by Sean O'Brien
The second day of competition of the 2013 Qantas Downunder Pro Formula Windsurfing Championships got off to a fantastic start with the wind conditions sticking to the forecast and building across the afternoon allowing the first race of the event to get away at the scheduled 12.30pm start. The 47 competitors rigged an assortment of big rigs as the wind hovered around 10-13 knots for the first race building to a solid 20-25 knots by the late afternoon which allowed for the maximum five races to be sailed.
Sean O’’Brien heads up the Australian challengers - 2013 Qantas Downunder Pro
Three-time World Champion from Brisbane, Steve Allen (Starboard/Severne) got off to a great start dominating the first day of sailing taking four bullets and a second using his new Severne Reflex 4 12.5m sail in the first three races even as the wind picked up to 20 knots before switching down to a 10.7m for the final two races.
Steve Allen takes 4 bullets today - Photo by Rob Plim. - 2013 Qantas Downunder Pro
Allen’s numerous port starts including one where he was able to cross the entire fleet meant he led from start to finish in nearly all races and never looked challenged until the final race where Danish hotshot Jesper Vesterstrøm (Gaastra/Gaastra) had a cracking port start and managed to beat Allen in the last few metres to the finish to take the final race win. Vesterstrøm sits in second overall with 4x second’s in the earlier races.
Steve Allen and Jesper Vesterstrom battle - Photo by Rob Plim. - 2013 Qantas Downunder Pro
The battle for the final podium spot was hotly contested by Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) from Brasil and Sean O’Brien (Starboard/Severne) of Australia. Schurmann knows this spot well having raced here for three years but O’Brien dug deep today and managed to beat his Brasilian rival in three out of five races before discovering he was OCS (disqualified for an early start) in Race 3 which allowed Schurmann a one-point lead overall to sit in third. Schurmann finished the day with 3x third’s and 2x fourth’s with O’Brien 2x third’s, a fourth and a disqualification.
Young Danish star Christian Justesen (JP/Neilpryde) had a consistent day and at only 19 years of age is one to watch in the future posting a 5, 5, 5, 6, 7 giving him a clear fifth position overall ahead of Steve Walsh (JP/MauiSails) from Australia, Remi Dunoyer (Exocet/MauiSails) of France and Brett Morris (Gaastra/Neilpryde) of Australia.
There’s a mix of forecasts for tomorrow’s racing with one saying another day like today with perfect conditions and another saying a light southerly change to come through and prevent the wind. Either way, there will be plenty more action to come at this year’s Qantas Downunder Pro with still two more days of racing to follow.
Jesper Vesterstrom leads upwind in Race 5 - Photo by Rob Plim. - 2013 Qantas Downunder Pro