- Four races in 7 to 12 knots of wind gets the event off to a good start
- Boschetti and Maeder matched on points at the top
- Breiana Whitehead narrowly leads the women
- Port-tack starters reap the rewards of their high-risk approach
Lorenzo Boschetti was fast out of the blocks on day one of Kitefoil World Series Italy in Sardinia. The Italian rider won the first of four races in an afternoon session where the fleet was racing out of Poetto Beach near Cagliari in about 7 to 9 knots of wind. Reigning World Champion Max Maeder from Singapore took the winner’s gun in the next heat but Boschetti bounced back with a win in the next.
The wind built slightly throughout the afternoon until late in the day when it dropped light for the last lap of the fourth and final race of the session. Having started out on the biggest 23 square metre kiteBoschetti had changed down to a 15 square metre while Maeder hedged his bets with a more powerful 21 square metre.
Closing in on the finish the wind dropped below 5 knots and Boschetti was still leading but struggling to make it across the line cleanly. “I was gybing, gybing, trying to keep the speed going but the power was going from my kite and Max was catching me. In the end he beat me across the line but overall a pretty good day.”
Maeder admitted he couldn’t have foreseen the breeze softening as much as he did, and acknowledged his good fortune in having chosen the bigger kite to help him across the finish to take his second win of the day. “I couldn’t have known the wind would drop so much so I was lucky to have the 21 rather than Lorenzo’s 15,” said Maeder. “But Lorenzo was very good at the starts, tacking off early at the committee boat and getting out to the right-hand side which had slightly stronger wind and a bit of a lift up to the top mark.”
Bearing in the mind the benefits of getting out to the right-hand side of the course, a few riders took their chances with the bold port tack start option. Cameron Maramenides of Greece and Jannis Maus of Germany got cleanly away out of the start of race two, crossing the rest of the fleet and launching themselves into an early lead. Although they were later caught by Maeder, Maus overtook Maramenides on the final reach to take second across the finish with the Greek flying across in third.
It had been a risk worth taking, according to Maramenides who keeps on improving and draws closer to the possibility of qualifying Greece for next year’s Olympic Games. “Crossing the fleet on a port tack start is a different feeling, it’s amazing,” he smiled. “It’s definitely a risky move and it doesn’t always work but that one was great.” He sits in 10th overall, one place behind his rival port-tack starter Maus in 9th.
The points are very close in the women’s competition. Just as a week ago Breiana Whitehead took the early lead at the previous event in the circuit, Kitefoil World Series Traunsee in Austria, so the Australian is making the early running in Sardinia. However the fast-learning Swiss rider Elena Lengwiler is also going strong, sitting just two points behind Whitehead.
Like Boschetti and many others, Lengwiler struggled with the final 50 metres to the finish line of the last race. “The wind was dying which we noticed on the last downwind. There was no pressure, and around the finish there was no wind, so I was trying everything to cross the finish line gybing four times, pumping, pumping. But I didn’t realise I had done so well on the results until I came ashore, so I’m happy with how things have gone today.”
Just as a week ago in Traunsee, reigning World Champion Lauriane Nolot endured a difficult start to the regatta but was still grinning her trademark grin on the beach. She was trying a few different things than usual, including a 23 square metre kite rather than her standard big kite, the 21. “I tried the 23 today but it was pretty windy and I couldn’t hold on to it, so at the end of the race came back to change for the 15.”
“But then my line broke at the top mark,” Nolot continued, “and I was swimming, came back with the boat. I was happy with my speed, top 10 or 15 in the fleet, but I crashed at the top mark in the third race, and I had been in front of Jannis until then. So a lot of things went wrong but we have two days and then the medal series on Sunday so a lot can change.”
Competition continues on Friday with racing due to start at 14:00 hours. The final two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday will be live streamed and available to watch online.
1. Maximilian Maeder SGP 4.0 pts
2. Lorenzo Boschetti ITA 4.0 pts
3. Martin Dolenz CRO 12.0 pts
1. Breiana Whitehead AUS 68.0 pts
2. Elena Lengwiler SUI 70.0 pts
3. Lauriane Nolot FRA 73.0 pts
Text Credits: IKA media
Photo Credits: IKA media / Robert Hajduk
Video Credits: ICARUS Sports
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