Epic first day of Kite racing in Cagliari
Day one of the Formula Kite World Championships started with a slight delay and light winds, until around lunch when the wind switched on and developed into nice Scirocco of around 13 knots. The planned races for all male and female fleets were completed with winds continuing to build as the day progressed.
The standards of a World Championship showed from day one, with more top athletes choosing this event over the recent European Championships in Greece. Conditions today caused the starting line to be shorter than it was at the Europeans, making it more congested and more difficult to get a clean start. Acceleration and not getting caught up with anybody else trying to break away was another battle.
In addition to difficult starts the waves became bigger and messier as the day went on. “The sea state in general has been difficult for the riders to adapt to,” said Australian coach Shane Smith. “I think this is what has contributed to why the fleet has been spread out as well. It can catch you off-guard, so I think it was hard to maintain that good high speed all the time and the sea state had its effect on it.”
Scott Whitehead (Australian Sailing Squad) celebrated his birthday today and posted a consistent set of results with 11th, 11th, 7th, and 13th. “I am happy with how Scott progressed today,” continued Smith. “He got reasonable results and could probably do a little better with some starts. When they regroup tomorrow it’s another chance for the fleets to be more equal.”
Riders made the most of the mixed conditions with some performing better in the light wind of the first two races and others doing a better job in more powered conditions of the second two races. The Bay of Angels is quite technical to sail and when the sea breeze builds up the chop gets quite considerable, so it becomes tricky for riders heading upwind. There are geographic shifts to navigate as well with the hills on the right hand-side of the bay.
Hector Paturau (Australian Sailing Futures) raced in the Yellow group with several top ranked riders who finished in the top ten at the Europeans including Denis Taradin, Riccardo Pianosi, Toni Vodisek, Jannis Maus and Martin Dolenc.
“I think my fleet was quite complex with some tough competitors,” said Paturau. “It was really hard to make it to the top ten, but I was pretty happy with my last race [10th] even if I almost had two tangles and didn’t sail that clean.”
Alexander Landwehr was allocated to the Blue fleet where he struggled getting enough space for a tack after the start. “I had some great starts and my speed was in the ball park,” said Landwehr. “A few tweaks to my strategy and I think I can gain a lot of places tomorrow.”
58 female riders were split into two groups, also based on their World Sailing ranking. Breiana Whitehead (ASS) was allocated to the Green fleet together with the recent European champion Lauriane Nolot (FRA), with the Townsville Sailing Club athlete taking her form from the Europeans into today finishing the four races in tenth place.
“I’m pretty happy with the first day,” said Whitehead. “I went out to get some good scores and I wasn’t super consistent, but I was in the top of the fleet most of the time. I stayed out of all the tangles and that sort of trouble, so it was good.”
Nolot was the stand-out on day one, winning all four races in the Green fleet.
The first day of racing showed that several elements contribute to a good performance, not just a good start. Many riders noticed some ventilation of the foil which could have been caused either by tiny particles of seaweed or dissolved gas in the water due to the seasonal temperature changes as this time of year.
Group allocations will change for tomorrow and Breiana will be racing in the same group as Daniela Moroz (USA), Jessie Kampman (FRA – currently 3rd) and Gisela Pulido Borrell (ESP), who fought hard against Nolot in the dramatic final of the European Championship. Scott will be the only Aussie in his Blue fleet tomorrow with Hector, Zac and Alex all racing in Yellow fleet.
The schedule for day two will open with the Skippers meeting at 10H00 CET followed by a possible first warning signal at 11H00 CET for either men or women. Some rain is on the forecast, which means the Race Committee might have to adjust their plan of four races for all fleets.
Daily results will be uploaded to the following links:
Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and other Australian (AUS) entries in the 2022 Formula Kite European Championships:
- 32nd – Scott Whitehead (ASS) – 11, 11, 7, (13) (29 points)
- 37th – Hector Paturau (ASF) – 13, 12, (14), 10 (35 points)
- 42nd – Zac Pullen (AUS) – 15, 14, 10, (18) (39 points)
- 49th – Alex Landwehr (ASF) – 15, (24), 15, 14 (44 points)
- 10th – Breiana Whitehead (ASS) – 7, 2, (11), 6 (15 points)
- 38th – Jane Taylor (AUS) – 18, (21), 21, 16 (55 points)
By Anna Zyk/Australian Sailing Team media
Photos by Robert Hajduk