The sleepy Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire wakes up to the adrenaline-rush of kite racing this week with the kick-off of the South & Middle American Championships. Thirty-four intrepid racers from around the world traveled to the tiny southern Caribbean island to test their mettle against each other in the near-perfect race conditions Bonaire has to offer.
Strong wind, pancake-flat water and a pod of passing dolphins greeted riders as they arrived for the start of the first day’s races. Men and women raced together, with the women getting a five-minute head start in each heat. Riccardo Leccese (ITA) dominated the four heats, with a first place finish every time. Day one of the racing concluded with Riccardo Leccese, Blazej Ogoz (POL) and Florian Gruber (GER) in the top three spots.
The women’s fleet also saw consistent first place finishes, with Nayara Licariao (BRA) finishing in the top spot for all four heats. Hot on her heels was Beth Lygoe (LCA) who consistently finished second – a promising start for her first course racing competition. The final results for the women’s fleet after Day One was Nayara Licariao, Beth Lygoe and Nuria Goma (ESP) For complete results from day one, including protest outcomes, please check the official results.
Heading into day two, the competition looks fierce, with racers now accustomed to the new course layout including the dramatic beach finish. Spectators enjoyed being so close to the action, and the racers appreciated the cheering as they crossed the finish line. Given the number of spectators on the normally quiet beach, there is no doubt that Bonaire is waking up to the excitement of kite racing.
Full results can be found at http://sailwave.com/results/2013SMAKiteracingOpeningSeries.html