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6 January 2005, 10:41 am
Shuwalow Continues His Lead in Big Conditions
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Australian Asia Pacific Hobie 16 Championship
Melbourne, Australia

Conditions on Port Phillip Bay continue rough and windy today as sailors contesting the Hobie 16 Australian and Asia Pacific Championships found out as they hit the water for Race 5 at the Sail Melbourne event.
Organisers from Port Melbourne Yacht Club, the host for the Hobie regatta, were forced to abandon Race 6, as the winds worsened and the sea became a maelstrom.

Despite high winds reaching up to 35 knots in gusts, and a number of capsizes, some found the weather to their liking; Silver medallist from the Sydney 2000 Olympics, Darren BUDNOCK (AUS) with his crew Alexandra GOLTZ, winning their first race of this series, lifting the pair from up from elevnth overall into seventh place after five races. They will need to do more work though to finish in a podium position.

'It all came back today, we're on fire again - it's been 11 years since I won the Hobie 16 Nationals,' said Bundock of their win today. This is his crew, Goltz's first go in a Hobie 16.

'We were in fourth place at the top mark, but the three in front of us capsized - that's how we won. It was great fun out there, we really enjoyed ourselves. When the squall came through we were getting 30-35 knots - it was quite exciting actually, but the race committee did the right thing in abandoning Race 6,' Bundock added.

However, Tim SHUWALOW/Cameron HOOPER (AUS) continue to lead the series after their second place; now three points clear of their nearest rivals, Darren SMITH/Natalie HILL (AUS) and Rob BRANCH/Barney HOAK (AUS).

Smith and Branch were on equal points going into Race 5, but Smith is now second after finishing third today, whilst Branch could only manage a fifth. Smith has a two point lead over Branch, and is only three points behind NSW sailor Shuwalow, whose crew, Hooper, is used to the weather that Port Phillip can dish up.

New Hobie 18 world champions, Brad SUMNER/Belinda WALKON (AUS) stay in fourth overall after their seventh place in Race 5, whilst the first international pair, Sebastien EYSSARTIER/Maxime CARDARELLY (FRA) have claimed fifth place overall, even though their eighth place of Race 5 was their worst for the series. Others who were in top seven places previously, failed to make the grade today.

Interestingly, Shuwalow, Bundock and Sumner all reside just north of Sydney, Bundock and Sumner having grown up together and gone to the same school.

Race officials said winds were increasing as the Hobie fleet headed for a start in Race 6 and they decided caution was better than risking damage.

The weather bureau says winds are due to increase throughout the day, but that tomorrow, Friday, looks more favourable for sailing.

Provisional Results After Five Races

Pos Helm Crew Nation Points
2 Darren SMITH/ Natalie HILL AUS 13
3 Rob BRANCH Barney HOUK AUS 15
4 Brad SUMNER Belinda WALKOM AUS 19
Di Pearson (As Amended by ISAF), Image © Sport the Library
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