Wednesday 21 September 2011

Zara Davis from the UK leads the Women’s European Speed tour - By Pete Davis

The 3rd event of the European Speedsailing Championship tour was held on the island of Fehmarn in Germany. It delivered some great, if challenging racing with winds up to 35 knots. Five rounds were completed by the international fleet and the lead changed 3 times over the event. Anders Bjorkqvist from Sweden came out on top amazingly after a bad crash in the second round when he broke his finger and put his head through the sail! He carried on, taking the win by only one point over Manfred Merle from Germany who split the two storming Swedes, putting Daniel Borgelind in third. Zara Davis with five bullets won the women’s fleet, beating her old rival Birgit Hofer who consoled herself with taking the Germans ladies crown for 2011. Zara’s speed was impressive all week underlined by the fact that she came an impressive 17th overall in a very strong men’s fleet of sixty plus entrants.

This back to back win for Zara puts her on the top of the women’s European speed tour rankings with one event to go on home turf, Weymouth. She is hoping for a win here to secure her European Speed title. The men’s fleet is far from decided. Thorsten Mallon from Germany extended his lead over Patrick Van hoof from Belgium in the tour. But these two have now completed 3 events (only your best 3 results count) and the Swedes Anders Bjorkqvist and Daniel Borgelind are only 45 points behind the leader and have only completed 2 events. So a win in Weymouth will see the European title going to one of the Swedes, separated by only 1.8 points! We are looking forward to an epic battle going down to the wire.

Daily Report
Day one: No wind for competition opening today but the forecast looks very good for later in the week.  A very good turnout with 70 riders competing and all the main players are here including the home favourite and current tour leader Thorsten Mallon followed very closely by Patrick Van Hoof from Belgium. David Garrel sailing for Luxembourg is also in attendance who won the Belgian event but missed the Swedish one, so could upset the close battle for the top spot. Zara Davis from the UK is also here hoping for a back to back win from Sweden but her old rival Birgit Hofer the current German ladies tour leader never makes it easy for her.

Unfortunately due to work commitments Steffi Wahl the 2010 German Champion couldn't make it.

Day two: Wind is still light but the organiser Manfred Merle is hoping to run some fun races today to to get the competitors warmed up for the wind forecast later in the week. 

Click the Picture for Anders Story
Day Three: Not enough wind, no racing today just a GPS fun race.

Day Four: Two counting races today for European tour one only for the German championships. David Garrel LUX and Anders Bjorkquist SWE are tied on points but David has the fastest speed so is leading Zara Davis leads the women. Anders had a bad crash and went through his sail and broke this finger and had to go to hospital but I am sure he will be back on the water.

Day Five: a frustrating day for racers and organisers. Due to the wind direction the water level in this area dropped by over a meter overnight and the race officer decide to delay starting till the afternoon in the hope that the level would come back. This was the windiest period unfortunately with winds of 25 to 35 knots. The level didn't rise but the organisers didn't want to waste the wind so a round was run but it was very shallow and weed became a real problem. The Swedish liked these conditions as it is very similar to their home speed spot and both Anders and Daniel from Sweden took first and second places in the international fleet putting Anders in 1st place overall. Zara Davis made it three in a row with Birgit Hofer close behind. In the German National Championship Michael Naumann is winning every race and needs one more win to secure his lead overall in the 2011 German speed tour.

Day Six: The wind has dropped to 20 knots, but the water hs come back. Two rounds completed today, the top spots stay the same but the dark horse, Manfred Merle is moving up the list and is now a close 2nd place in the international fleet. Michael Naumann made it a clean sweep with 1st place in every race in the German nationals and should take the German tour title.

The winners enjoying a well earned rest. You wouldn't be allowed that with the Portland Pirates ;-)
Last two days there was not enough wind for competition so mid day Saturday prize giving was staged, and the competitors made their way home for a well earned rest.

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