by Di Pearson
SAP Pre-Worlds 2011 Race 3 at Hamilton Island, Queensland, Australia.
This picture tells it all - a light air crawl - SAP 2011 505 Pre-Worlds
Consistent results have rewarded Nick Davis and Michael Duffield from Western Australia with the SAP 2011 Pre-Worlds title today, but it was a German woman’s crew that stole the show, winning the only race today, sailed in light and extremely shifty winds on Catseye Bay.
Most of the crews came ashore telling of 180 degree shifts – 'three of them,' according to American skipper Howie Hamlin, who was pathfinder today, but still managed to come home fourth.
Nicky Birkner and Angela Stenger had wide smiles when they came ashore after winning Race 3 this afternoon; their first win at this level of competition. 'It was a ladies breeze,' Stenger stated, 'nice and light like us!'
'It was perfect for us,' said Birkner, one of Germany’s finest dinghy sailors who placed fifth in the 470 class at the 2000 Olympics. 'It’s a wonderful place to sail, we are enjoying ourselves so far,' she said.
Stenger, who has sailed with Birkner in the 505 for three years now, told how 'we are generally very good in light air; we are a very light crew. It was around 5 knots and then it died completely.'
Birkner told: 'We were second at the second mark the second time around the course, and there we took the lead, because we got a 180 degree shift and luckily we were in the right place. If we had been on wrong side of the shift, things would have been very different.'
Claas Lehmann and Leon Oehme (GER) finished the Pre-Worlds second overall, scoring 8-12-5 results, and although Hamlin and Andy Zinn were elected pathfinder, they still managed to come home fourth for third overall in the two day series.
Hamlin says they are now looking forward to the SAP 2011 505 Worlds. They plan taking advantage of the two-day break by doing some sight-seeing while the opportunity exists. He was ambivalent about their results: 'We left the compass on the beach yesterday and the shifts were crazy today; then the wind died,' he said.
Former America’s Cup sailor Robin Deussen (AUS) and class stalwart Jordan Spencer finished fourth overall, doing South Australia proud. Deussen, who has been out of the class for a while, did a good job to keep his 23 year-old son Nick, well behind him. 'We’ll get him next time,' Nick said.
Ted Conrads and Brian Haines (USA) rounded out the top five with 25-8-2 results, their second place today scraping them in.
World champions, Wolfgang Hunger and Julien Kleiner (GER) finished the series in ninth place following 1-27-12 placings.
The serious sailing starts on Saturday with two races planned in the SAP 2011 505 World Championship on Catseye Bay, starting from 1.00pm Queensland time, weather permitting.
A unique class, event manager Carter Jackson conducted the prize giving on a rock in the middle of the swimming pool late today. Midway through, two pairs of hands surfaced and pulled the unsuspecting Jackson into the pool. He managed to keep the microphone dry.
Nicky Birkner and Angela Stenger after their win today - SAP 2011 505 Pre-Worlds