Breiana Whitehead qualifies for Kite Euros Semi Final

Australia’s Breiana Whitehead remains firmly in the hunt for a medal at the 2022 Lepanto Formula Kite European Championships entering tomorrow’s Semi Final series in sixth place. The unique nature of the Formula Kite final day means anyone from the top ten can win it on the final day if they secure enough race wins.

Today’s penultimate day in Nafpaktos, Greece started early with the first warning signal around 10am. The Men’s and Women’s Gold Fleets did four races before the Silver and Bronze fleets also completed four races. An additional two races for the male and one more for the female Gold Fleets were called later in the afternoon, which allowed one more discard on the qualifying results.

It was another tricky day for riders, with the wind shifting up to 30 degrees at times as it came in gusts over the hills of Nafpaktos.

Whitehead (Australian Sailing Squad) entered the day in fifth and added a 5th and 12th from today’s racing. “My results today would have been better if I executed better starts,” said Whitehead. “The girls were lining up deftly and early, so it was hard to get a spot and a gap that was enough to put the kite down and send it. It was challenging and something I need to work on.”

With one more discard Breiana remains in the top ten for tomorrow’s Medal Series, which consist of Semi Finals and Finals. The top two on rankings from the qualifying series move through automatically to the Finals, with those ranked third to tenth battling it out for the other two spots in the 4-rider final. Semi Finals will see athletes in places 3rd to 10th from Gold fleet divided in two groups. Breiana will be in Semi Final group 1 racing against:

Semi Final 1 will be raced until either the rider in 3rd place gets 1 win, or the rider in 6th place gets two wins or each of the remaining two riders (7th & 10th) gets 3 wins. This will define the third competitor to enter the Final. The second Semi Final Group will have 4th, 5th, 8th and 9th-positioned riders competing against each other under the same rules to reveal the fourth finalist. Adding extra pressure to the format is the strict race time limit of ten minutes.

After Gold fleet racing today two of the top ranked women secured their spots in the Final – Lauriane Nolot (FRA) and Jessie Kampman (FRA). The Final will be contested under the same rules as the Semi Finals, with the top ranked athlete needing to win one race and the second ranked rider needing two wins. Lauriane had a very consistent day today with three race wins, but previous iterations of this finals format have seen athletes from anywhere in the top ten winning so it is still all to play for.

Brei’s brother Scott Whitehead had another strong day, adding two bullets in the Silver Fleet to sit atop their standings.

“[In Race 1] I had a good start and I went left, covered the whole fleet all the way to the top mark and managed to hold on to the lead,” said Whitehead. “In the other race I had a shocking start and I tacked out to the right, managed to pick up a lift and came back across in front of everyone. From there it was pretty easy, I didn’t have to worry about much and just stayed in pressure.”

Following Scott in 4th place in the Silver fleet was Hector Paturau (Australian Sailing Futures), who had some good races today, scoring 5, 3, 12 and 4:

“The water was flatter today, which was an advantage,” said Paturau. “There was still a little bit of seaweed, but the wind was really tricky coming from the East and offshore, shifting left and right. Scotty worked really well with pressure and shifts.”

Alexander Landwehr (ASF) also had a nice day adding 7, 8, 15 and 12 to his scoresheet to sit 9th in the Silver Fleet.

“There is much less speed differential in the silver fleet compared to qualifying, so the racing was super close and fun,” said Landwehr. “Today I found it basically impossible to hold a lane off a relatively cramped start line. Thankfully the dying offshore breeze made it a game of snakes and ladders, which I managed to get right more often than not so in most of the races I worked my back up to some good finishes.”

Silver and Bronze fleets will have one final race tomorrow after the Finals are completed. The forecast promises a nice sunny day with westerly wind again. First warning signal is scheduled for 14H00 local time.

Livestreaming of the Medal Series will be available on Facebook and YouTube of the International Kiteboarding Association (IKA):

Live tracking for Gold fleets will be available at: https://www.metasail.it/live/341/

Visit the event website for full results.

Australian Sailing Squad (ASS) and Australian Sailing Futures (ASF) at the 2022 Formula Kite European Championships:

Overall results after 13 races – women (with 3 discards):

Gold fleet:

6th – Breiana Whitehead (ASS) – 4, 1, (7), 3, 5, 3, (14), 8, 9, 9, 5, 7 (12) (54 points)

24th – Jane Taylor (AUS) – (15), 12, 9, 11, 14, 7, (25 DNC), 16, (25 DNC), 25 DNC, 21, 22, 21 (157 points)

Overall results after 10 races – men (with 2 discards):

Silver fleet:

1st – Scott Whitehead (ASS) – (13), 6, 12, (12), 8, 12, 1, 2, 5, 1 (47 points)

4th – Hector Paturau (ASF) – (15), 10, (15), 6, 10, 7, 5, 3, 12, 4 (57 points)

9th – Alex Landwehr (ASF) – 4, (31 DNC), 9, 15, (19), 14, 7, 8, 15, 12 (83 points)

Bronze fleet:

18th – Daniel Self (AUS) – 18, 24, (31 UFD), (25), 22, 25, 23, 11, 11, 13 (146 points)

By Anna Zykova/Australian Sailing Team media

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