Breiana Whitehead flies up to fourth at Kite World Championships

Australia’s Breiana Whitehead has put together a day to remember at the 2022 Formula Kite World Championships in Cagliari, Italy, moving up to fourth with two days left to race.

There was no shortage of action, with a day of windy conditions suddenly darkened by a squall that damaged equipment and left some riders assessing the damage to their equipment and their scorecards.

With and offshore gusty breeze of 18-23 knots the Race Committee called the competitors out at 14H00 intending to race the Silver and Bronze fleets first, followed by Gold fleets afterwards. While the men’s Silver fleet were racing a 40-knot squall hit the racecourse causing havoc and equipment damage. Luckily, no injuries occurred, with coaches and the safety team swiftly racing the riders to shore.

After the wind has stabilised and it was safe again to go out on the water the RC called the Gold fleets for their 4 races. Across the shifty racecourse it was Breiana Whitehead (Australian Sailing Squad) who led the field in consistency and avoiding the dangers of the afternoon. She was generally racing out in the clean air of the front of the pack as she aimed for low scores with minimal risk.

Stunning conditions at the Formula Kite Worlds – Robert Hajduk pic

Whitehead posted keeper scores of second, third, fourth and fifth today, good enough to move her up from tenth overnight to fourth overall.

“Decision making wasn’t straightforward today, because it was shifty and the clouds were still influencing the racecourse a lot,” said Whitehead. “It’s tricky to push really hard and make decisions at the same time, so you just had to commit to it and then hope it works out. It’s disappointing if your decisions don’t pay off, but sometimes you just have to take an opportunity.”

Brei will race in the final day of Gold Fleet racing tomorrow before the Finals day on Sunday, which will give her a fantastic chance to chase her first World Championship podium finish.

Unfortunately, in the midst of the squall that hit the Silver fleet during race three Scott Whitehead (ASS) suffered equipment damage after performing really well in the first two races of the day. An attempt to get back to racing for race four wasn’t successful despite a quick beach run operation from the coach boat. The two DNCs saw Whitehead drop to eight overall in Silver fleet.

“Scott was doing really well in the first two races today and was in third in race three at the time he crashed,” added Australian coach Shane Smith. “He is showing really good form, but these unfortunate conditions did cost him a few places on the leaderboard. Hector and Alex had a day where they didn’t feel like they could push, so there’s some more work to do for them tomorrow.”

Zac Pullen (AUS) also had gear problems with two of his kites getting damaged. The team will be working overtime to ensure Zac can get back onto the racecourse tomorrow.

With the weather forecast remaining very unstable it is unlikely that the wind will build up before midday for tomorrow’s racing. The Race Committee is looking at the first possible warning signal at 13H00 with the order of starts to be decided tomorrow morning.

Gold fleet racing will conclude on Saturday with the top 10 athletes advancing to the Semi Finals on Sunday. The top two riders from the qualifying series will go straight to the finals, with ranks three to ten battling it out for the other two spots in the Final through the Semi Finals. Starting at 14H00 CET, the Gold fleet racing will be livestreamed on IKA’s YouTube and Facebook pages.

Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) and other Australian (AUS) entries in the 2022 Formula Kite European Championships:

Women’s Gold fleet
4th – Breiana Whitehead (ASS) – (7), 2, (11), 6, 5, 2, 4, 5, 3 (27 points)

Women’s Silver fleet
11th – Jane Taylor (AUS) – 18, (21), 21, 16, 17, (DNC 34), 15, 17, 7 (110 points)

Men’s Silver fleet:
8th – Scott Whitehead (ASS) – 11, 11, 7, (13), 10, 7, 2, 2, (DNC 31), DNC 31 (81 points)
17th – Hector Paturau (ASF) – 13, 12, 14, 10, 16, (24), 15, 11, (24), 23 (114 points)
20th – Zac Pullen (AUS) – 15, 14, 10, 18, (24), 14, (24), 16, 18, 13 (117 points)
27th – Alex Landwehr (ASF) – 15, (24), 15, 14, 14, 14, (DNC 31), 21, 20, 20 (133 points)

Follow the event via the event website: https://www.formulakite.org/

Women’s results: https://www.formulakite.org/sailwave/liveresults_women.htm

Men’s results: https://www.formulakite.org/sailwave/liveresults_men.htm

By Anna Zyk/Australian Sailing Team media

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