with an OCS but retains the overall lead.
Everyone has a well-earned rest day on Monday, some to re-group and plan strategy, others to chill. The battle for the top step on the podium is well and truly on. Points are extremely close and just about anyone in the top five could take it. The men's fleet will now be split into gold and silver Fleets. Racing resumes on Tuesday.
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