Full Racing Action at the Gold Games
Day three began with the hope of stronger, more reliable winds, as forecasts and local experts predicted better conditions. After meeting for the first time in the early morning, riders finally started to ready their gear for the 10am start in offshore winds measuring around 7-11 knots.
Race one started with an early lead by Columbian competitor, Riccardo Leccese, and the Americans, Bryan Lake and John Heineken close behind. As the distance decreased between Lake and Leccese, the battle became even tighter, with riders on their biggest kites. Eventually, Leccese, Koch, and Heineken (respectively) finished the race first – Lake, Maxime Nocher, and Olivier Dansin not far behind.
The second race also provided an eventful battle as Adam Koch pulled out of the starting line first. Once the first mark was reached, Lake had moved into first place, while Olivier Dansin held onto second. Impressively, Lake pulled further and further ahead, as Heineken was forced to take a short tack to make his mark. Near the end, Leccese and Heineken raced incredibly close, while Olivier Dansin earned his first, first place finish of 2012, with Bryan Lake taking second. Notably, Caroline Adrien, the French competitor, did exceptionally well in the girls category, earning first place in three of the five total races held.
Race three then gave way to ample excitement before the red flag even went down, as a major tangle caused numerous competitors a delayed start. This incident later caused multiple protests. In spite of this commotion at the start, Lake pulled out with a strong first place in the beginning, as Heineken and Dansin fought back and forth for the second position. Lake seemed to be racing at lightening speed at times, bringing in an eventual strong first place win. In this race, Leccese finished second and Dansin crossed third. Katja Roose and Nuria Goma were unable to complete this race, due to the early tangle. Caroline Adrien, Ariane Imbert, and Jessica Sickinger, on the other hand, placed most favorably.
At 12pm and after a break, the horn for the fourth race sounded. At the first mark, Heineken took the lead, Leccese and Dansin at his heels. Koch and Lake also raced amazingly close, proving this race to be a tactical game at its best. Lake and Heineken both made strides on the upwind tacks, while Kerneur moved up as well. Heineken then increased his lead in the last leg of the race, leaving Dansin and Leccese to finish just after. Katja Roose won this race for the girls, beating out a number of her fellow male competitors.
The fifth and final race of the day provided the most excitement by far, as competitors knew this would be their last chance on day five to improve their ranking and overall standing. While Heineken was the first to tack, Julien Kerneur took a completely different line on starboard, which allowed him to move into first at the upwind mark. Koch and Dansin battled for top positioning, as Lake took over a remarkable three positions on the downwind leg. Leccese meanwhile held strongly to front placement, as everyone clearly exerted their most intense efforts to make it to the top. In the closest finish of the day, Leccese crossed just inches before Koch, with adrenaline obviously pumping – followed by Heineken in third and Lake in fourth. This last race was run in 10-15 knots of variable wind.
After two days of no wind, this third day provided more than enough entertainment and excitement to satiate everyone’s wishes. Olivier Dansin proudly carried a content post-race glow, as he ended the day with a (provisional) fourth place. Also barely able to contain his excitement with his first place ranking, Leccese displayed his grin ear to ear, saying that the last race of the day was his best ever.
Unfortunately, the wind did not hold long enough to allow for freestyle heats; however, plenty of days remain to allow for both disciplines to continue. Tomorrow, forecasts call for 7-9 knots, with the most wind expected at around 2pm. Also of note, the live cast has not been available due to technical difficulties; however, this issue is currently being working on.