Second Day of Course Racing PKRA Germany. Johnny and Adam fight back!

Third day – Course Racing in very light winds


Day three provided very light winds for us here in St Peter Ording, Germany. The focus of the day was on course racing. The race set up was adapted due to these conditions and the decision was made to start the day with a long course in a square box.

The first starting line of the day was going straight against the wind, which made an interesting decision for the racers who could either chose to start starboard or port.

Judge Anki Knutson explained that the starboard tack is the priority, when you are sailing with your right hand forward. Since the first race was very long we took some time to explore the origin of the words, starboard comes from the early days of sailing. “Before ships had rudders on their centerlines, they were steered by use of a specialized steering oar. This oar was held by an oarsman located in the stern (back) of the ship. However, like most of society, there were many more right-handed sailors than left-handed sailors. (…) An early version of “port” is larboard but when shouted in the wind, was presumably too easy to confuse with starboard[1] and so the word port came to replace it. Port is derived from the practice of sailors mooring ships on the left side at ports in order to prevent the steering oar from being crushed.” (Ref. Wikipedia)


The point of this brief explanation of the starboard tack is that the start of race 1 came with a technical choice of strategy. The riders starting port side took a risk as they had to give the right of way to their competitors, however starting port side came with it’s advantages as it allowed the riders to go much further upwind than their starboard rivals.

John Heineken (USA, Ozone) explained that to make this choice, you look at the angle to cross the start line and choose the one that will bring you the most upwind. John Heineken (USA, Ozone), Adam Koch (USA, Ozone) and Bruno Sroka (FRA, Cabrinha) took that decision and chose to ride port side risking the chance of getting blocked by the riders going starboard.

Julien Kerneur (FRA, Takoon) reckoned that the port fleet went faster than the starboard and therefore took a bit more time to get to the second buoy.

This first race of the day (Race 3) took twenty five minutes for the fastest riders and they all came close to each other for the leading pack.

Steph Bridge (GBR, North) was exhausted after this first race and metaphorically joked: “today we went to Denmark, crossed over to France and came back to Germany!”

Race 3 results:


1. John Heineken (USA, Ozone)

2. Adam Koch (USA, Ozone)

3. Julien Kerneur (FRA, Takoon)


1. Steph Bridge (GBR, North)

2. Katja Roose (NED, Airush)

3. Christine Boenniger (GER)


Race 4 started with a big tangle between a few racers who were going port on the starting line. Julien Kerneur (FRA, Takoon) explained that Adam Koch (USA, Ozone) was coming sailboard in front of his fleet, which was lead by Bruno Sroka (FRA, Cabrinha). They got blocked by Bruno who lifted his kite up therefore tangling the rest of the fleet around him, including John Heineken (USA, Ozone) and Tomiek Janiak (GER, RRD).

We took some time today to know the correct sailing terminology to use. This multinational fleet of competitors have all been mixed up and confused due to their different ways of describing the action on the water.

To summarize, “running” is going downwind whilst “beating” (close reach/fetching) is going upwind. “Reaching” (beam reach) is a course steered at right angles to the wind on either port or starboard tack and a “broad reach” is the fastest, it represents a range of wind angles between beam reach and running downwind.

Results Race 4


1. Adam Koch (USA, Ozone)

2. Ozog Blazej (POL, North)

3. Florian Gruber (GER, North)


1. Steph Bridge (GBR, North)

2. Christine Boenninger (GER)

After a short lunch break the thermal winds picked up enough to start two more races. Olaf Van Tol decided to change the course with only one lap, this reduced the course time to 17 minutes for the best riders.


Results Race 5 and 6 for the men are the same:


1. Adam Koch (USA, Ozone)

2. John Heineken (USA, Ozone)

3. Julien Kerneur (FRA, Takoon)


1. Katja Roose (NED, Airush)

2. Steph Bridge (GBR, North)

3. Christine Boenniger (GER)

Julien Kerneur (FRA, Takoon) summed up his Race 6 for us: “The wind was super light, I started starboard and came out second at the up wind buoy behind Adam Koch (USA, Ozone). I remained second during the entire race but on the last tack John Heineken kept passing me and ended up taking second on the finish line behind Adam who was by far in lead.

Olaf Van Tol commented “These very light wind racing conditions proved the development of the sport as this wouldn’t have been possible two years ago. This morning we raced in 6 to 9 knots and this afternoon in winds averaging 7 knots. I even recorded 3.5 to 5 knots on the boat as the race was going. There is a big gap now between the top guys and the rest of the fleet.”

Tomorrow the wind is predicted to increase and might be enough to finish the trials of the Freestyle, otherwise we will do more Course Racing.

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