Day 3 – South American Championships in 49er & 49erFX
Three races were held in Florianopolis today in 12 knots of breeze that died out as a rain front came through the course at the end of the day. That means 11 of the 13 scheduled races have been completed leaving the final 2 races for tomorrow with the forecast calling for light winds after this front passes through. The teams will be hoping for a glimmer of wind to complete the series.
Three 49er teams have emerged with a chance to take the championship. Ever consistent, Santiago from Uruguay sailed a 2, 5, 2 today in the difficult conditions. The only team to do better was Bochecha, Andre Fonseca of Brazil who sailed a 3, 4, 1 and has closed the gap a small amount. Still in second is Marco Grael. Marco started out the day well with a win, but then struggled in the final 2 races, sailing his worst race of the series as a 7 and then a decent final race of 3rd. Dreaming of the win, however, he’s 6 points back in the championship hunt. Only a drastic turn of events can help any of them now take over from the Uruguay comeback kids.
The first two races were held in the same fantastic conditions as the first two days of the championship. The chop was smaller today than yesterday, but modest breezes meant teams were twin stringing for both races. Storm clouds appeared ominously on the horizon in the build up to the final race. A few of the teams opted for the conservative route and depowered their sail plans in anticipation of strong and gusty winds. Unfortunately for them, the rain dominated and shut down the wind meaning they were doubly disadvantaged.
In the 49erFX, Martine Grael and Kahena Kunze narrowly escaped having their winning streak broken in the first race as Juliana Senff and Gabriela Nicolina were leading into the finish line. At the last minute, however, a poorly placed final gybe meant that Martine and Kahena could skate low and just slip ahead at the finish line. Juliana and Gabriela did manage to move up to 2nd overall in the 49erFX fleet on the day with all 2nd place.
The social calendar following sailing was a busy as the racing itself. The South American AGM was held following racing and Thomas Low-Beer of Brazil was named the president for 2014. Uruguay will host the 2014 South Americas, and the class discussed what regatta should be used for the final Olympic qualification berth. Following the meeting, the sailing club here in Florianopolis hosted all the sailors to a BBQ in the misting rain following sailing today. Delicious Roasts and Sausages were complemented by frosty beers as the sailors socialized through the final night before pack up.