Hosted in the idyllic location of Soma Bay, Egypt, racing at the 2013 African Course Racing Championships got underway on Monday 25 March 2013 in perfect conditions.
Raced as an open event, sixty one men and fifteen women are competing, including the reigning World Champions, Johnny Heineken from the USA in the men and sister Erika Heineken in the women. A strong mix of sailors from African nations are also in contention for the overall African Course Racing Championship title.
Race day 1 delivered perfect conditions in Soma Bay with four races contested for each of the men’s and women’s fleets.
An on form Steph Bridge from Great Britain was the star performance of the day claiming 3 wins from the first 3 races in the women’s event, and wrapping up race 4 with a 2nd place. With the discard kicking in after race 4, Bridge has a perfect 3 point score. Securing the race 4 win was Poland’s Agnieszka Bilska who sits in third overall on an equal 8 points with Russia’s Elena Kalinina, with the Russian holding the tiebreak advantage in second overall. Reigning World Champion Erika Heineken was a little inconsistent in her opening day and is placed fourth on the leaderboard.
In the men’s fleet, the 61 kiters have been split into two fleets, and today, the fleet split saw World Champion Johnny Heineken up against the Italian Riccardo Andrea Leccese. Proving that World Champions don’t always have it their way, each of them took two wins and two second places, to sit on equal points, but with the tiebreak advantage favouring Leccese who tops the leaderboard. Expect this to be an extremely close showdown between these two as racing unfolds. Florian Gruber (GER) sits tight in third overall, counting a string of top 3 finishes after discard.
The men have been split into two fleets and will sail another day of qualifiers, before being split into gold and silver fleets for two more days of racing on Wednesday and Thursday, with the top ten going through to Friday’s medal race. The women will sail as one fleet through until Friday, when the top 10 will go through to the medal race.
TOP 3 for the 2013 African Course Racing Championships
1. Riccardo Andrea Leccese (ITA)
2. Johnny Heineken (USA)
3. Florian Gruber (GER)
1. Steph Bridge (GBR)
2. Elena Kalinina (RUS)
3. Agnieszka Bilska (POL)