Sao Paulo Grand Prix 2009

Thrills and spills on day 4 of the 2009 Sao Paulo Grand Prix on the beautiful tropical island of Ilhabela.

The first 2 races of the day seemed to follow the pattern of the previous day - with Ross Williams (GBR83 ) winning both races and extending his lead on his nearest rivals.

However Jesper Vesterstrom (DEN111) posted a 2nd and 3rd - which he followed up with 2 bullets in races 7 & 8 giving him the best results for any salior on the day.

Wilhelm Schurmann (BRA999) had put in another consisant performance - ensuring he moved up the overall rankings into 4th place.

However - it was not to be Alberto Menegatti's lucky day. Everything was ok until race 7 when Bambi got snarled up in the fishing lines, being cast from the back of boats fishing in the course area, resulting in a DNF!

His day got worse when just after the start of race 8 he was involved in a pile up - it looked bad , but it could have been a lot more serious! Pride and equipment was damaged - but no serious injury!

Most of the fleet started on port - an accident waiting to happen - and it was Alberto and Ross in the firing line. Both were disqualified after a protest hearing - resulting in Alberto relinquishing his overall second place to Jesper.

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The competition to be the world’s fastest wind-powered craft heated up this month, and all eyes are on Namibia. The UK based sailboat, Vestas Sailrocket, is currently doing speed trials in Walvis Bay, the largest port city in the country, in an attempt to break the current outright speed sailing record.

Sailrocket and its crew have been in Namibia since October 2 and plan to stay there until October 29, determined to leave with a new world record, seizing it back from the French yacht team, l’Hydroptère.

Just over a month ago this sophisticated hydrofoil trimaran set a new world outright speed sailing record of 51.36 knots, taking the crown of ‘world’s fastest’ away from the kiteboarding community and establishing a new standard for all wind powered crafts, especially sail boats, which have not held the title since 1993 when it was taken by windsurfers for the next fifteen years.

“It’s the outright record that we all strive for,” says Sailrocket pilot/project manager Paul Larsen on their website.  “This means that ultimately we have to beat the board riders as well.  Now, thanks to l’Hydropterè, the boat record IS the outright speed sailing record.”

With just a little over a week to go until the start of the 2009 Lüderitz Speed challenge, and good weather forecasted for Sailrocket and it’s crew, the highly contested title of ‘world’s fastest’ seems all but secure for them.

Until November, when the kiteboarders are set to do everything they can to keep the title.

Taranaki Wave Classic 2009

Each year like clockwork the warm up day Friday produced some amazing down the line wavesailing. A clean logo to mast high swell rolling three hundred metres down the perfect reef break that is called Pungarahu.

Today provided a great chance for out of town competitors for the Taranaki Wave Classic 09 to get into the swing of riding the world class waves of Taranaki coastline. Pungarahu was producing the goods with riders getting upwards of 10 turns on each wave.

I have not seen so many buzzing smiling people since last Taranaki Wave Classic. Quotes like "Best wave of my life", "Best ever" and "arrrrr I hate rocks".

The local guys were really showing their experience out on the break. James Dinnis the MC and judge for the competition was throwing huge turns and showing people what the judges like to see.

Mike La Franchie, Paul Barron and Chris La Franchie were showing why they have been at the top of the TWC honours board in the last few years. They were displaying committed sailing and not holding back. Other outstanding sailors were Dirk Schmit, Charles Dinnis, Bikki, Alex (New Caledonia) and Garry McCorry.

Lucky there are a few spot prizes of sails because the unforgiving rocks laid claim to demolishing a fair bit of gear.

The forecast for the next couple days is looking less promising.

We have good amounts of clean swell. Just the wind is quite light. Fingers crossed!