SOL23: New Caledonia and Australia maintain windsurfing leads

Conditions were largely favourable on the third day of sailing. Photos: Brian Hagi, Pacific Games News Service.

New Caledonia continued their dominance in Pacific Games sailing, as more exciting and intense races played out on Wednesday, day three of the Sol2023 sailing competition at DC Park in Honiara.

New Caledonia sailor Samuel Launay still maintains first place in the men’s sailboard light (windsurfing) event. In the men’s sailboard heavy (windsurfing) event, fellow New Caledonia sailor Laurent Cali also tops the leaderboard, with first place finishes in all his races so far.

In the female women’s individual dinghy sailing, Australia’s Evie Saunders continued to maintain first place finishes in all four races so far, with Fiji’s Sophia Morgan coming second, and Australian Ellen Sampson in third.

Wednesday’s competitors in the women laser single dinghies consisted of two from Solomon Islands and one sailor each from New Caledonia, Samoa, and Australia. The seven male windsurfers are from Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Tahiti, Australia, Wallis and Futuna, Samoa, and Fiji.

The start of the morning races was delayed as wind conditions did not pick up as quickly as expected but the wind improved later to set up some really exciting races as both the men’s sailboard (windsurfing) and women’s individual dinghy sailing continued.

In the first half of the day, three races were completed for men’s light weight and heavyweight, as well as women’s single. Another three in the afternoon were for men’s windsurfing only. The women’s laser single dinghy was cancelled after lunch as the start was again delayed due to a strong wind warning and high swells.

Australian Windsurfer Jarrod Jones said: “I’m pretty happy with how I’m going so far. It’s definitely a great learning opportunity, great experience and I’m really grateful to be here.

“We didn’t start on time because there wasn’t too much wind, but then we got a nice bit that filled in. So now it’s high winds, a little bit of swell, that makes it really exciting racing, intense and quite tiring but really fun at the end of the day. And we got some close competition.”

Another Australian windsurfer, Lachlan Vize, was also quite pleased with his results so far.

“We had two races, the first race felt really good, with good wind. I finished second in the first race, and in the second race I finished third.”

Sailing will resume on Thursday from 10am at DC Park. Entry is free.

By Willie Fafale and Elron Dokese, Pacific Games News Service