- 27 November 2008 | Windsurfing
Three races were scheduled for today; with a wind forecast of between 20-25 knots.
Nerves got the better of Hubert Mokrzycki (POL 25) with an OCS on the first start of the day.
There was drama also for event favourite Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (ARG3 ). Shortly before the warning signal the mast went through the head on his 9.8, forcing him to race on 10.7. Clearly overpowered, Gonzalo considered himself fortunate to finish the race in 5th!
Recently crowned Brazilian Champion, Gabriel Browne (BRA 50) overhauled the race leader, and European Champion, Ross Williams (GBR 83) to take 1st place in race 1. Top ranked Brazilian racers Paulo Dos Reis (BRA 3333) and Willhelm Schurmann (BRA 999) completed the top 5 with 3rd and 4th place respectively.
The next 2 races followed a pattern, at least for the top 5 - although places were exchanged and we saw different winners for race 2 (Paulo) and race 3 (Gonzalo). Only Fabio Melo (BRA 74) made an impression on these top 5 with a 3rd place in race 2.
Clearly local knowledge was an advantage as was race readiness, with many European sailors struggling with form since many had not competed on their formula equipment since the September worlds in Portugal.
However both Paulo and Gabriel put in very consistent performances, coping better with the gusty and shifty conditions, to finish tied on 6 points. On the tie break Paulo edged "Biel" into second place.
Gabriel was satisfied with his first day: "I started slowly at first but gradually I started putting in my tacks at the right moment, gaining places and holding on to my position. I had a poor start in race 3 so was happy to climb back into 3rd place. I guess I am happy - a good start to the grand prix."
Hubert remained philosophical about his "not so good start, lack of race practice was telling for me. It was very gusty, with winds reaching 32 knots at times; but tomorrow’s another day.
"The race area, located just in front of the Marina Park Hotel, the host venue, affords easy access to spectators and quick returns to the beach / harbour between races for competitors.
With wind forecast for every day, as usual, we should be in for an exciting and full series of races here in Fortaleza to end the 2008 Grand Prix World Tour.