Day 2 at the 2013 African Course Racing Championships and the weather was not looking too promising early on in the day, with the turquoise waters of Soma Bay in Egypt distinctly mirror-like in appearance. However, a few hours of patience waiting ashore, were rewarded with breeze kicking into between 8-12 knots.
For the men, racing in two fleets reseeded from day 1, today was all about qualifying through to the gold fleet for the final series. World number 1 on the Course Racing World Rankings, German’s Florian Gruber, left nothing to chance and took two race wins to move up into second on the leaderboard, just behind series leader Riccardo Leccese. Gruber seemed unstoppable today and more than confident enough to play amongst the big names in course racing, despite his young years – at just 19 years old. Reigning World Champion, Jonny Heineken had difficulties trying to catch Gruber, but a 4th place in race 6 was enough for him to stay in the top three of the leaderboard, just 2 points behind Gruber.
Tomorrow sees the men split into gold and silver fleets for the final races, with the top 30 kiters now racing against each other in the same fleet – so there is guaranteed to be added pressure and excitement on the race track.
In the women’s first race 5 of the day it was the young Russian Elena Kalinina who led, and achieved a major margin over the rest of the pack. Her light weight certainly played to her advantage, and she went onto score another win in race 6 and end the day where she started, in second overall. Series leader going into race day 2, Steph Bridge from Great Britain posted a second in race 5, to help her stay in the top spot on the leaderboard. With the wind forecast to pick up tomorrow, it will be interesting to see how Bridge responds to the challenge from the Russian. And pushing up in to third overall is the reigning Course Racing World Champion Erika Heineken after a strong 4,2 scoreline.
TOP 3 for the 2013 African Course Racing Championship
1. Riccardo Andrea Leccese (ITA)
2. Florian Gruber (GER)
3. Johnny Heineken (USA)
1. Steph Bridge (GBR)
2. Elena Kalinina (RUS)
3. Erika Heineken (USA)