7th of January 2009, Australia, 2009 Formula Windsurfing Oceanic and Australian Championships

No Racing Completed On Day 2

Sean O’Brien (AUS-120)
Another blisteringly hot Aussie summer day awaited the competitors as they arrived at Ramsgate Beach for the second day of racing at the 2009 FW Oceanic & Australian Championships. With two opposing forecasts, one of 25 knots and the other of light winds; the race crew wasn’t sure what to expect today except the knowledge that whatever the wind, it would be really HOT at the beach. The wind stayed true to the BOM forecast with it shifting to the north-east early in the day and starting to build slightly for the race-crew to get a start off around 2pm.

Sean O’Brien and Allison Shreeve, current event leader’s in the Mens and Ladies divisions were keen to get out on the course early to continue their form from Day 1. With winds teasing a little during the hours before the start it was a difficult decision to know what sail to take on the water however most of the competitors chose their light wind options and the race began in a little over 8 knots which quickly faded to an unsailable 3-4 knots very shortly after the start putting 90% of the fleet to drift along the course; all despite Allison Shreeve who found a small puff of breeze which shot her into the far right of the course. Despite a few minutes of drifting which led to the race being abandoned, many of the sailors elected to follow Allison out to the right and kept in the breeze however failed to make it to the top mark within the 10 minutes allocated for a valid race. Sean O’Brien and Sam Fawkes, who were drifting on the left side of the course, elected to come straight back to the beach and save their energy for another restart.

After the unfortunate attempt at Race 4 the competitors were kept on the beach derigging and rigging again and again as the wind came up again and teased for a possible restart before dropping back down to <6 knots - the breeze fighting against the suck of the dark gloomy storm clouds which were gathering above Sydney metro and from the west of the race-site also.

Late into the afternoon the wind suddenly kicked to true North and fired in around 18 knots which sent the race-crew again out on the course to set a gate-course in the new wind direction and the competitors to rig once again their sails for another attempt at Race 4. With only 5 minutes to go until the warning signal the wind dropped once again and the AP over A was hoisted and racing abandoned for the day. Low and behold, at about 6pm (much too late to start another race) the forecasted 25 knot north-easterly winds cranked in ahead of the storm which later blew out to sea missing Sydney metro.

Sean O’Brien (AUS-120) still holds on to his lead from Sam Fawkes (AUS-21) and Mike Nelson (AUS-12) with Allison Shreeve (AUS-911) in 5th place overall (1st Ladies) and Bruce Healey (AUS-9) leading the FE+ division. As this report is being written the southerly change has hit Sydney so we should see a solid 20-25 knots and big seas across Botany Bay tomorrow all day for Day 3 of the regatta and another chance for the competitors to lay claim to the Australian FW Title.