After five days of racing here in Soma Bay, Egypt I’ve pulled off a first place in the African Continental Championships! This was the first major event of the year, and will for sure be hard to beat. I didn’t know what to expect from Egypt and I’m totally impressed. This place is beautiful, windy, and everyone has taken such good care of us. 61 guys and 15 women showed up to race.
This year we get to register four kites and I decided to go with 7, 10, 13, and 17m Edges. Normally I wouldn’t use a 7 but the two days before the event were super windy so I figured it was the safe move. I also wanted to try out transitions between the 7-10-13m since the 10m just came out, and this move paid off huge. I sailed consistently during the first two days and qualified into the gold fleet in 3rd overall behind Ricardo and Florian. The first day of gold fleet was 25-32 knots and perfect for a 7m. I looked pretty smart for having one as the rest of the top guys struggled around the course on 9s. I won all 4 races solidly and took the lead. Rikky held onto his 9m like a champ and got all 2nd place finishes. On day 2 of gold fleet we sailed 5 races in everything from 7 through 13m conditions. I continued to have really clean starts and was able to pull off straight bullets once again. I am really proud of this performance over a huge range of conditions in such a good fleet. After four days of racing I was sitting 1st with 10pts, Rikky was 2nd with 15, and Florian was 3rd with 31.7pts.
Erika also stepped her game up on days 3 and 4, and moved solidly into second. She won most of the races and was only two points behind Steph Bridge after 4 full days scored.
The last day we completed in the medal series, which is a controversial trial format that weights the last day an incredible amount. Gold fleet points are reduced to single scores carried forward into a 3 race series. This was rough for me because I had gained a considerable lead in Gold Fleet only to lose it to a format change. I ended the day with two second place finishes, one hole in my board, and only a 1pt lead over second place. This small lead felt pretty ridiculous after posting 9 bullets and 2 second place finishes, but I had at least held on. Florian moved into second and Maxime ended up third after fouling me in the first race of the day and not spinning. Ricardo dropped from second to fourth place overall, a finish not representative of how well he sailed in the gold fleet.
In the women’s fleet Steph sailed a really solid day and held onto first, in front of Erika in 2nd and Katya in 3rd. Nuria also sailed incredibly well in the windy conditions, finishing 9th overall and with a ton more confidence in 30 kts. Congratulations all!
Ok, that’s my rant on the format. Otherwise this was truly one of the most well run events I’ve ever attended. We ate, kited, ate, slept, and repeated to our hearts content. Race management was flawless, The Breakers Hotel and 7Bft Kite House welcomed us with open arms, and Royal Dream Tours made sure the week after the event was time well spent in Egypt. Thanks to all!
Read original article: Ozone News:Johnny Heineken - 1st place African Course Racing Championships