by Sean O'Brien
The 2011 Downunder Pro Formula Windsurfing Championships first day of competition got off to a lazy start with the winds playing havoc with the waiting sailors.
Wilhelm Schurmann (BRA-999)
The first possible start was delayed three hours as the wind shifted to all points of the compass and teased at just below the minimum for racing until 4.30pm when the wind finally picked a direction and began to build to nine knots.
The 49 competitors were kept on the beach in the blistering 38 degree heat but were nethertheless keen to get out on the water and rigged big for the first race of the event before the wind picked up steadily to 17 knots for the second race; the only two races completed today.
Top Brasilian sailor Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) dominated the first day of racing taking both wins today from two starts enjoying the flat water and building winds. Schurmann is currently leading the event on 2 points. With the wind picking up at the beginning of Race 2 and sending sailors to the beach to change down sail sizes before dropping out to only 9 knots by the end of the day. International race director Nick Nelson was able to get two clean races away despite the shifting wind directions on the course throughout the day.
The defending champion Sean O’Brien (Starboard/Point-7) had a mixed day finishing third behind the other top Brasilian Mathias Pinheiro (Starboard/North) in Race 1 and giving away a massive lead with Schurmann in Race 2 to finish fifth. O’Brien currently sits in tied third position overall on eight points with Pinheiro in second overall on four points after Day 1.
Sean O'Brien (AUS-120) from the chopper.
Previous Australian FW Title holder Sam Parker (Starboard/Neilpryde) kept consistent today and holds his tied third position overall on 8 points ahead of Brett Morris (Starboard/North) with two fourth’s in today’s races. Current NSW Windsurfing Champion Steve Floyd (Starboard/North) also had a consistent day of racing with an eighth and a sixth keeping him in fourth overall with 14 points.
With the forecast for the next few days looking like nuclear strong winds of +30 knots, the spectators at Jimmy’ Beach, Hawk Nest can again expect a great Formula Windsurfing display. 2011 Downunder Pro Formula Windsurfing Championships will run until Saturday 5th February.
Hiding from the heat in the event tent!
The boys with their event shirts.
Chris Ting (AUS-5)
Event website and full results: here