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20 May 2006, 07:15 am
Hobie 16 Medal Race
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ISAF World Sailing Games 2006
Lake Neusiedl, Austria

The Hobie 16 fleet got underway in six knots of breeze at 1136 (local time). The medals were far from decided already with just twelve points separating the top four teams.
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With one minute to go, the fleet were lining up at the committee boat end except for Kerstin WICHARDT and Anja HAFKE (GER) who were some way off the line and sailing downwind at speed with their spinnaker up. When the gun went they were still heading back to the line. The Belinda ZANESCO and Bridget WATERHOUSE (AUS) also did not have a good start and came back round the end to restart, leaving themselves a lot to do to get back into contention for a medal.

The fleet split in two with five boats heading left and five heading right where there appeared to be more wind. WICHARDT and HAFKE worked hard up the beat, chosing the right of the course and showing superior boat speed. Series leaders Marie DUVIGNAC and Pauline THEVENOT (FRA) realized their mistake and came back across the middle of the course but it was too late.

Results
Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470
49er
Hobie Tiger
Hobie 16
Team Racing
Medal Races In Depth
Results As They Happen
Men's RS:X
Women's RS:X
Laser
Laser Radial
Men's 470
Women's 470
49er
Hobie Tiger
Hobie 16
Team Racing
Live streaming on Sail.TV

As the fleet approached the windward mark, shouts of encouragement were heard across the water from the spectator botas who had gathered to watch the action. Despite their appalling start, WICHARDT and HAFKE were first to round, followed by Belinda HAYWARD and Kim WILKINSON-DAVIES (RSA) in second and Margit PRETTENHOFER and Claudia MANDL (AUT) third. DUVIGNAC and THEVENOT rounded in seventh place which put the South Africans in the gold medal position with the French and German teams tied on points for the silver and bronze.

WICHARDT and HAFKE took off downwind on the new course which was being indicated by a race committee boat at the windward mark, gybing off toward the stronger pressure on the left of the course. The German team had extended their lead to more than a minute by the time they reached the mark but the rest of the fleet had come back together. All but one of the ten boats opted for the left hand gate and headed up the right hand side of the beat for their last rounding of the windward mark. In tenth place going into the medal race and with no chance of getting a medal, Sharon FERRIS and Ashley HOLTUM (NZL) broke from the pack and headed off to the left of the beat.

DUVIGNAC and THEVENOT came through the gate in eighth position and had some work to do if they wanted to win the gold medal. After a good mark rounding they placed themselves to windward of the pack and with excellent boat speeed began working their way through the fleet. Meanwhile across the course, FERRIS and HOLTUM were benefitting from breaking from the crowd. As the wind continued to shift to the right they made enormous gains up the leg. Crossing behind the second placed South African's FERRIS and HOLTUM picked up the layline to round the final mark in second place.

By this point WICHARDT and HAFKE were well on their way to the finish and could only wait whilst the colour of their medal was decided by the positions of the teams behind them. As the rest of the fleet approached the windward mark, the flukey conditions were made even tricker as the wind dropped to well below five knots. The tricky conditions scuppered the chances of HAYWARD and WILKINSON-DAVIES as they found themselves under-standing the mark and grinding to a halt as they struggled to tack to get back on course.

Silvia and Lara SICOURI (ITA) rounded third behind the Kiwis, with Pamela NORIEGA and Andrea MIER Y TERAN (MEX) in fourth and DUVIGNAC and THEVENOT in fifth - if they could hold on, the gold medal was theirs. With some more excellent downwind sailing from the French girls they had worked themselves up the fleet to guarantee themselves the gold medal but time was not on their side.

Just five seconds before FERRIS and HOLTUM were about to cross the line, the time limit for the race was reached. All the remaining competitors scored DNF (did not finish) and had to add 22 points to their overnight score. For DUVIGNAC and THEVENOT this spelt disaster, if they had been able to finish they would have won the gold medal. For NELSON and KORZENIEWSKI it was a lucky break. Going into the medal race they were second overall and but at the last mark they were in tenth position and their chances of a medal had vanished.

So, Kerstin WICHARDT and Anja HAFKE (GER) win the gold medal which they will receive tonight at the medal ceremony in Podersdorf.

Asked how they felt about winning they laughed: 'great! - we thought it was all over at the start because we were so late. But we sailed and sailed and sailed and were first to the top mark. After that we had clear wind and it is much easier to stay ahead. The others followed each other but we could see which way was better downwind. It's impossible that we have won this! We counted the points yesterday and knew that we had to be two places in front of the South African team to win the bronze. That was our aim today. We couldn't guess what would happen with the time limit, that's life I guess. It was our lucky day.'

Hobie 16 Top Ten Results

Pos Nation Skipper Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 R10 R11 R12 R13 MR Pts
1 GER Kerstin WICHARDT Anja HAFKE 4 4 3 4 (9) 5 8 1 7 3 2 5 (17) 2 48
2 FRA Marie DUVIGNAC Pauline THEVENOT 2 (20) DNF 2 1 13 (14) 1 2 3 1 7 1 1 22 DNF 56
3 USA Annie NELSON Susan KORZENIEWSKI 3 2 (16) 7 3 4 3 4 (10) 2 5 2 3 22 DNF 60
4 RSA Belinda HAYWARD Kim WILKINSON-DAVIES 6 3 (11) 5 4 1 2 (7) 5 7 1 3 4 22 DNF 63
5 AUS Belinda ZANESCO Bridget WATERHOUSE 1 5 9 8 2 3 5 (15) (20) DSQ 4 12 6 6 22 DNF 83
6 ITA Silvia SICOURI Lara SICOURI (20) DSQ 1 1 2 5 9 (20) DNF 10 8 14 6 7 2 22 DNF 87
7 MEX Pamela NORIEGA Andrea MIER Y TERAN 10 (13) 4 11 7 6 7 (17) 2 5 8 4 5 22 DNF 91
8 AUT Sonja ZELINKA Christine MOSER 9 10 7 3 1 8 4 6 1 10 11 (15) (15) 22 DNF 92
9 AUT Margit PRETTENHOFER Claudia MANDL 5 8 13 (15) 11 12 6 8 (20) DNF 6 3 10 13 22 DNF 117
10 NZL Sharon FERRIS Ashley HOLTUM (20) DNF (20) DNF 5 9 6 11 20 DNF 3 4 20 DNF 4 17 7 22 DNF 128

For all the news on the 2006 ISAF World Sailing Games CLICK HERE.

ISAF. Image, Marie DUVIGNAC and Pauline THEVENOT took the silver medal:© Guilain GRENIER
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