Racing back-on at Hobie Tiger/Dragoon Worlds

Hobie Tiger Fleet - Worlds 2008
Pierrick Contin/Hobie Cat

The fifth day of the Hobie Tiger & Hobie Dragoon Worlds 2008 showed close racing on the Tiger course in the Langebaan Lagoon. The top teams played the game hard, which resulted in some tricky mark roundings.

Booth and Tiffany Baring-Gould (NED) sailed consistently and moved up to a second place overall. Heemskerk and Tentij had a troublesome day, as they retired from race one and they suffered from a split rudder blade in the third race. The Dutchmen dropped to a fourth position. Matt Whitehead and Megan du Plessis remained unbeaten and are the likely new World Champions Hobie Dragoon.

After yesterday’s calm weather, the breeze was already there at breakfast time and racing started according to schedule. It seems to become a habit, but the Tiger fleet commenced again with a general recall. At the second attempt, Duncan Ross and Rick Nankin (RSA) went off well at the committee boat.

Ross: “We went straight into the beach and after we tacked, everybody was behind us. We leaded from the start to the finish.” At every top mark rounding, the spectators cheered enthusiastically for the South Africans.

Ross: “The Frenchmen caught up on us, but it was just enough to win. Finally, we got our boat set up nicely, so it was pretty much plain sailing.” At the moment Ross and Nankin are in 8th position overall.

Ross, former Olympic Tornado sailor: “At all Worlds I have done, I have always finished around tenth, so it would be nice to make top five here. But it is tough, there are a lot of good guys and it is really close.”

Ross also complimented his 57-year old crew: “I think he is one of the eldest competitors at these Worlds and probably one of South Africa’s best keelboat sailors. He is having a great time and he keeps going for it. It is one big adventure for him.”

OCS and RAF

At the first gate in the same race, Laruffa/Sims and Heemskerk/Tentij had a starboard-port issue. The Dutchmen rounded the mark on port, went straight for a short while and then decided to tack. They Australians came after them, so the Dutchmen had to give them water.

Laruffa: “Their spinnaker pole hit our side stay, but they did not take a penalty turn.” Laruffa finished third, which turned out to be an OCS. Being back on the beach, he protested Heemskerk, who retired instead of going through this protest. The Dutchmen took revenge by taking the next bullet.

Heemskerk: “Allan Lawrence and Inge Schabort were leading until the last run. We got them not far from the finish.” Ross and Nankin were pretty unfortunate, as they broke their tiller extension a few second before the start of this second heat. Ross: “We tried the first beat, but at the top mark we decided to go inshore for a spare one.”

Windy battle

Meanwhile the wind had picked up to 20-25 knots, so heavy weather trim was needed. The fleet started clean at the very first attempt. Carolijn Brouwer and Darren Bundock, sailing for Belgium, came first at the windward mark, with Laruffa/Sims in their wake.

Laruffa: “We got them on that run and leaded through the finish.” Heemskerk and Tentij had bad luck on the downwind, as their starboard rudder blade split and they had to take it up and tie it.

Heemskerk: “That was pretty tricky, especially going upwind.” They finally finished 13th and dropped to a fourth position overall. The Australians Lovig/Gibson are back in third place.

‘Awesome feeling’

It is no surprise anymore, but Matt Whitehead and Megan du Plessis were again the stars of the course. In race 14, these local teenagers leaded by 5 minutes and 10 seconds. “I guess I was lucky, since I managed to stay upright and everybody else capsized”, said Whitehead modestly. They are likely to win the Hobie Dragoon World Title 2008 tomorrow.

Whitehead: “That is an awesome feeling. It is great, bu I am also thinking all the time and I am afraid of making mistakes.” But there is no doubt about the joy: “I love it.” Daniel Maidment, crewing for Ross Hayes, looked a bit disappointed: “We should have won the second race today, but the race committee had moved the windward mark, after which we could not make it anymore.”

The Gauteng youth team finished second. Maidment, currently in eighth position overall: “We also got a tenth and ninth, which is not good enough. We like to finish top five.” Erasmus and Suttner-Scalco climbed the leader board to a second position overall.

Tiger - Overall Results after 11 races and 1 discard

1 AUS M.Laruffa/D.Sims Total pts: 40 (10,3,1,1,2,7,3,9,64,3,1)
2 NED M.Booth/T.Baring-Gould Total pts: 41 (11,4,2,4,5,2,6,7,4,4,3)
3 AUS R.Lovig/L.Gibson Total pts: 48 (3,1,3,3,4,11,64,4,3,12,4)
4 NED M.Heemskerk/B.Tentij Total pts: 53 (4,11,7,2,1,5,8,1,64,1,13)
5 RSA S.Ferry/J.Van Der Vyfer Total pts: 61 (1,2,5,10,64,6,9,3,8,8,9)
6 BEL C.Brouwer/D.Bundock Total pts: 66 (17,8,6,64,16,1,2,2,6,6,2)
7 RSA A.Lawrence/I.Schabort Total pts: 87 (16,5,12,5,6,18,1,12,64,2,10)
8 RSA D.Ross/R.Nankin Total pts: 95 (6,7,8,14,18,4,12,17,1,64,8)
9 RSA B.Dodds/P.Dodds Total pts: 96 (9,16,4,17,8,20,10,10,7,9,6)
10 RSA H.Hale/S.Botes Total pts: 97 (7,13,17,7,12,10,7,13,5,11,12)

Dragoon - Overall Results after 8 races each and 1 discard

1 RSA M.Whitehead/M.Du Plessis Total pts: 8 (1,1,1,1,2,1,1,1,1)
2 RSA E.Erasmus/R.Suttner -Scalco Total pts: 18 (2,1,3,6,6,1,1,1,3)
3 NED G.Schouten/T.Schouten Total pts: 18 (5,2,2,3,1,2,8,3)
4 RSA P.Smith/E.Loubser Total pts: 19 (4,6,2,2,1,2,2,14)
5 RSA D.McLean/S.Du Plessis Total pts: 25,2,8,7,3,2,4,4,3)
6 RSA G.Norton/C.Norton Total pts: 31,1,14,1,1,4,6,3,4,11)
7 NED U.Vrijburg/D.Vrijburg Total pts: 33,6,2,3,5,7,5,7,5)
8 RSA R.Hayes/D.Maidment Total pts: 35 (7,3,4,5,3,3,10,2,8)
9 RSA A.Fourie/C.Lord Total pts: 36,5,5,6,2,6,7,6,6)
10 RSA S.Walker/B.Hayward Total pts: 36 (6,12,4,4,8,4,5,5)