- 31 January 2008 | Windsurfing
Conditions lightened today for the final day of racing at the 2008 Oceanic and Australian Formula Windsurfing Championships. The race committee again got the maximum of four races underway over the day in 12-14 knot winds which later moderated to 8-11 knots for the final two races. The lighter winds allowed some sailors the opportunity to climb the rankings after three days of high winds and big seas.
As two-time Formula Windsurfing World Champion Steve Allen (AUS-0, Gaastra/Gaastra) entered the event as favourite, he confirmed his status as one of the best formula racers in the world by winning seven of the twelve races, ending the event with a total of 9.25 points, rightfully achieving first place overall in the regatta.
Jesper Vesterstrom (DEN-111, Starboard/NeilPryde) put in a last minute effort to take the title from Steve, winning two of the last four races today, however it was not enough to take the lead from Steve and in the end he achieved a clear second place with 13.00 points.
The fight for the final spot on the podium became a close battle today as two-time defending champion Sean O’Brien (AUS-120, Starboard/Gaastra) closed the points gap between his rival Jesper Orth (AUS-10, Starboard/Severne) beating him in three out of today’s four races. It wasn’t enough to take third spot from Jesper overall and the Western Australian took third place by a mere 1.25 points finishing on 29.75 points with Sean on 31 points.
Sam Parker (AUS-3, Starboard/NeilPryde) consolidated his 5th place lead over Brett Morris (AUS-8, Starboard/NeilPryde) and became the Masters division champion at the end of today’s racing despite retiring from the first race of the day with gear failure. New Zealand RS:X sailor Antonio Cozzolino (NZL-131, Starboard/NeilPryde) put in a strong performance considering he used a smaller sail than the rest of the fleet (9.5m RS:X sail) and managed to hold onto his 7th position overall and took out the Lightweight division.
In the Grand Masters division, Rick Murray (AUS-4, Starboard/NeilPryde) took a convincing lead over his next rival to take the division win. Mitch Stephenson (AUS-195, Starboard/Severne) took out the Youth division and Greek sailor Jason Roditis (GRE-200, Starboard/North) took out the newly introduced Formula Experience Plus division.
Suttons Beach has produced three spectacular days of racing over the four day event providing a range of conditions for the sailors to compete in from ballistic winds and large seas, to light, shifty winds on the final day. Another Oceanic and National Championships is over with Steve Allen taking both the Australian and Oceanic Formula Windsurfing Champion titles.
Competitors were greeted to a fantastic two-course meal at the picturesque Sunset Blue Function Centre for the prizegiving ceremony on Friday night. Fantastic prizes of Blackberry mobile phones and trophies were awarded to the division winners as well as a chance for the competitors to catch up over a beer for the final time before the fleet departed on Saturday morning back to their homes.
The Australian Formula Windsurfing Championships now moves state back to New South Wales for 2009 and the fleet from this year’s event looks forward to another fantastically organised and supported windsurfing regatta on some of the prime beaches of Australia’s East Coast.
Source: FW Australia