The forecast of strengthening south-easters, and torrential rain for the entirety of Day 2 of the Downunder Pro allowed the Race Committee to get four clean starts away today despite the miserable weather.
Race 1 began at 12.30pm with a gusty 15-24 knots on course and a completely flooded rigging area caused by relentless rain overnight with the upper level troughs currently sitting over the New South Wales area.
Current event leader, Paulo Dos Reis (Patrik/North), took four straight bullets in today’s racing to bring his score up to a perfect seven wins from seven starts. Using his 11.0m in all four races despite the up and down winds anywhere from 10 to 30 knots during the day, the Brasilian looked comfortable all day with blistering downwind speed despite valiant efforts from the Nordic Viking, Jesper Vesterstrøm (Starboard/North) who managed to beat Dos Reis to the windward mark numerous times today.
World No. 1 and event leader, Paulo Dos Reis, braves the wet. - Downunder Pro 2012 - Sean O'Brien
Vesterstrøm comfortably holds his second position overall posting four second places today ahead of another consistent competitor, last year’s event winner Wilhelm Schurmann (Starboard/Neilpryde) from Brasil, who nailed four third places; enjoying the gusty and shifty conditions.
Defending Australia Champion Sean O’Brien (Starboard/Point-7) had a better day today, managing to beat his rival Mathias Pinheiro (Starboard/North) in two of the four races today, but finishing the day still two points behind Pinheiro. O’Brien switched sails in each race, between his 10.5m and 11.5m rigs whilst Pinheiro stayed on the 10.0m for all four races, posting two fourth’s, a fifth and an OCS (disqualified for starting early), with O’Brien taking two fourth’s and two fifth’s.
First placed Australian, Sean O'Brien, heads to the beach. - Downunder Pro 2012 - Sean O'Brien
Olympic hopeful, Luke Baillie (Neilpryde/Gaastra), won the RS:X Olympic Windsurfing Class Australian Championships last weekend as part of the Downunder Pro and stayed to compete in the formula event this week with equipment borrowed from O’Brien. Despite registering only one sail, his Olympic rig of 9.5m which is drastically smaller than other competitors, Baillie was consistent today posting a fifth, sixth and seventh in the final races bringing him to seventh overall and just two points behind the second placed Aussie in the standings, Brett Morris (Starboard/North).
Coming in to Day 3 tomorrow, the forecast looks like we’ll get a little more sunshine and a touch less wind, but guaranteed racing action and a chance for Vesterstrøm to knock Dos Reis off his ‘perfect score’ regatta, as well as a chance for the Australians to claw back the Brasilians to fight for that third spot on the podium.
The Down Under Pro, the Oceanic and Australian Formula Windsurfing Championship is being sailed at Hawks Nest NSW and continues until February 4.