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25 August 2010, 11:45 am
France Lead As Hobie 16 Worlds Moves To Finals Phase
End of Qualification
The qualification series is finsihed on day three at the Hobie 16 Worlds in Weihai, China

Hobie 16 World Championships
Weihai, China

The third day of racing at the 2010 Hobie 16 World Championships in Weihai, China concluded the qualifying series with teams completing three races in a solid, consistent 14-16 knot breeze.
With the breeze being onshore, but at an angle to the shoreline, the water was considerably flatter than yesterday providing perfect sailing conditions for all competitors.

With light rain initially falling, competitors were sent off the beach for the three final races of the Qualifying Series. The overnight leaders, Aaron Worrall and Bradley Willson (AUS) decided that they had already done enough to qualify, so with slight arm injury, Worrall decided to sit out the final day and try to recover in time for the Semi-Finals starting the next day. Some of the other teams also decided the same with two further top teams deciding to sit out the last race of the day.

The first race of the day was a breakthrough for the Korean team with Joohyun Jun and Gweon Jeong winning the race after coming close on several other occasions. "We were fourth at the first mark, but on the downwind leg the wind shifted slightly which gave us an advantage so we were in front at the leeward gate. After that we covered the other boats to make sure we stayed in front" said Jun. It was a good win for the team and finally broke the French/Australian domination at the front of the fleet. In the final race of the day, another Korean team, Donghwan Kim and Jeungjae Kim also broke the strangled hold, lifting them to fourth place in the Qualifying Round.

With competitors from around the world, some teams have crews from mixed countries, and mixed background. The team of Patrick and Yvonne Boutonnet are truly a mixed team with Patrick originally from France and Yvonne from Sri Lanka but both now living and sailing in Sydney Australia. "Conditions were perfect out there today" they said. "We had a great time with a good steady wind and waves that were a lot smaller and more predictable than yesterday".

The PRO, David Brookes echoed the same sentiment. "Today was an easy day for us with the wind a perfect strength and very consistent both in direction and strength. With the flatter water today, the boats were getting around the course incredibly quickly allowing us to run the three races back to back in good time."

Racing continues tomorrow (Thursday) with the first of three days of semi-finals, where the top qualifiers will be joined by all of the pre-seeded teams who have qualified at their regional championships. In this round, sailors will race in a round robin format, coming to the beach in between races to change boats. With more teams than boats, each team will not sail in each race, but are allocated to groups which each sail against each other in turn with scores added to provide and overall result. Scores from the Qualifying Round do not carry forward to the next round.

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Paul Pascoe
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