Bundock and van Dooren into the lead
Race one of the F16 World Championships at Maubuisson, France got underway in drizzling rain and breeze ranging between 12 and 18 knots between wind squalls. The first race saw a slightly port bias starting line and it was Greg Goodall (AUS) and Dominique Van Asselt (NED) that led the fleet around the first mark after tacked back and forth in the shifty conditions.
Darren Bundock (AUS) and Celine Van Dooren (NED) took the lead on the first downwind making the most of the gusty conditions closely followed by Jason Waterhouse (AUS) and Brett Goodall (AUS). It was Waterhouse/Goodall with superior upwind speed that took the lead at the top mark for the second time only to cartwheel on the downwind after overlaying the bottom mark. Waterhouse/Goodall were only down for a matter of seconds loosing two places with still a lap to go. This allowed Bundock/Van Dooren to battle it out with Taylor Reis (USA) and Mathew Whitehead (USA) on the last downwind for Bundock/Van Dooren to win by 2 boat lengths over the young Americans, Waterhouse/Goodall third, Carolijn Brouwer (BEL) and Klaas Victor (BEL) to take fourth. The top seven boats in race one were all competing on Vipers.
Race two started in similar conditions with the breeze raising to a consistent 18 knots. This time it was a clear battle between Waterhouse/Goodall and Bundock/Van Dooren for the entire race breaking away from the fleet after Brouwer/Victor capsized in a gybe on the first down wind. Waterhouse/Goodall had the pace upwind but it was Bundock/Van Dooren that would make their moves downwind as the fleet was doing gybe after gybe to stay in the pressure down the course. Waterhouse/Goodall were able to hold off the spinnaker of Van Dooren to narrowly take the win by less than a boat length. The battle for 3rd, 4th and 5th was hotly contested and won respectively by USA’s Reis/Whitehead over Brouwer/Victor with both boats gybing inside Goodall/Van Asselt at the last mark to the finish.
Race three was a battle of four mixed teams taking on Jason Waterhouse/Brett Goodall for the battle for the top 5. At the top mark it was mixed teams 1, 2 and 3, but by the bottom mark Waterhouse/Goodall had fought back into the lead thanks to a fantastic gust down the left hand side of the course. Greg Goodall and Dominique Van Asselt were second and crossed tacks with Bundock/Van Dooren on the second upwind while Waterhouse/Goodall opened up a comfortable lead only for it to be whittled away and overtaken for the lead before the finish by Bundock/Van Dooren.
Bundock said: “I really enjoyed sailing the Viper today in the shifty conditions, its nice sailing such a light boat that tacks so well so we could play the shifts all day. My crew Celine made the difference today as under spinnaker downwind we made all our places, sailing in a mixed team is pretty cool fun."
Waterhouse commented on returning to the beach: “What a blast, great breeze to start the week, we are very happy with our opening day, its going to be tough in these conditions but that’s all part of the fun.”
This Visser, former F18 World Champion, said: “Hard day for us in the second race as we broke our tiller extension at the top mark and mounted the mark, we were just completely stuck for minutes getting out of the bows.”
Mathew Whitehead: “Oh. its so nice to be back on the Viper after sailing the ISAF Worlds last week, first two races we were right in there but had a massive pitch-pole in the third race."