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6 March 2008, 09:49 am
Tactical Racing On Third Day In Langebaan
Carolijn BROUWER and Darren BUNDOCK
Carolijn BROUWER and Darren BUNDOCK impressed in Langebaan on Wednesday

Hobie Tiger and third Hobie Dragoon World Championships 2008
Langebaan, South Africa

The third day of the Hobie Tiger and Hobie Dragoon Worlds showed much more tactical racing, with the overall leaders in both championships maintaining their top spots.
The conditions were changeable with a variable wind of 8 to 12 knots. So far, the left side of the course in Langebaan Lagoon has been favourite, but it wasn't always the place to be on Wednesday. Olympic sailors Carolijn BROUWER (BEL) and Darren BUNDOCK (AUS) knew how to play the game and scored the best series with a bullet and two seconds. They moved up to the sixth place overall. Mark LARUFFA and Daniel SIMS (AUS) remained in first position, but Mischa HEEMSKERK and Bastiaan TENTIJ (NED) closed the gap to two points. The competition for the Hobie Tiger World title is full on, as the Australians Robbie LOVIG and Lachland GIBSON are only one point behind the Dutchmen. Matt WHITEHEAD and Megan DU PLESSIS (RSA) are still leading the Dragoon fleet.

This morning started sunny and windless. The postponement flag was hoisted, so the 63 Tiger and 25 Dragoon teams had the chance to relax on the beach. For some of them it was a welcome break after the hard work in yesterday's heavy weather. At about 11:30, the boats were sent out for the first out of three races. By then, the breeze was about 8 to 10 knots.

The Hobie Tiger fleet was again too keen on getting back to racing. They finally went off after two general recalls. BROUWER and BUNDOCK went all the way to the left and so did Mitch BOOTH (NED) and Tiffany BARING-GOULD (RSA). Both teams battled it out on the beat, followed by the Frenchmen Moana VAIREAUX and Romain PETIT and Stuart GUMMER (GBR). It was the mixed Olympic couple that won the battle.

BUNDOCK spoke about their comeback after Tuesday's retirement and capsize in the last race: "There was a little less wind and we are starting to get used to the boat. It has been 20 years since I have crewed, but we are getting better at the front." According to the current World Champion Tornado, they made the biggest gains on the downwind: "We gibed a lot in the breeze and passed two or three boats on every run. Today's best strategy was to not get stuck in that left corner. We just had a great day."

The second heat was dominated by new faces, as Allan LAWRENCE and Inge SCHABORT from South Africa were flying. They never gave up their lead and took their first bullet in this championship.

Big Shift To The Right

While HEEMSKERK and TENTIJ were putting the sails down on the beach, their fellow countrymen Gijs JANNINK and Willem DE BOER (NED) had a cold beer. HEEMSKERK said with a smile on his face: "We gave them the bottles as a consolation prize, because they capsized with only 100 meters left to the finish line."

HEEMSKERK and TENTIJ did not have any issues and led from the beginning to the end. Meanwhile the breeze had picked up to 12-14 knots. HEEMSKERK explained, "We started at the committee boat, because the wind had already shifted to the right. We had clean air and pushed hard to the left side of the course. We tacked a bit earlier, just before the crowd. At the windward mark, we had two boats close behind us, but one hit the mark. On the downwind, we first continued on starboard tack and gibed with the fleet."

All they had to do was sail their own race, so the Dutchmen took the bullet. HEEMSKERK added, "Everything worked out so well, both on the beat and on the run. And it was much more fun to compete in these tactical conditions. There were moments you could really gain, by playing the shifts."

LARAFFA and SIMS lost some of their lead today, by finishing seventh, third and ninth. LARUFFA explained, "The spinnaker cleat kept coming off, so we lost many boats because of that."

Dragoon Top Five Gets Really Close

Although WHITEHEAD and Du PLESSIS seem to be a class apart, there is still an exciting competition going on in the top five of the Dragoon Worlds. There are only three points between numbers two and five. Father and son Geert and Thomas SCHOUTEN (NED) scored a first and second today, and so did the locals Petrus SMITH (14) and Ewie LOUBSER (9) of South Africa.

SMITH, who is sailing with the youngest crew of the event said, "We won the first race by half a leg. I tacked at the right times and we caught a few people on the downwind." In the second heat, they were seventh at the windward mark and worked their way back to a second position. "I went where the breeze was and that was in the middle or at the left side of the course," explained SMITH.

Although he is in third place overall, SMITH doesn't want to put pressure on himself: "No, I want to enjoy it. After this championship, I will use a Hobie 16 from somebody else with my own spinnaker kit on it. I will team up with a girl and we like to qualify ourselves for the ISAF Youth Worlds," he said.

The parent-child crews compete in the Open Class. The youth teams under the age of 16 years aim for the third Junior Youth World Title in the Hobie Dragoon class.

Results - click here
Hobie Tiger and Hobie Dragoon World Championships - click here

Diana Bogaards
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