21st of January 2005, Australia, The Neil Pryde Sail Melbourne National Regatta 2005 Victiorian Formula Windsurfing Championships

The Neil Pryde Sail Melbourne National Regatta 2005 - Day 2
Behind the Scenes

by Ian Fox
Behind the Scenes - NP Day 2

How Jesper 1 didn't win, and Jesper 2 nearly won that haircut !

Day 2 of NP opened with a predicted cooler onshore at 12-15 kts and early signs looked good for a smooth start to racing around 10.00am. With zero races Day 1 and a 1600 last start possible on Day 2, pressure was growing to ensure the regatta got at least 3 races home to count... So far so good. Then the wind stopped. And the thunderstorms caused by the residual heat from Day 1 started, swinging the wind and causing brief offshore shifts, then nothing. Then some fine rain. Then nothing. Boat crews out, on standby and at racers onshore not far from the water either in the knowledge that a start would and could be given at the first reasonable opportunity. A couple of short AP's to ease the strain while no wind, then with some hope the Start boat called riders afloat. Allison, Tibor and a couple of the lighter racers drifted out to test the conditions, and spent some time at the Start boat without success. In the end, it was back ashore and a short break allowed some lunch. The seas breeze would arrive, but in time ??

12.30 the trees moved slightly and knowing what would follow, the AP was down for 1300 Start for R1. Bang on time and nicely above wind minimum, R1 was underway and the NP regatta was running ! Some guys on biggest gear, others opted for mid range sails and Wojtek still opting on 9.8. Field spreads out quickly, many running fast but low into the corner of the small "bay" looking for a lift to the top, Wojtek taking a higher slower line covers and although conceding a lot of length makes good with a early tack and is onto the layline. Sam Parker nails it through and is round the top first at exactly 5.00 racetime, course length looking good. Jesper 2 Orth and Sean O'Brien hot in contention. Jesper 1 V DNF's along with a lot of others, seeming to not quite be in the right power zone for this heat and struggling to get into gear, while at the front of the race POL10 is giving it to them on his 9.8m, leading Jesper2 Orth home from Sean. Race time 18m27.

A short pitstop and rider break and it was back on for R2. This time it was Jesper2 who blew it on the start with OCS and Jesper 1 nailing a solid second place this time from Brett Morris and Sam Parker. Wind rising steadily and a few riders struggling with excess sail size in this one, water remained rather flat and relatively smooth and on the same course as R1 Wojtek raced on home in just under 13 minutes to again secure P1.

Wind now rising steadily and 20 kts starting to look more typical, chop rising but slowly for the start of R3 which features a wing mark close inside the Bay corner and a drag race along the beach past the club to the bottom mark, before windward leg and then a finish directly off the club via the wing mark again. Top mark has moved out and course lengthened to adjust to estimated 20 minute race finish. This time it's a fast start and the racing really looks series, with solid boat speed and much better angle from all. Wojtek nails the "over the horizon" top mark in 6m09, bottom mark in 10m10 and blasts home to another win in 18m51. Behind it's Jesper 2 keeping Wojtek busy, with Sam Parker and Sean going for it behind, followed buy Jesper 1 V who's not looking comfortable or as fast as usual as the conditions pick up.

Another short break, this time allowing a little longer as the races have been run precisely, allowing exact breaks between each restart just in time to get the R4 start safely before the 1600 last start. Jesper 1 confirms he wants to DSQ himself (in advance !!) of R4 and make an "illegal" gear change from his registered F2 Booster to his regular F159. Racers are slow off the beach as many are now really quite tested by the rising cross onshore wind at 20 kts and the increasing chop, making great racing in powered but workable conditions. Despite announcements, many guys still are LATE off the beach to sail to the start, and the sequence goes with many of the fleet sailing still to the start area despite the warning flags etc. Lucky, one individual recall is sounded but the partial "fleet" taking the start (and the huge advantage of the rest of the fleet being late !) mistake it for a general recall and abandon on their own decision ??? Oh well.
A new sequence is immediate and the racing is on again in some pretty serious wind. This time suddenly it's a different picture, that red sail flying at the front is not RS4 POL10 but DEN111 and at times he is opening away from Wojtek. Wojtek fights very hard but looks a bit tired from his extra efforts in R1 and R2 now that the conditions here are really going hard ! He closes on Jesper 1 but then runs higher , tighter angle with a smaller rig than Jesper1 on the downwind and again Jesper1 has the speed on him. At the front it's a wild two man race, these guys are really going at it, both with a point to prove and neither willing to yield. Second lap and flying home, it's Wojtek now, no, it's again Jesper 1 as he finds a "boost" in this board not evident in his previous one. Wojtek is really giving it almost too much and rounding the bottom mark a small but noticeable stutter as he almost looses it on the acceleration. Then he does, big time ! Wojtek down and hard and Jesper 1 (DSQ, of course !) is first home in spectacular finish for 39.00 points. Wojtek is struggling to restart, he has fallen hard at full throttle but gets going just ahead of Jesper 2 who is coming at full noise with Brett Morris right on him, Tasmania's Dave Morehead showing his high wind form taking 4th from Sean and then NZ's JP Tobin.

Women's racing was lead by Allison with P1 in each of the races, both her and Anna racing strongly also in the powered conditions and despite their size/weight, both running sails in the higher winds same or close to Wojtek. NZ 's Hayley Thom looked like she would miss the start of R4 with too much wind for her, but struggled and did it, sailing bravely lap 1 and then struggling home without assistance at the end of L2. Good stuff.

That's it, time out and 4 races in the bag. Everyone knows they raced. Wojtek is discussing smaller sails (!!) Jesper 1 is pretty clear about his next board choice. A few others try out the 159 and make their own opinions all heading in one direction.. Jesper 2 is pretty stoked about his sails and overall P2 but knows that his haircut is compulsory if he lands it into P1 overall. Maybe he hands it to Wojtek to save his hair ?

A party night and presentation along with lucky draw prizes for all at the Melbourne NeilPryde retailer SHQ Boardsports rounded out the evening and a long fun day.
Winner of the major prize was WA's Matt Stevens, lucky in that but not the racing as he suffered a bad knee strain.
Friday is effectively a lay day, but with seabreeze conditions again expected, the waters of Elwood will be rather FW intensive this afternoon as many visitors seek tuning and technique refinement in typical conditions for Saturday's Oceanics start. It's going to be some intense and action packed racing. See you all then.

Big thanks to the SHQ and Neil Pryde crew for the help and support in this regatta.

Join the discussion

Leoynaygys | 19th December 2012 (16:47:33)

If we take any evil and scratch , you'll find the good from which all once it started.

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