Although the 17th Hobie Cat 16 Worlds experienced the biggest storm and waves so far on Saturday, this Sunday morning started calm. After a postponement, the teams were allowed to leave the beach at 1130 hours local time for today's first race. Allan LAWRENCE and Nicola FRANCIS (RSA) took the lead from the beginning, but capsized just before the finish. According to FRANCIS, 'We were by miles ahead, but while reaching downwind, Allan got washed off and we could not keep it up. We came in fourth, but we are very disappointed of course. Yesterday, we broke the tiller bar prior to the start, so we have had bad luck so far.'
Andrew WARD and Steve ARNOLD took advantage of their fellow countrymen's misfortune and won the race. WARD commented, 'We had a clear start at the middle of the line. We had 18 to 25 knots out there and the swell from yesterday was difficult. Especially downwind, you had to keep your bow up. We rounded the top mark in fourth position, took an early gibe and came second at the gate.' The boys from Tahiti were second, followed by Fletcher WARREN and Georgia MYERS from New Zealand.
Landing safely on the beach was the final challenge for the first fleet, as the wind came straight ahead of them. John DINSDALE from Hobie Cat France watched the teams coming in and gave them advices and complimented their actions, 'Catch your wave! Well done number 20. See, they were on the back of the boat and nothing happened.' It was like a real time show with lots of spectators. Christian WRIGHT and Charlie CLEMENT from Hong Kong caught the best ride and surfed their way down to the shore and just missed another H16, 'We went off so quickly.'
The second shift faced an even bigger surf with more wind on the Ocean, so some crews decided to reef the mainsail. All the people on the beach helped the competitors through the waves. The boats were pushed as far as possible and the spectators on the wall clapped and cheered for the sailors. The beachmaster used his microphone to comment upon their actions in the surf and asked for help as one team capsized, 'Give them a hand guys.' At least ten people jumped into the sea. In the end, everybody got out safely.
Meanwhile, the wind had picked up to 25 knots. It was close racing between the top four teams. Maxime CLERCQ and Yoann BONTE (FRA) had a good start at the committee boat and choose for the left side of the course. They rounded the upwind mark first and kept this position. They commented, 'The second boat was only a few meters behind us. It was great to surf the waves.' Robert and Paula ARCHIBALD from South Africa came in second and said, 'It was very gusty and choppy. In the first beat, we choose the left side. We went to the right in the second beat, since we were too lazy to tack that often.' Shane PETERSON and Jesse DOBIE from Australia finished third. PETERSON remarked, 'We were fourth, but Mark LARUFFA capsized at the bottom mark in front of us and we could pass him.'