Quick start for defending 5O5 World Champion
Published on March 28th, 2015
Port Elizabeth, South Africa (March 27, 2015) – They may not have been the boat with the fastest average speed around the course but they played the wind shifts right, stayed within their lay-lines and tacked less than all to win both races on the first day of the 60th SAP 5O5 Worlds being sailed out of the Algoa Bay Yacht Club in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
Sailing for the USA Mike Holt, with crew Carl Smit, has stamped his authority on the World Championships and is lying on 2 points – 5 ahead of second placed Michael Quirk and Luke Payne from Australia.
At times the distance between Holt and the boat in 10th place was in excess of a kilometre with Holt often being up to 300 metres ahead of the fleet.
Two races were sailed in a slowly rising South-South East with rising swell being brought into Algoa Bay. With conditions predicted to stay much the same for to-morrow sailors can expect a challenging day in a sloppy east sea and onshore winds. The conditions could present some interesting surfing conditions with spectacular sailing.
Light wind specialists and former two time World Champions, Jan Saugmann and Jakob Karbo from Denmark struggled a bit in the heavier conditions and finished 7th overall with a 4th and a 15th.
South Africans Peter and Thomas Funke were the boat with the fastest average speed around the course in Race 2. Thomas Funke was pleasantly surprised at that and then, tongue in cheek, asked; “Why didn’t we come first then?” Unlike Holt and Smit the Funke’s sailed lower and further after drawing the pathfinder position in the second race which they didn’t find to their advantage at all.
Fifth placed Ian Pinnell and Johannes Tellen, will be sailing as Pathfinder in the only race tomorrow – Sunday 29 March 2015. The start is scheduled for 12h00.
Mike Holt was happy with his two bullets saying; “The racing was fun” and asked if he was confident for the rest of the 7 scheduled races he said; “A good start”
Thomas Funke predicts a huge sea tomorrow saying that the waves are already building. Funke was full of praise for Holt and Smit saying; “The defending champions are really fast.”
At one stage in the first race South African brothers, Ricky and Brennan Robinson – sailing in their first 5O5 World Championships – were in the Top 5, an outstanding showing for first timers who managed a 9th place finish but the rising wind and their combined weight of around 140 kilograms pushed them back to 14th place in the second race.
Asked about his day at the office Ricky Robinson said; “The trick is never to go slow but it is hard to keep that pace all the time, especially in a sloppy sea like that when you have to play the main all the time.” “Our combined weight in the first race was fine but in the second race as it got over 12 to 15 knots then we begin to have to de-power more than the big guys!”
With two races down and seven to go in this nine race low points series it certainly looks like Holt and Smit are on their way to one more World Title. Racing concludes on April 3.
Top 3 finishers – Day 1:
Mike Holt and Carl Smit – USA (2 points)
Michael Quirk and Luke Payne – AUS (7 points)
Sandy Higgens and Paul Marsh – AUS (8 points)
Top 3 SA finishers – Day 1:
Peter Funke and Thomas Funke – RSA (8th on 17 points)
James Largier and Richard Hutton-Squire – RSA (12th on 21 points)
Ricky Robinson and Brennan Robinson – RSA (13th on 23 points)
Report by Alan W. Straton; Photos by Christophe Favreau/ SAP