- Two races in light, fickle southerly wind of 5 to 8 knots
- Race wins for female riders Julia Damasiewicz and Maggie Pescetto
- Nolot and Whitehead book their spots in the women’s final
- Maeder wins two more races and even tries a port-tack start
- Places in the men’s final for Maeder and Boschetti
Light winds brought some different faces to the front of the fleet on day three of Kitefoil World Series Italy in Sardinia. Racing in light, fickle southerly wind of 5 to 8 knots, the key was to get up on the foils and stay on the foils at all possible costs.
Four races were on the schedule to complete the Opening Series and to decide who would be among the top 10 men and women to contest the final day’s Medal Series this Sunday afternoon.
France’s Maxime Nocher made a great start to the first race of the session, correctly predicting that the right-hand side of the course would bring slightly stronger wind and a better angle to the top mark. Nocher rounded in front of Max Maeder of Singapore and held the lead for the first lap. However there was no holding back the superior straight-line speed of Maeder who was confident enough to shadow Nocher up the second windward leg and sail about a knot faster through the water to take the lead before the top mark second time around.
While Nocher closed the gap again on the lead on the final downwind, Maeder kept the hammer down to reach across the finish line at almost 30 knots in just 7 knots of wind, with Nocher crossing in second and the fast-closing Lorenzo Boschetti in third.
In the women, Julia Damasiewicz of Poland led across the finish line for the first time this week ahead of Sofia Tomasoni, the Italian pressing hard all the way to the chequered flag as she successfully fought to hold on to second place in a photo-finishagainst Lauriane Nolot of France.
By the end of the first race the fleet had clued into the right-hand side of the course being the stronger bet. Max Maeder elected for a port-hand start, a rare decision for the usually more conservative starboard starter. He was one of about seven or eight riders who decided to go for it and risk gunning across the front of the starboard pack. It worked out beautifully for the merry band of risk-takers and actually Maeder later explained why he didn’t see it as such a brave move. “I figured there would be a lot of people lining up to try and start at the committee boat and they’d all be slowing each other up, so it seemed like a good opportunity to go for the port tack approach.”
For someone so young as 17 and the fact that Maeder has no background in conventional sailboat racing, he always reads the tactical and strategic options so well. His younger brother Karl, aged 15 and representing Switzerland, also went for the port-tack start and did it best of all. “I thought he might have been a UFD [disqualified for starting too early] but if it was a clear start for everybody then Karl did a very good start,” said Max.
It didn’t take long for Max Maeder to exert his boat speed advantage upwind and he led around the top mark and was never challenged by another rider. The greater threat came from the vanishing breeze as the fleet approached the finish line on a beam reach. As the wind collapsed, so kites started to flutter helplessly towards the azure sea. Maeder wished he’d spent more time practising his pump foiling skills as he fought to get his board across the finish.
While Max and Karl Maeder were among those who did manage to scrape across the line in time, others were unable to keep their kites in the sky or their boards above the surface. There were so many downed kites strewn across the finish line that it was barely possible for the rest of the fleet to find a way through the carnage of soggy kite cloth.
Through all the melée the Italians were among the most successful in scoring a finish. Recently crowned Formula Kite European Champion Riccardo Pianosi scored his best finish, a second place behind Maeder and just ahead of the impressively consistent Lorenzo Boschetti. Flo Gruber of Germany showed all his years of experience on the board to record two 4th places from the day and moves to fifth overall.
It was yet another Italian who won her first women’s race in that difficult finish, Maggie Pescetto’s victory moving her up to third overall behind Breiana Whiteheadof Australia in second and Lauriane Nolot still holding the yellow bib despite a sub-par day on the water.
With the breeze refusing to settle down for the rest of the afternoon, it was impossible to complete the final two races of the Opening Series. This means Maeder and Boschetti will progress to the men’s four-board Final on Sunday afternoon, while the same is true in the women’s Final for Nolot and Whitehead.
It was a day to celebrate for Kai Calder of the USA who booked his place in the Medal Series in 10th place. It’s Calder’s first time in the Medal Series shootout, and also for 10th placed Karolina Jankowska of Poland. All the more remarkable is that Jankowska is just 13 years old but about to compete against some of the best in the world.
For Calder, Jankowskia and the rest of the top 10 men and women, they will have to be at their best to break through the knockout rounds if they’re to grab one of the remaining places in the Final.
Competition concludes on Sunday afternoon with racing due to start at 14:00 hours. All the highs and lows of the Medal Series will be live streamed and available to watch online.
1. Maximilian Maeder SGP 9.0 pts
2. Lorenzo Boschetti ITA 15.0 pts
3. Martin Dolenz CRO 40.0 pts
1. Lauriane Nolot FRA 164.0 pts
2. Breiana Whitehead AUS 184.0 pts
3. Maggie Pescetto ITA 208.0 pts
To keep up to date with KiteFoil World Series Italy, please visit https://www.kitefoilworldseries.com