For the past week prior to Saturday's start to the Europeans, there has been a mixture of north or south winds funnelling between the two headlands of Alacati. On Saturday morning at 0700 local time the breeze had a distinct push, a lot earlier than the past week. By 0900 the wind was kicking up spray, the whole length of the bay and the anticipation of strong winds had everybody up and eating breakfast in the main restaurant early, whilst a few tardy sailors were still doing last minute preparations.
Postponement flags were hoisted early, the course was brought closer to the beach and rule 20 enforced (sign in/sign out). At 1030 the first hooter went for the opening men's race, as the gold fleet made it out to the race area in 32 degrees of heat and 25 degrees water temperature.
Upwind-downwind courses have been adopted due to the fact that the bay is rather narrow. This in turn means significant gains or losses due to the thermal breezes from the head lands. Day one saw varying breezes.
In stronger winds for the morning race Casper BOUMAN (NED) showed the form that has brought him wins in Melbourne and Hyères this year already with an opening bullet backed up with a second place. Nick DEMPSEY (GBR) played runner up in the first to BOUMAN, but then slipped back to a sixth place, letting Julien QUENTEL (FRA) take the bullet in the second race. In the second division Benjamin TILLIER (FRA) from New Caledonia won comfortably, from start to finish.
The women were sent out later in the day, which was to Olga MASLIVETS' (UKR) liking. She stormed to a strong lead position and sailed a very positive, calculated race finishing well ahead of the Zofia KLEPACKA (POL).
|The fleet in action
© David BELL
Lighter winds on day two were not to the liking of the formula sailors, who on Saturday night tried to petition the Race Committee to bring the race area closer again to the beach, where the offshore winds blow stronger at certain times during the day. The petition was quashed, and racing began as scheduled.
An almost faultless display by DEMPSEY, saw his overall score increase by only two points as he took two bullets and looked in command from the start to finish. Nicolas HUGUET (FRA) grabbed a first place in the second division, whilst Michal POLANOWSKI (POL) was able to shoot up the pecking order with a first place in the windier conditions later in the day. Local favorite Ertugrul ICINGIR (TUR) had been leading the whole race, only to be passed on the last part of the slalom finish.
Race three for the women saw a great start, with Antonia FREY (GRE) commanding all the fleet with amazing speed both upwind and down, followed by Pauline PERRIN (FRA). These two continued the duel until the gate rounding on the last lap, where the sea breeze clocked direction 180 degrees. The slalom finish became an upwind race with FREY winning from PERRIN with just metres to spare. Both girls gave each other a pat on the back before returning to there respective coach boats for a well earned drink and a breather.
Christine JOHNSTON (GBR) took the bullet in race two after finally finding her legs for the first time in the regatta. During training last week JOHNSTON was blisteringly fast, but consistency is the way to win major championships and PERRIN once again drove to second place finish. MASLIVETS came in a close third, recovering after a slow start.
Men's Top Ten
|8||ESP||J. Luis PINANA||3||16||(38)||3||22|
|9||NED||Joeri VAN DIJIK||(11)||9||3||10||22|
Women's Top Ten
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