[Photo: Sascha Klahn / Kiel Week]
Duel between Poland and Australia
Whoever could manage the game with the waves and shifting winds the best and keep their concentration until the end, had a significant advantage on the fourth day of the Laser Radial World Championship. Two races on the inner course were sailed on Saturday. This presented difficult conditions with inconsistent breeze for the sailors, but at least they did not need to tackle the really big waves.
Overall leader Zac Littlewood (Australia) dominated the first race from the beginning. The Australian was already on the downwind leg, while the majority of the fleet was still beating upwind, and went on to claim his fourth consecutive bullet. In the second race, however, he fell behind and finished as seventh, now his discard in the series.
World Champion Title defender Marcin Rudawski and also Aleksander Arian (both from Poland) had the better feeling for the wind in the second race. Alexander Arian was looking back at the pursuers and saw his fellow countryman. Thus there was a double Polish lead on the last downwind to the finish, followed by New Zealand’s Josh Armit. Rudawski was challenging his fellow countryman and had a little luck come his way: Alexander Arian got the yellow flag from the jury and had to do a 360. That cost him enough time that he crossed the finish line as the third boat. “On the water we are competitors, ashore we are friends”, said Marcin Rudawski. “I have tried to predict what the wind will do, and I did it better than the others”, he concluded after the victory. The goal for tomorrow: Win the title. He is going to need more than a little luck though as he is nine points behind Zac Littlewood who has finished no worse than seventh so far in this Championship series.
On a physical level, it is more difficult in the big waves further offshore than on the inner course. “I am not one of the tallest and heaviest.” But regarding the conditions, Marcin Rudawski still has no preferences. “I am prepared for all winds, but personally I like more wind better.“
At 37 years, he has more experience than many others in the fleet, but on the other side, he also realizes that he is less athletic. “I need more time to recover.” After ten years in the Laser Radial, these World Championships are his last big event.
After a spectacular start to the championships, Caelin Winchcombe had a little rougher time of it today, including a capsize. He finished with a 36 and and 20, giving way to Aleksander Arian and Marcin Rudawski in the standings. But that did not lower the Australian’s mood. “I am still having fun”, he stated about his capsizing. It was the very shifty winds which lead to that. “It’s always good to be out there, no matter what’s happening.”
Top Five [provisional results] after Day 4, net score includes one drop:
1. Zac Littlewood, Australia – 11 pts
2. Alexander Arian, Poland – 18 pts
3. Marcin Rudawski, Poland – 20 pts
4. Caelin Winchcombe, Australia – 33 pts
5. Uffe Tomasgaard, Norway – 40 pts