There is only a few weeks to go until the 2011 Windsurfing Oceanic Championships begins and the weather has finally swung to warm conditions. However there has been a lot of rain (floods where it has been years in drought). Winds at Lake Illawarra have generally been NE in the afternoon, with speeds up to 30 knots on some days, but averaging about 15 knots.
In the Raceboard fleet last year's men's champion, James Grunfelder, has been having a quiet year at his Sydney club. However, James' skill and speed is always on display at the big regattas and he is expected to be battling at the front end of the fleet again this year. Light wind specialists Martin Thearle and Martin Stone, both from Sydney, have been in top form all year with Thearle winning the recent interclub championship.
In the mix if the wind is a bit stronger is Pat Coleman with a combination of Starboard Phantom and a new Severne Raceboard sail. Sydney club captain Greg MacInnes has also taken delivery of a new Tushingham sail and will be very competitive.
Of the locals, Wollongong sailor John Demol looks like the best chance at securing the Raceboard Championships. John has been working hard on his high wind technique and his all-round speed should cause problems for other competitors. Perennial favourite Mike Nelson has been having a great year on the formula circuit and, if he can transfer this form to the raceboard, will be a chance for the championship.
Most of the RSX fleet have been competing in the Sail Downunder Series with a range of dinghy classes. At Sail Brisbane Chang Hao (Taipei) collected a men's regatta win from Seb Wanghansen (Norway) and Luke Baillie (Queensland). At Sail Sydney Marco Baglione (Italy) won from Luke Baillie and James Levy (NSW). The Sail Sydney women's result was very close with Flavia Tartaglini (Italy) winning on count back from home town favourite Jessica Crisp. Third place went to Jannicke Stalstrom (Norway). Most of the RSX fleet have travelled to Melbourne for the Sail Melbourne regatta which starts towards the end of this week.
The BIC Techno 293 fleet has also been competing in the Sail Downunder series, with Sydney sailor Sam Trehane winning in Brisbane from Shari Obrien and Reece Baillie (both Brisbane). In Sydney last year's Australian Boy's champion, Eamon Robertshaw from Perth, dominated to win from Sam Trehane and Reece Baillie. Eamon will be well fired up to go head to head with 2010 Oceanic Champion Antoine Aubert, returning from New Calendonia.