March 08, 2016
Rain, Thunder, Lightening Challenges for Day 2 of Asian Championship
Another wet start to the day, with overhead storm around the race track at the scheduled start time of 1300 hours, kept fleets ashore, and the Race Committee postponed racing to 1500 hours.
Postponements ashore saw teams relaxing around the venue and generally chilling in this very beautiful location at Abu Dhabi.
Patience from the Race Committee and teams, as everyone waited for an opening in the weather, which eventually delivered around 1530 hours. Racing got underway in the late afternoon in an 8-9 knot easterly breeze, increasing to 10-11 knots.
Ganapathy KC/Varun Thakkar (IND) hold a slender lead over the Japanese and the Thailand teams going into race day 3, but discards will come into play soon and it is anybody’s guess on the things to come. “We ended up starting at the committee end of the line, and unfortunately we couldn’t recover,” said Ganapathy. “We felt like we sailed a good race, which was a positive, so hopefully we can just take forward the positives into tomorrow. Round the race course we were sailing really well, so are happy with what we did on the water.”
After a long day, Makino/Takahashi (JPN) have redeemed yesterday’s performance and leaped up the leaderboard from 5th to 2nd. “We managed to get off the line well and sail our own race,” sail Makino. “We were really happy with our performance and are now slowly trying to crawl our way back up to the top. It is really tight racing so it will be a long week for all,”
An upgrade from sixth going into the day to third at the end for Whitcraft brothers, Don and Dylan (THA) after a second place after a bullet in the first race of the day. “It was a long day with a lot of waiting, so you knew in the end there was going to be a race, so you had to be on it, and ready to go. We feel confident with our speed and feel confident with our sailing, and we enjoy it here,” said Don. “It’s challenging, but it’s a bit like sailing on a big lake with current.”
Early days, but Japan’s Matsunae/ Harada mark their best ever opener and maintain a solid 2,1,1 scoreline. However, with just three races down, they are understandably cautious.
“It feels nice to be up there at the top,” smiled Masunae. “The three races have been fantastic and we just need to keep the momentum going and keep building on what we have. We seem to have great speed and are making good calls,” she added referring to their tactics around the track.
Climbs for some, drops for others, including India’s #1 team of Varsha/ Aishwarya, who fall a place after a DSQ today.
Malaysia’s Afendy has been to the London 2012 Olympic representing Malaysia. But the Thai, Bualong almost overhauled Afendy, but couldn’t catch him in the second race. Here though, the challenges of the race course are likely to leave the doors to the podium wide open to many teams right to the end.
“I had quite a good start, but we couldn’t get to the right side where I wanted, so ended up on the left. I managed to catch quite a few boats, and it was quite a horse race on the reach, so it was hard but I gained a few points and am happy with that,” Bualong said about his day.
Kamolwan Chanyim (THA) has been rock steady for the past three years and focussed on winning that special ticket to Rio 2016 and her performance was reflected in both the races, which she won with ease.
“It would be good to have a change at the top,” reflected Nur Shazrin Latif (MAS) in respect of Chanyim’s dominance, “but it is not just up to us. This regatta will be a test and we have only had two races. It is going to be really, really open.
“Its early days, so we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves,” chipped in Khairuneeta Afendy (MAS). “This is the first time in many years that we have spent a month preparing at the venue before an event, which is extremely helpful at a venue like this.”
Michael Cheng of Hong Kong dominated the day, but was unlucky to be penalised in the first race. He more than made up by winning the second race with a comfortable margin. Cho Wonwoo (KOR) leads after two races and is closely followed by Natthaphong Phonoppharat and Ek Boonsawad both from Thailand.
Siripon Kaewduangngam THA leads after two races closely followed by Sin Lam Lo and Wai Yan Ngai both from Hong Kong.
“I am pretty pleased with the day. It’s been pretty tough with the thunderstorm out there and a lot going on, so getting good results on top of the chaotic conditions is really awesome,” said Siripon Kaewduangngam.
Racing starts at 1200 hrs tomorrow, though the weather predictions do indicate another wet day!!
Teams from 20 Nations: Bahrain, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, S Korea, Thailand and UAE.
Rio 2016 Olympic Qualification
Find out more about qualification for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and details of nations already qualified at www.sailing.org/olympics/rio2016