10th of January 2009, Australia, 2009 Formula Windsurfing Oceanic and Australian Championships

Lighter Winds; More Racing; Prizes! Party!

Sean O'Brien AUS-120
The wind conditions lightened today for the final day of racing at the 2009 Oceanic and Australian Formula Windsurfing Championships in Sydney. The experienced race-crew again managed to get the maximum amount of races today running 4 back-to-back races for the sailors to take advantage of the morning winds which lightened and shifted as the day wore on. The lighter winds allowed some sailors the opportunity to climb the rankings after yesterday’s strong winds and big seas. Sean O’Brien (AUS-120) managed to hold on to his lead and the Australian Title today taking two bullets in the first two races before losing his cool in the last two races taking 4th’s a piece in the shifty, light afternoon winds.

In Race 8 this morning, Sean O’Brien took an early lead before a few shifts on the second lap allowed Brett Morris and Sam Parker (AUS-3) to pass him into the top mark with only the downwind run to go; Brett and Sean headed out to sea with Sam taking the inside line to the leeward mark. All three sailors arrived at the bottom mark at the same time and after the 150m blast to the finish line, Sean managed to pip Sam into 1st with Brett taking 3rd place honours. A similar finish occurred in Race 9 with Sean leading Sam Parker into the final downwind run only to oversail the layline and have Sam meet him at the leeward mark - half a boat length separated Sean in 1st and Sam in 2nd place in this race; with Murray Towndrow (AUS-720) turning a few heads to arrive in 3rd place ahead of Brett Morris (AUS-8) and Sam Fawkes (AUS-21).

For Race 3 and 4 the wind became quite shifty and dropped to around 8 knots in the lulls and 15 knots in the gusts, leaving Sean O’Brien stranded with Sam Parker and Nathan Hohnberg on the right side of the course on the second lap to allow Sam Fawkes a huge get-out-of-jail freebie to take the bullet from 7th place going in to the second lap. In the final race which allowed for the 3rd drop for all the sailors, the wind became considerably more shifty and allowed Sam Fawkes and Steve Floyd (AUS-222) a huge lead on the first lap where other competitors were left floundering in big wind holes on the course. Sam and Steve in 1st and 2nd respectively led Allison Shreeve (AUS-911) into the finish of Race 11 and finished a clear 6 minutes ahead of Sean O’Brien in 4th place - some difficult conditions left Sean off the plane for pockets of up to one minute trying to get around the top mark.

Beginning later tonight, a prizegiving ceremony will take place at the famous Royal Hotel on the Paddington 5ways - a famous nightspot area of Sydney, Australia. Tune in early tomorrow morning for photos from the prizegiving, more updates on today’s racing and GPS Action Replays of the top riders from today’s racing.

Provisional Results
1st - Sean O’Brien (Australian Champion)
2nd - Sam Fawkes
3rd - Sam Parker (1st Master)
4th - Mike Nelson
5th - Brett Morris
6th - Steven Floyd
7th - Allison Shreeve (1st Lady)

1st - Bruce Healey (FE+ Division)