- 06 January 2009 | Windsurfing
A picture perfect day greeted the competitors of the 2009 Formula Windsurfing Oceanic and Australian Championships in Sydney, Australia today.
As the first Continental Championship event for Formula Windsurfing (FW) in 2009, Sydney lived up to expectations with a sunny, warm and windy day providing three races for the competitors.
With the first race kicking off at 1.45pm, there was already a cruisy 10-12 knot Easterly winds at Ramsgate Beach, Botany Bay (Sydney) at the race site and most of the fleet were out on the water early to get used to the conditions.
Queenslander Sean O’Brien (AUS-120) enjoyed a great day taking 3 bullets from 3 starts on his 25th Birthday to lead the event on 2.25 points nearly 6 points clear of youngster Sam Fawkes (AUS-21) on 8 points and a returned to form Mike Nelson (AUS-12) on 12 points.
Our World Champion Allison Shreeve (AUS-911) took it up to the boys in every race today; finishing 4th in Race 3 which slots her into 5th overall on the first day.
Sam Parker (AUS-3) had a disappointing end to the day after a great start following Sean into 2nd in the first race - but still has plenty of time to rise up the ladder and battle for the illustrious Australian FW Title.
In the relatively newly established Formula Experience Plus (FE+) class, Bruce Healey (AUS-9) took all 3 bullets today and shows a strong chance of taking out the title.
Competitors from Greece, France, Ireland, Guernsey (UK) and Denmark arrived to take on a strong contingent of Australian sailors from all over the country. With winds hovering around 10-12 knots in the first two races and third race was started shortly after lunch which had to be abandoned after the wind cut out through the second lap.
An hour or so on the beach and the wind returned, this time from the NE and with the experienced race-crew making a quick course change - the competitors were again out on the course for a re-run of Race 3 with winds increasing to 18 knots and the Botany Bay chop becoming a little problematic for some.
After racing concluded at 6pm, a traditional Aussie welcome BBQ kicked off on the race-site with competitors enjoying a cold drink to soften their sore hands from the big first day of racing.
With the forecast for Day 2 looking even windier than today we’ll see whether Sean O’Brien can continue the form he showed today and whether Sam Fawkes can attack Sean for the overall top spot in the Mens Fleet.