At the Hobie 16 World Championships, last night there were both cheers and tears as the fleet was cut and our 56 finalists were revealed.
While there were commiserations for some, there wasn’t too much celebrating for our finalists as there was some pretty serious work to do this morning! It’s day one of the finals!
Racing kicked off on schedule with mild temperatures and winds filling in as expected, early in the day. We saw a nor’ easterly of 10–15 knots set the pace in the morning, freshening to 25 knots later in the day.
The top three going in to the finals, Jerome Le Gal and Marco Iazzetta from New Caledonia along with Aussies Cam Owen and Suzzi Ghent and Swedes Tim Shuwalow and Nina Curtis had their work cut out for them today with a total of five races to get through it was going to be anything but easy.
In the first race of the day, race 6, we saw Australians, Rod and Kerry Waterhouse from New South Wales, throw themselves at the line, getting a clear lead out of the first weather mark and taking it all the way home. After a change of position early on we saw West Australians, Gavin Colby and Josie Mark take second followed by New Caledonians Enguerrand Thomas and Cyriaque Thomas in third.
Races were turned around quickly and an epic battle for first in race 7 broke out between Australians, Taylor Booth and Chris Barnes, Benjamin Roulant and Leah Bennet, Gavin Colby and Josie Mark and the New Caledonian brothers Enguerrand Thomas and Cyriaque Thomas.
It was ultimately, Australians, Benjamin Roulant and Leah Bennet from New South Wales that took the prize with New Caledonians Enguerrand Thomas Cyriaque Thomas taking second and French team Martin Orion and Hilliard Charlotte moving up from seventh to take third.
In race 8, boats were again returned to shore and turned around quickly to see the West Australians Gavin Colby and Josie Mark, tough it out with fellow Aussies Mick Butler and Bradley Wilson from New South Wales and Guatemalan team Jason Hess and Irene Abascal for the top spot. The end result was Jason Hess and Irene Abascal in first, Gavin Colby and Josie Mark second and Mick Butler and Bradley Wilson taking home third.
It was Australia, Australia, Australia for the top three spots in race 9 with West Australians Cam Owen and Suzzi Ghent taking first ahead of Victorians, James Wierzbowski and Pip Pietromonaco in second and New South Wales team Martin Thompson and Bella Zanesco picking up third before the boats were once again returned to shore and sailors headed back out for race 10.
It was Australia again for the top spots in race 10. In what was definitely the move of the day, we saw Gavin Colby and Josie Mark have a sensational race, moving up from eighth position at the first weather to take victory at the finish securing themselves the overall lead for the day! Second place went to Cam Owen and Suzzi Ghent while James Wierzbowski and Pip Pietromonaco grabbed third.
With five races down, competitors will return to the water tomorrow for a maximum of four races before a new Hobie 16 World Champion is decided.