Thrilling battles set up for tight action on the penultimate day of the 2011 Techno Windsurfing World Championships. With sunny skies most of the week it was time for a fog day here in San Francisco. As the sailors rigged up for racing the fog itself was racing towards Alcatraz.
The eastern and western courses were again quite different with respect to the wind speed and steadiness. With the western most course completely under the fog bank winds ranged from 10-18mph and were a bit on the shifty side while the eastern course was seeing mixed sun and fog and a relatively steady 20mph of wind.
The docket was changed up from the preceding three days routine with the Under 17 Girls, Under 15 Girls, Open Division, and Raceboard classes up first while the under 15 boys and under 17 boys stayed on the beach. 2 quick races were wrapped up by 1pm for the first fleets leaving them the entire day to themselves, quite a luxury courtesy San Francisco’s dependable sea breeze. A look at the results board shows some incredibly tight action with multiple medals on the line between racers separated by the smallest of margins.
France’s Julien Bouyer (FRA 192) has marched closer to his first World Title on the day having put up a solid 1-2 scoring line to extend his lead on the pursuing Alejandro Monllor (PUR 1) and Marc Lavaud (FRA 134). Lavaud has been on the charge in the last two days of the regatta and Monllor’s grasp on second place is in serious jeopardy with Lavaud getting the better of Monllor in both races on the day to close the gap to a single point between the two. Japan’s Jun Ogawa (JPN 116) cannot be discounted just yet and has put himself back in contention with a good day on the water. At day’s end it was still Bouyer, Monllor, and Lavaud sitting 1,2,and 3 respectively with Ogawa sitting in striking distance in fourth place.
Adam Purcell (GBR 62) is doing his part to keep things interesting in the boy’s Under 17 division. Purcell finally succumbed to the charging Kieran Martin (GBR 926) who now holds the top spot. Sunday’s final races should be a fireworks show with the two British teammates putting it all on the line to see who will take gold. With only single point between the two it all comes down to the final day and it should be intense on the water action. While Martin and Purcell are locked in battle for the top spot the war for third place is wide open with four sailors all having a shot. Matthijs van 't Hoff (NED 216), Hubert Aupinel (FRA 651), Albert Chaillot (FRA 808), and Bell Baz (ISR 619) are all vying for the final spot atop the podium. Baz seems to have found his stride and is surging up the leader board energized by his outright win in the day’s first race.
Britain’s Emma Wilson (GBR 961) has all but wrapped up the World Title rocking two bullets on the day. The sailing instructions call for a maximum of 12 races total so it will take a total implosion by Wilson for Shai Blank (ISR 951) or Emily Hall (GBR 714) to overtake her. The race for second however is shaping up to be a thriller with both Hall and Blank locked up at 23 points apiece. Eugenia Bologna (ITA 10) is in the hunt when another throw out comes in to play as she needs to dump a 11pt over early score and then sail well in the regatta’s final day. Bologna will also need some help from Blank and Hall if she is too reach the podium.
American Marion Lepert (USA 143) once again had a hot and cold day in the Under 17 girls division. With the first race being sailed in lighter winds Lepert has shown the fleet her Achilles heel taking a seventh place finish in the lighter air. The wind however picked up for race two sending Lepert once again to the top of the fleet in dominant fashion. Saskia Sills (GBR 956) sailed consistent once again and has assured herself a spot atop the podium with the only question remaining is the color of her medal. Saskia’s twin sister Imogen Sills (GBR 561) had a bit rougher day on the water and with a 6-7 scoring line she has opened the door to teammate Noelle Finch (GBR 703) to take over her tenuous hold on the final spot on the podium. Only one point separates the two with Sills at 37 points to Finch’s 38 points. Shahar Tibi (ISR 606) has only gotten better as the week has progressed. Tibi locked in to a fantastic start in the lighter winds of race one and only built on that start to take out the overall win in the race. Tibi sits in fifth overall.
Italian Mattia Onali (ITA 134) has mathematically locked up the World Title after reeling off 6 straight race wins over the last three days. Artiom Javadav (BLR 766) is distant second place some 15 points behind Onali but must keep sailing hard and fast if he is to assure himself of a second place position at regatta’s end. Mikita Tsirkun (BLR 714) sailed strongly on the day as the top 3 racers went 1-2-3 on both of the days racing. Baring a major shakeup that should be your podium for the Open Division.
In the Raceboard action Switzerland’s Vincent Huegenin is in control of his own destiny and all he needs to do is beat Argentinean Fernando Consorte (ARG 155) one more time and the title is his. The two sailors traded wins on the day’s two races but the only way for Consorte to win the title is if Jean Asia (FRA 171) of France is able to beat Huegenin in both races tomorrow something he has yet to do all week long.
A special thanks has to go out to the St Francis Yacht Club and the legion (100+) of volunteers who have done everything from working the boats, to fixing boards, to helping the kids in and out of the water. Even recently crowned Kiteboard World Champion Johnny Heineken was on the beach helping check in and out the sailors.
More thanks to the support of the Events Sponsors, Zico Coconut Water, The International Windsurfing Association, The Windsurfing Task Force, The Sports Basement, The ISAF, Bic Windsurfing, GU Energy, and US Windsurfing.
A special mention has to be made for the flawless work of an incredibly professional race committee. With Robbie Dean leading the charge and PRO Darren Rogers in charge of the on the water action the management of six fleets, across two courses, has been near perfect.
Racing continues Sunday July 24th with a likely 2 races on the agenda. The action will once again be centered on the San Francisco City Front with prime viewing at Crissy Field’s East Beach with a first possible start at 11am and then it will be on to the St Francis Yacht Club for a Gala Celebration of what has been an incredible week of racing.
Steph Corkery at Left with Adi Yaffe Cohen at right - 2011 Techno Windsurfing Worlds Championhips - David Wells?nid=86312
Complete Results here
Day Photo Gallery Here