Gulari $1,000 the richer

US foiler win the Velocitek Speed Challenge on the Gorge

Sunday August 9th 2009, Author: Michelle Slade, Location: United Kingdom
Taking a break between the McLube Harken US Nationals and the CST Composites 2009 Moth World Championship which starts Monday, the Moth fleet gathered at Cascade Locks Marine Park on Saturday afternoon to wind up their flying sailing machines with racing distractions that don’t count for points.

First off was the Velocitek Speed Challenge, and Velocitek units were handed out to those who wanted to participate. Unlike the past week, the breeze on the river at the Locks was relatively light, while further east it was hitting the high 20s. Some of the fleet headed down river with units, looking for the stronger breeze.

Bora Gulari (USA) took home the $1000 cash price in the speed challenge, recording the best ten second average with 25.3 kts (and a very long sail back upwind to the club). Nathan Outteridge (AUS), and Arnaud Psarafaghis (SUI) took second equal with 24.3 kts. In 4th equal was Brad Funk (USA) and Adam May (GBR) with 24.2 kts. Fast speeds in lighter air than these guys have sailed this past week shows there’s not too much between those at the top of the fleet. As Outteridge said Friday, come the Worlds, those who make the top 3 will be those who don’t make mistakes.

Meanwhile, onshore Rohan Veal (AUS) was on the mike as MC for the event, preferring to be out on the water but doing a great job educating the crowd on Moth sailing. Some 200 locals were gathered on the shores to watch these mystical sail craft spin their magic.

The North Sail's Dash for Cash slalom knockout event kicked off around 4pm. It took a while to get the flights sorted out and the wind was playing light and fickle. But in the last hour, a breeze of around 10-12 knots kicked in and racing began. Gulari again took first, followed by Rob Gough (AUS) in second, Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) in third, Scott Babbage (AUS) fourth, and Simon Payne (GBR) in fifth.

Some 20 boats across four heats sailed the short (160 m) course that included three gybe marks. Babbage later reported: “The finishes were really tight between Gough and myself in the semi finals, and between Bora and Arnaud in the repechage. It was very tight around the whole track and quite hectic going through the gybes when the breeze was up. We saw only about 16 knots around the track, and gusty at that.” Babbage noted that the starts weren’t too flash, including his own, and crashes by Gough, Psarofaghis and Payne.

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