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Hobie Cat 16 sailing in Cagliari, Italy - The Devil's Saddle in the background

Four teams at the top race for the Open title

Four boats in just two points. After five tightly contested races in medium to strong wind, Orion Martin and Charlotte Hilliard of France lead a small group of top contenders. Just one point behind are the 2012 European champions, Cedric and Laurent Bader, only one point ahead of Jens Goritz - Kerstin Wichardt of Germany and Australian team Cam Owen - Susan Ghent.

Positions changed late into the evening after the Jury accepted a request for redress from Martin, who had a did not finish for the final race of the day - but only because he stopped to help another team that looked in trouble. The actual score for that race is now three points instead of DNF and Martin could drop a 5 to jump over Bader-Bader - from 11 to 9 points.

Some other scores changed after the Jury decided to apply to just one race (and not to all four morning races) the 7-point penalty for not signing on the way out - a safety measure approved and posted the other day, to be sure that all teams are back at base at the end of a rough day.

Mistral was supposed to calm down to 12-13 knots in the morning but it never did. The Gold fleet sailed with 15 to 18 knots in the morning and with 20 and over in the late afternoon. Nothing like Wednesday, but still not easy for many. Several skippers recognized that the top 10-15 teams are on a totally different race (a different planet, someone said).

At the end of the fourth race wind was gaining strength and Race Committee decided to send the fleet to shore to rest. A few team would have been happy to run to the showers, a few others were ready to sail even two extra races, not to waste the “perfect conditions”. At the end the call for race five was given but some competitors did not leave the beach. Some others later realized that 20 knots plus after an intense morning were too much and retired. At the end only 45 boats out of 71 crossed the finish line.

Tired competitors and boats needing repairs will probably have a chance to rest tomorrow - little to no wind is expected for the Cagliari area. First possible start at 11.