Oceanic and Australian Formula Windsurfing Championship 2009

12 January 2009

FW RacingExcited by the prospect of sunshine in what are traditionally the bitter English winter months, James Briggs (GBR848) made the journey south to compete in the 2009 Oceanic & Australian Formula Windsurfing Championships.

Greeted by brilliant sunshine and a moderate breeze for the pre-event training this seemed to have been a very wise idea.

However, news soon arrived that a great white shark had been spotted at a local wave sailing spot, Long Reef on the East Coast only the week before the event was to begin.  The local sailors seemed completely non phased by this news and relished the opportunity to regale any shark related tales that came to mind whilst within earshot of the slightly unsettled northern visitor!!

A total of eleven races across all ranges of conditions were held during the four day event.

Day one saw moderate breeze conditions and brilliant sunshine.  The reigning Australian National Champion, Sean O'Brien (AUS120), started the series off as he meant to continue getting three bullets from the first three races.

The first three races saw James Briggs overall lying in tenth place.

After a frustrating second day for the event where one race was attempted although could not be finished as the wind dropped, day three could not have been more different presenting solid 20 knot plus conditions all day with the gusts peaking at 30 knots.

Race four saw Sam Parker making the most of the heavier conditions taking the bullet.  In races five, six and seven, Sean O'Brien showed good form in response to the change in conditions winning the last three races of the day.

Adjusting to the heavier conditions saw James Briggs put in his best performance of the series with a seventh place in race four.  Race seven had looked to be a very strong race in which there were some great downwind battles with some of the series leaders, crossing the finish line in fifth place.  However, later it was discovered that he had been marginally too early at the start and so disqualified from the race with an OCS (on course side) for failing to start correctly.

Day four brought with it the forecast of dropping winds which prompted an earlier start with the race briefing at 1000.  Four races were conducted back to back in order to make best use of the conditions.  Sean O'Brien continued his winning streak in races eight and nine held in gusty conditions which were windier than initially forecast.

Races ten and eleven saw the conditions become less consistent with the wind dropping to 8 knots, gusting 15 knots and 20 degree wind shifts on the course.  Sam Fawkes (AUS21) made the most of the shifty conditions, staying alert and winning both races.

James Briggs struggled with consistency in the changeable and shifty conditions and dropped a few places compared to the previous days racing overall finishing in thirteenth place.

Thanks go to Chris Ting, the President of the Stormriders Windsurfing Club, in making it possible for me to enter the event.

Credits for all the photos go to Tammy Hohnberg and Phil Ting.

Final Results:

Overall Winner :    AUS120. Sean O'Brien
First Master :         AUS3. Sam Parker
First Woman :        AUS911. Allison Shreeve
First Grandmaster :    AUS4. Rick Murray
First Youth :         DEN111. Christian Justesen

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