26th of July 2009, Poland, FW Challenger

Sean O’Brien (AUS-120) Daily Reports from Pobierowo

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Day 1.

Not a lot to report here after the first day of racing in Pobierowo. After a long day at the beach and a few attempts to get a start away, the day finished without any races being completed. A decent sized fleet is competing with 64 competitors from all around the world (including 3 Australians this time!). All the usual suspects are here; Steve Allen (AUS-0), Wojtek Brzozowski (POL-10), Wilhelm Schurmann (BRA-999) and Poland's champion Olympic RSX sailor Przemyslaw Miarczynski (POL-126).

After a long day on the beach the sailors headed home late in the arvo to find some accommodation and get ready for the opening ceremony on the beach at 8pm. I unfortunately missed the entire ceremony as we'd driven through the night from Italy (arriving at the beach only 1 hour before the first possible start!) so we hadn't had a chance to find a place to stay; nor had any sleep in the past 2 days! Ended up only being able to find a hotel in the town 10km down the road from Pobierowo so by the time we got back to the beach, we'd missed the ceremony.

Day 2.

Day two kicked off in usual Polish fashion, with a bit of light rain and clouds before the sun popped out and the temperature kicked up about 15 degrees in a matter of minutes. The wind was light, but we were out on the course around 11am for the first starts. I took my new 11.8m Point-7 out with a VMG Blades 73; first time I'd used both but I was very happy with the feel of the new sails and fins on my Vapor board. The first start was a little tricky with most of the fleet lining up to start on port before a bit of lull 20 seconds from the gun, made it difficult for a lot of the port starters to cross the line. I got fairly buried in this mess and although I had some good downwind speed to catch up a few places, I spent most of the race outside of the Top 10, with Polanowski (POL-16) hot on my heels before he managed to pass me and a small group in front on the final run to the finish. Steve Allen took the bullet in R1 ahead of Wojtek and Pawel Hvalaty (POL-11) and Hubert Mokrzycki (POL-25).

As you can see in the photos below, Wojtek is sporting this rediculously oversized NP boom they he has modified himself. The width at the harness line must be close to 1m! haha. It allows his 12m sail to not even touch the boom when the outhaul is fully released, keeping the profile of the sail consistent in light winds. Wojtek took the bullet in R2 ahead of Steve and Przemyslaw. I had a good start but had some trouble with weed in the early parts of the race (I don't remember weed at this beach last year, but there seems to be a bit of it around this time) and got in to quite a bit of trouble putting me back down the fleet.

After a lunchbreak with plenty of Polish food for the competitors we tried to start R3 early in the afternoon with the winds fading. I continued with the 11.8m but up'd on to my 76cm Blade however the race was abandoned after the first lap with Steve in a clear lead and Wojtek buried on the startline and back in the 20's ... lucky for him. I was in 6th with the front pack around the bottom mark with great speed on the 76cm fin; so a little disappointed this race got K.O'd.

Later in the afternoon we tried once more but the flailing winds prevented a restart of R3. The forecast for tomorrow is fairly nuclear so there should be a good chance to have 6 races for this event completed. Stay tuned ...

Day 3.

Not a good start to the morning today. Late yesterday, in the small cramped rigging area we have access to, someone careless smashed a boom end through my board making a large hole in the centre of the underside. I raced all last year with a board with +2kg of water in it so I didn't want to have this problem again, so thought it best to sit today out and get the board repaired properly so it is ready for Leba in a few days and I can be sure I won't be sucking any water. I also haven't even had time to take my 9.9m out of the bag so it doesn't even have sail numbers!

Racing kicked off at 11.30am with the winds dropping back to 18-25 knots (+25 knots earlier in the morning) and a decent sized swell running creating a heavy shorebreak at the beach. Due to the rain I haven't been watching all the racing but so far Steve has won R3 and R4 ahead of Wojtek and Paulo (BRA-3333) taking 2nd in R3; liking the stronger winds.

Check out some photos and stay tuned for a bit more news later today.

Regards,

Sean O'Brien
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