Tropical storm steals the wind at the ILCA 6 World Champs

Tropical Storm Karl, which has formed in the Gulf of Mexico, played havoc on Galveston Bay for day two of the ILCA 6 World Championship. It was a waiting game in Kemah, Texas, with just one race completed in the late afternoon.

After a three-hour on-shore postponement, the fleet was sent out onto the racecourse with high hopes of sneaking in some racing. Unfortunately, due to the instability of the weather pattern, the breeze did not build as expected. Finally, after a two-hour wait on the water, a race was underway in fickle conditions.

A light southerly had pushed in when the sailors finally got on the water today. However, not only was this predominant wind unstable, but large storm clouds were building into the afternoon due to the high humidity levels in the region.

“Big Tropical Storm Karl in the Gulf is messing around with our weather,” Australian squad co-coach Ben Walkemeyer joked. “It was unbelievable how much more humid it was when we woke up this morning.

“The wind was too unstable for racing. It was a weird mix of sea breeze trying to happen, but big storm clouds were brewing over the land, so different drivers were fighting each other across the bay.”

It was a mixed day for the Australian sailors battling it out in Texas. The majority of the squad held on to their overall positions, with most finishing in the top twenty in today’s race. Frustratingly for Western Australian Zoe Thomson despite a rocketing start she ended up on the wrong side of the fleet for a large right-hand shift that essentially decided the race.

A big challenge on a day such as this is staying mentally alert whilst trying to conserve energy for racing, particularly in the hot and humid conditions the squad is experiencing in Texas.

When questioned on how well the squad can fly into action, Walkemeyer shared, “I think they do an excellent job of helping each other. If you are an individual, it is hard, but the squad has such good synergy they are good at pumping each other up when it’s time.”

The Australian squad is enjoying the hospitality in Texas and is ready for three big races tomorrow to catch up and round out qualifying.

The storm is expected to still be in the area and could interfere with the weather patterns again tomorrow. However, forecasts are hard to predict in this instance, and the Australian coach shared, “Best to just look at in the morning and figure out what we are in store for.”

Mara Stransky CREDIT Helen Galli
Mara Stransky CREDIT Helen Galli

Full results can be found here : https://jpvm.org/results/2022/ilca6_men_women/ILCA_6_Women_results.html

Australian Sailing Team (AST), Australian Sailing Squad (ASS), Australian Sailing Futures and other Australian (AUS) entries:

ILCA6 (85 Boats)

14th – Casey Imeneo (ASS) – 11, 8, 12 (31pts)

23rd – Mara Stransky (AST) – 8,10, 21 (39pts)

25th – Zoe Thomson (ASS) – 12, 11, 17 (40pts)

28th – Evie Saunders (ASF) – 9, 25, 10 (44pts)

32nd – Elyse Ainsworth (ASS) – 16, 12, 18 (46pts)

53rd – Sylvie Stannage (AUS) – 29, 21,26 (76pts)

Words: Lisa Darmanin

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