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27 October 2005, 01:13 pm
Perfect Conditions Get Championship Underway
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Hobie 16 World Championship 2005
Port Elizabeth, South Africa

After a disappointing cancellation of the first day of the Hobie Cat 16 World Championships, Nelson Mandela Bay in Port Elizabeth, South Africa blessed the hundreds of competitors with perfect sailing conditions on the second day of the event.
The first race in the Masters and Grand Masters division got underway shortly before 1000 hours local time yesterday in a moderate breeze and fairly flat seas.

The wind picked up nicely and they managed to finish a fairly quick race on a windward/leeward or sausage course before heading in to shore. South African Blaine DODDS took advantage of his knowledge of local conditions to win the race in the Masters division. Sailing with his daughter Roxanne, DODDS is no newcomer to the sport of Hobie sailing and already has a World Championship title under the belt. DODDS and Steve ARNOLD won the Hobie World Championships in Australia in 1998 and together with fellow South African Shaun FERRY were regular top three finishers in the World Championships during the early 1980's.

Americans Mike MONTAGUE and Kathy WARD were second with Australians Bruce TARDREW and TURNBULL in third place. Harry HANDLEY from New Zealand was first to cross the line in the Grand Masters discipline.

After two races, the French team of Morgane LAURANCY and Marion PENNANEACH lead the woman's fleet with a first and second place finish. Mexicans Pamela NORIEGA and Andrea MIER Y TERAN are currently in second place with Belinda ZANESCO and Susan GHENT of Australia in third position. South Africans Belinda HAYWARD and Kim WILKINSON-DAVIES are fourth after a great third position finish in the second race of the day.

The French also dominated in the youth division with pre-race favourites Cédric BADER and Yann MONTOYA holding the top spot. Fellow Frenchmen Sébastien EYSSARTIER and Lea JEANDOT are currently second with Juani MAEGLI and Cristina GUIROLA from Guatemala in third place. BADER and MONTOYA came to this year's competition as the reigning European Hobie 16 Champions and have been expected to show their mettle early in the Championship.

As the afternoon progressed the wind strengthened and soon took its toll amongst the fleet. By mid-afternoon gusts of up to 35 knots were measured in the bay with huge sea swells causing havoc in the fleet with yachts colliding, capsizing and competitors being washed off course.

According to Comish HUNTER from Fish Hoek, Cape Town, who was sailing in the second race in the Grand Masters, conditions got quite difficult very quickly. 'We were tacking to the start when the boat just dropped from under me and when I looked around my crew Dezi MOON was sailing off without me. That's when I decided to do the sensible thing and called it a day.'

The final race was abandoned shortly before 1500. Two yachts were damaged and a further four had to be towed in from King's Beach and Pollock Beach where they were blown ashore.

Diana Bogaards. Image, Action from day one in Port Elizabeth:© Hobie
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