Waiting for wind to build
Day 5 and the last leg of the TOTAL Fiji Hobie Challenge … the Fleet awoke to a magnificent morning and a light southerly wind indicating a probable upwind work all the way home. Between 8am and the 11am start, the wind changed direction six times and the Fleet had difficulty in deciding to set up for an upwind or a downwind run home.
30 minutes before the start and with a four knot breeze swinging through all points of the compass, the Fleet was launched and proceeded to the start line. By 11am, the wind had decided that we were to have a downwind start.
The Fleet eventually got away in a creeping five knots, as everyone juggled for position and clean air. 20 minutes after the start, a slight increase to six knots and the Fleet started to spread out, some going for speed and others opting to run deep. The five lead boats of Murray Peterson, Mike Montague, Epeli Droma, Ray Cox and Graham ‘Fish’ Southwick slowly pulled away from the main body of the Fleet and started to pay attention to each other.
The target for the day was Graham ‘Fish’ Southwick and Inoke, who were holding a nine minute lead going into the last day. With the light winds, nine minutes looked a possible goal and the other boats did their best to make inroads into Fish’s lead. Unfortunately for them, the wind continued to build and Fish and Mike found themselves on the right side of the course, thus increasing the distance between the rest.
As the wind increased to a steady 12 Knots, Fish pulled further and further away from skippers Mike and Epeli Droma, eventually widening his lead to 12 minutes ahead of the boat running overall 2nd to finish comfortably in front of the Fleet. Third overall place went to Mike Montague and Heather Mathews, followed by Ray Cox & Eminoni in 4th and Murray Peterson & Kathy Peterson in 5th place.