2015 Formula Kite World Championships - Day 1
Leading Kite Course Board Racers Trade Top Spots in Topsy-Turvy Contests
Hang Loose Beach, Gizzeria—The world’s leading course board riders battled for position in a series of qualifying races that saw the fastest men and women swap the top spots in the respective fleets at the Formula kite world championships in southern Italy.
But Poland’s Blazej Ozog topped the leaderboard overall among 61 men competing in the two “yellow” and “blue” fleets, while reigning course board race world champion Steph Bridge (GBR) share top spot on the leaderboard with Elena Kalinina (RUS) after they scored two bullets and two seconds apiece.
Ozog’s position at the pinnacle of the men’s ranking by virtue of a bullet and consistent seconds and thirds in a ideal racing conditions, with flat waters and a Mediterranean thermal breeze that built steadily to 12kts to 13kts through the afternoon, gusting to 17kts.
But while Ozog’s racing was consistently strong, it was a mistake by Florian Trittel (ESP) who had notched up three bullets in the “blue” fleet and would have taken a second had he not been disqualified in his day’s final race of day one for crossing the start line early.
With another four races for each qualifying fleet set for day two, the young Spaniard should be able to discard that disastrous result which could catapult him back up the standings for day three and four when the men will be seeded into the top “gold” and bottom “silver” fleets, ahead of the final day’s medal races.
“I’m happy for now after a good day so far,” said Trittel, before his disqualification in the final blue fleet race. “I have trained hard for this and I have a physiotherapist — actually my brother — looking after me between races. This is just the qualifying fleet, so it’s not the top of the top. But you’ve still got to start strong.”
With the “yellow” fleet first on the water just after noon in a breeze of between 8kts and 11kts, the riders put up their biggest 18m foil kites that ensured the first finishers completed the two laps of the windward-leeward track just off Hang Loose Beach in about 12 minutes and 15 seconds.
Reigning Formula kite world champion Maxime Nocher (MON), fresh from his victory in the KiteFoil GoldCup Italy on the same track, opened his account with a bullet.
But Olly Bridge (GBR) had ceded the lead to Nocher by virtue of a mistake on the upwind leg of the opening race, when he misjudged the lay line to the mark and hit it, forcing him to do a 360 degree penalty turn.
“I just missed the lay line and was pinching to round it when I touched it and had to do a 360, so I lost a few places when that happened.
Bridge hit back with bullets in the “yellow” fleets final three races that put him in second spot on the leaderboard and just one point adrift of Ozog, while Nocher remained in close contention in third and Bulgaria’s Alexander Bachev sat in fourth.
Bridge’s mother, Steph had her hands full with the young Russian Kalinina who opened proceeding in the 11-strong “red” women’s fleet with two bullets in the lighter breezes earlier in the day, starting with her 18m Elf Joker5 foil kite before switching to the 15m kite.
Kalinina conceded that Bridge had made a mistake in judging the lay line to the upwind mark forcing the Briton to tack again and allowing the Russian to sneak threw for victory. But in the “red” fleet’s final race in increasingly fickle breezes as the cloud cover built from the landward side, Bridge repaid the compliment in a shrewd downwind leg that enabled her to overhaul Kalinina on the finish line.
Results: http://internationalkiteboarding.org/im ... esults.pdf