Pressure is On at Kona Worlds
Published on October 29th, 2018
Clearwater, FL (October 29, 2018) – Day Three at the 2018 Heritage Insurance Kona Worlds in Clearwater brought much milder conditions, and an opportunity for the light wind specialists to show their mettle and make up some ground after two days of full-on planing conditions.
The Kona Class does not allow pumping, and as a result, in the light air, the fleet is always tightly bunched. Although the wind speed never reached 10 kts today, and there was only enough breeze to run two races in Gold and one in Silver, this was some of the most intense racing of the championships.
With milder conditions and very little shore-break, both fleets raced on the Gulf side today, right in front of the Sheraton Sand Key property, a key sponsor of the event. This was the first time that all competitors launched from the same spot since the start of the event, and it was awesome to see the energy on the beach.
The windward mark was set near shallow waters, and with some swell left over from all the breeze over the weekend, the mark roundings were mayhem. All competitors rounded that first windward mark within three minutes of one other, with pile-ups galore, and it took plenty of focus and stamina for everyone to make it around the course in one piece.
Now reaching the business end of the regatta, it showed, especially in the Gold fleet where the first race led to a general recall, and the second start under I-flag and with the tide pushing everyone over caught a dozen racers off-guard.
The local kids from the Clearwater youth windsurfing team read it properly, but many of the other top contenders paid the price. With one discard in the books, they’re able to discard that mistake, but are now at the mercy of a bad race.
So at the end of day three, in gorgeous sunshine and with spectators cheering on from the beach, 16-yr old Alex Temko is still leading the regatta, 17-yr old Noah Lyons is still three points behind, and three-time world champion Bjorn Holm has closed the gap behind Noah to two points but has to start conservatively the rest of the way.
On the women’s side, Andree Gauthier (CAN) has extended her lead over Barbara Belt (Texas), but 20-yr old Johanna Hjertberg (SWE) has now caught local teenager Bryn Muller for the third spot on the women’s podium.
In the silver fleet, 13-yr old Toronto prodigy Alex Lee has caught up to third place after another great result. Denis Dagenais (CAN) won the single race of the day in that fleet and has extended his lead, but he too carries a high score as a discard, so it’s far from over.
The schedule is for racing from October 27 to 31.
Source: Jerome Samson