Hobie Tiger & Hobie Dragoon Worlds 2008 - day 3

Hobie Tiger Worlds 2008
Pierrick Contin/Hobie Cat

The third day of the Hobie Tiger & Hobie Dragoon Worlds 2008 showed much more tactical racing. The conditions were changeable with a variable wind of 8 to 12 knots. So far, the left side of the course in Langebaan Lagoon was favourite, but it wasn’t always the place to be on Wednesday.

The Olympic sailors Carolijn Brouwer and Darren Bundock knew how to play the game and scored the best series with a bullet and two seconds. They moved up to the sixth place overall. Laruffa and Sims remained in first position, but Heemskerk and Tentij (NED) closed the gap to two points. The competition for the Hobie Tiger World Title is full on, as the Australians Lovig/Gibson are only one point behind the Dutchmen. Matt Whitehead and Megan Du Plessis are still leading the Dragoon fleet.

This morning started sunny and windless. The postponement flag was hoisted, so the 63 Tiger and 25 Dragoon teams had the chance to relax on the beach. For some of them it was a welcome break after the hard work in yesterday’s heavy weather. At about 11.30 AM, the boats were sent out for the first out of three races. By then, the breeze was about 8 to 10 knots strong.

The Hobie Tiger fleet was again too keen on getting back to racing. They finally went off after two general recalls. Brouwer and Bundock went all the way to the left and so did Booth and Baring-Gould. Both teams battled it out on the beat, followed by the Frenchmen Vaireaux and Petit and Stuart Gummer from the UK. It was the mixed Olympic couple that won the battle.

Bundock about their comeback after yesterday’s retirement and capsize in the last race: “There was a little less wind and we are starting to get used to the boat. It has been 20 years since I have crewed, but we are getting better at the front.”

According to the current World Champion Tornado, they made the biggest gains on the downwind: “We gibed a lot in the breeze and passed 2 or 3 boats on every run. Today’s best strategy was to not get stuck in that left corner. We just had a great day.” The second heat was dominated by new faces, as Allan Lawrence and Inge Schabort from South Africa were flying. They never gave up their lead and took their first bullet in this championship.

Big shift to the right

While Mischa Heemskerk and Bastiaan Tentij (NED) were putting the sails down on the beach, their fellow countrymen Gijs Jannink and Willem de Boer had a cold beer. Heemskerk with a smile on his face: “We gave them the bottles as a consolation prize, because they capsized with only 100 meters left to the finish line.” Heemskerk and Tentij did not have any issues and leaded from the beginning to the end. Meanwhile the breeze had picked up to 12-14 knots.

Heemskerk: “We started at the committee boat, because the wind had already shifted to the right. We had clean air and pushed hard to the left side of the course. We tacked a bit earlier, just before the crowd. At the windward mark, we had two boats close behind us, but one hit the mark. On the downwind, we first continued on starboard tack and gibed with the fleet.”

All they had to do was sailing their own race, so the Dutchmen took the bullet. Heemskerk: “Everything worked out so well, both on the beat and on the run. And it was much more fun to compete in these tactical conditions. There were moments you could really gain, by playing the shifts.” Laraffa and Sims lost some ground today, by finishing 7th, 3rd and 9th. Laruffa: “The spinnaker cleat kept coming off, so we lost many boats because of that.”

Hobie Hobie Dragoon Worlds 2008
Pierrick Contin/Hobie Cat
Dragoon top five gets really close

Although Matt Whitehead and Megan Du Plessis (RSA) seem to be a class apart, there is still an exciting competition going on in the top five of the Dragoon Worlds. There are only three points between numbers two and five.

Father and son Schouten (NED) scored a first and second today, and so did the locals Petrus Smith (14) and Ewie Loubser (9). Smith, sailing with the youngest crew of the event: “We won the first race by half a leg. I tacked at the right times and we caught a few people on the downwind.” In the second heat, they were seventh at the windward mark and worked their way back to a second position.

Smith: “I went where the breeze was and that was in the middle or at the left side of the course.” Although he is in third place overall, Smith doesn’t want to put pressure on himself. “No, I want to enjoy it. After this championship, I will use a Hobie 16 from somebody else with my own spinnaker kit on it. I will team up with a girl and we like to qualify ourselves for the ISAF Youth Worlds.”

The parent-child crews compete in the Open Class. The youth teams under the age of 16 years aim for the third Junior Youth World Title in the Hobie Dragoon class.

Tiger - Overall Results after 8 races and one discard

1 AUS M.Laruffa/D.Sims Total pts: 26 (10,3,1,1,2,7,3,9)
2 NED M.Heemskerk/B.Tentij Total pts: 28 (4,11,7,2,1,5,8,1)
3 AUS R.Lovig/L.Gibson Total pts: 29 (3,1,3,3,4,11,64,4)
4 NED M.Booth/T.Baring-Gould Total pts: 30 (11,4,2,4,5,2,6,7)
5 RSA S.Ferry/J.Van Der Vyfer Total pts: 36 (1,2,5,10,64,6,9,3)
6 BEL C.Brouwer/D.Bundock Total pts: 52 (17,8,6,64,16,1,2,2)
7 RSA A.Lawrence/I.Schabort Total pts: 57 (16,5,12,5,6,18,1,12)
8 RSA W.Edwards/G.Willcox Total pts: 66 (2,34,14,9,9,16,5,11)
9 RSA D.Ross/R.Nankin Total pts: 68 (6,7,8,14,18,4,12,17)
10 RSA H.Hale/S.Botes Total pts: 69 (7,13,17,7,12,10,7,13)

Dragoon - Overall Results after 6 races each and one discard

1 RSA M.Whitehead/M.Du Plessis Total pts: 5 (1,1,1,1,2,1)
2 NED G.Schouten/T.Schouten Total pts: 10 (5,2,2,3,1,2)
3 RSA P.Smith/E.Loubser Total pts: 11 (4,6,2,2,1,2)
4 RSA G.Norton/C.Norton Total pts: 13,1,14,1,1,4,6)
5 RSA E.Erasmus/R.Suttner -Scalco Total pts: 13 (2,1,3,6,6,1)
6 RSA D.McLean/S.Du Plessis Total pts: 18,2,8,7,3,2,4)
7 RSA R.Hayes/D.Maidment Total pts: 18 (7,3,4,5,3,3)
8 NED U.Vrijburg/D.Vrijburg Total pts: 21,6,2,3,5,7,5)
9 GBR L.Carter/D.Carter Total pts: 21 (3,5,5,10,5,3)
10 RSA A.Fourie/C.Lord Total pts: 24,5,5,6,2,6,7)

The Hobie Tiger & Hobie Dragoon Worlds 2008 are sponsored by Southey, Airport City, Seiko and Coca Cola with Langebaan Yacht Club as the event host.