IODA AFRICAN CHAMPIONSHIP
July 31 to August 8
For the first time in its eight year history the IODA African Championship has been won by a girl, Imane Cherif Sahroui of Algeria. Imane registered a hat-trick of girls‘ golds when she was also placed 6th over-all in 2008 and 4th in 2009. Two other girls, Ines Gnati of Tunisia and Lara Granier (Kenya) also finished in the top ten of the 62 sailor "closed" African event.
Imane Cherif Sahraoui, Algeria, African Champion 2010
The organisers did a superb job in Kilifi, and thanks are due to sponsors Chase Bank for enabling an excellent event.
The fleet left the beach in sunny conditions to complete the final two races of the Championship. There was still a lot riding on these two races should the main contenders slip up.
The southerly winds were a steady 9 knots when the start signals were made. Again Luka Tosic, SRB102 was able to get away with a neat port start from the port end by tucking up against the Committee Start Boat. With the wind lifting from the left, the fleet all sailed of on port tack. Then with new wind filling in on the right, the fleet tacked onto starboard to lay the first mark. All the main contenders were at the front and as they peeled away to the run TAN 26, Tarick Nielsen, was leading from SRB 102 and Chris Philips, AUS 418. Luka could not contain the light sailors in these winds and although the wind increased to 10 knots on the final windward leg Chris kept his nerve to cover Luka, to finish a well deserved 2nd behind Tarick and Luka. This more or less tied up the overall title for Luka Tosic.
The 12th and final race was started in 9 to 10 knots with no signs of the forecast rain squalls. Jens Peter Hansen, Denmark, lead to the first mark followed by Tristan Rogotzki, South Africa. On the next windward leg there was a bit of a shuffle and by the end of the beat Maxim Sanders, KEN 115 had sailed into the lead. The wind was still a steady 8 to 10 for windward leg and Jens Peter sailed well to overtake Maxim with Tristan getting the highest place for South Africa at the Championship.
After 12 races, two discards were permitted and Imane Cherif Sahraoui, Algeria, the early leader of the event, finished African Champion, Second Overall and First Girl, despite a poor result in the final race. Only one point behind was Tarick Nielsen, Tanzania. This has been an excellent championship demonstrating the continuing strength of African optimist sailing.
August 6th - Fleet racing again
After the Rule 42 Workshop on Sculling by Sofia the fleet went out to the course with mixed wind forecasts.
After 2 recalled starts the fleet started race 7under the I flag in 7 to 8 knots. Luka Tosic got away chased by sailors from Mauritius and Zimbabwe. The wind picked up on the beat to the finish and Tarick Nielsen (first African sailor) worked the shift to come out in front and beat Luka while the sailors from MRI and ZIM slipped back in the stronger winds.
The 8th race was held up by the pin boat dragging anchor. When the fleet eventually got started Luka made a perfect pin end start on port clearing the entire fleet. However, by the first mark in 12 to 15 knot gusty winds, it was Maxim Sanders from Kenya who led the fleet, followed by Islam Azzedine Khoualed from Algeria. They continued to dominate with the Kenyan sailor winning convincingly and Islam holding off a strong challenge from Tarick, Thelmo Lourenço from Angola and Lara Granier from Kenya.
The winds eased off for the 9 th race but increased again midway through the race with sporadic gusts up to 15 knots. This time Islam got the better of Maxim to the first mark. However, up the last beat Luka was leading the fleet again.Mahdi Zemmour from Algeria had a good race closing in on the leaders to finish 4th.
With good sailing conditions still persisting the Race Committee went for the day’s 4th race in 8 to 10 knots. Francisco Artur from Angola had a good lead at the first mark together with team mate Paulo Amaral. A rain squall threatened from the right side but fortunately missed the racing area. It looked as if the ANG team may get a 1and 2 result but unfortunately ANG slipped out of his boat allowing Iliana Boura from Greece to 3rd position.
Francisco Artur, winner of race 10
10 races have now been completed and with not much consistency by the leading African sailors there is still a lot at stake in the last two races tomorrow as the 2nd discard will come into effect.
August 4th - Team Racing
The earlier concerns of the rain squalls were unfounded and so the team racing had good winds. Chris Atkins (Chief Umpire) gave a briefing to all the sailors before launching, in which he discussed the procedures, tactics and rules. It was an excellent opportunity for all the sailors to learn more about team racing and then apply these lessons on the water.
The 12 teams battled against each other over the IODA short 8 to 9 minute course. There were initially no surprises as the seeded teams progressed as expected and Algeria went through unbeaten to the final. South Africa beat last year’s surprise finalists Angola, but were then themselves beaten by the rapidly improving Kenyan team. In the semi final, a close race resulted in a win for Tunisia against Kenya, who finished in third place ahead of South Africa and Mauritius.
This set the stage for the best of 3 final between North African rivals Algeria and Tunisia. Both teams sailed well and demonstrated highly competitive team racing tactics, however Algeria won both very close races to become the 2010 African Team Racing Champions.
Team Algeria, African Team Racing Champions 2010
| Results |
August 3rd - Second day of racing
Six races in total allowed for the first discard to apply and consequently the leaderboard saw some changes. Luka Tosic from Serbia is now at the top of the ranking, with three bullets, a fourth, a second and a DNS (discarded). Imane Cherif from Algeria, who had been leading the fleet, had two not-so-good races today and is now in third place, behind Tarick Nielsen from Tanzania, who is also first in the closed event. Imane is the leader of the girl open fleet, followed closely by Iliana Boura from Greece, fourth overall.
Racing today started as yesterday, in sunny skies, but gradually a storm system arrived at Kilifi, covering the racing area and showering down on the sailors. Tomorrow is the team racing day, and as always, sailors as well as coaches and supporters are looking forward to it with much expectation.
Loic Edourd (Mauritius) and Imane Cherif Sahraaoui (Algeria), leading the fleet
| Results |
August 2nd - First day of racing
The first day of racing today was excellent and 3 good races were completed. The winds increased throughout the day from 7 to 8 knots in the first race to 10 to 13 knots in the last race.
Racing on the creek of Kilifi
The starts were competitive with a number of OCSs being recorded. It was wonderful to see the largest fleet of Optimists at an African Championship, racing in such beautiful surroundings.
| Results |
August 2nd - Opening Ceremony
The Opening ceremony here last night was a wonderful occasion. It was the social event of the year in Kilifi and there were many Kilifi residents in attendance. There was a parade of the 18 nations behind a Kenyan drummer and a flag raising ceremony. This was followed by the traditional Africans mixing of the waters on the beach. The Kilifi District Commissioner welcomed all the teams and opened the 8th African Optimist Championships.
Ezequiel Chachine (Mozambique) and Imene Cherif Sahraoui (Algeria) mixing the waters
Today the forecast is for rain showers which may affect the wind conditions but hopefully the 3 planned races will be completed.
August 1st - Preparations nearly complete
Excited, eager sailors caused difficulties for the race committee as several attempted starts of the practice race ended in General Recalls. Finally the fleet was away in shifty winds 9 knots increasing to 12 knots in the gusts.
The highlight for the coaches today was a rule 42 talk from Zofia Truchanowicz, ISAF Rule 42 Advisor, who will be working with coaches, sailors and officials throughout the Championship.
Tomorrow sees the eagerly awaited start of the regatta and hopes are high that the breeze will continue for the first of the 12 scheduled championship races.
July 31st - Measurement begins
The Chase Bank sponsored 8th Optimist African Championship, where racing starts on Monday in Kilifi, Kenya is the largest to date. A total of 69 sailors are registered including 62 from 12 African countries. While local sailors may use their own boats 60 charter boats are being provided by Zou Marine and it is expected that these will be sold on to enlarge African fleets in several countries.
Mozambique, who are of course hosts to next year’s All Africa Games, are the only first-time entry but Egypt, Seychelles and Reunion (FRA) have swelled the fleet after absence last year. About half of the teams have arrived so far and many were out sailing today. The wind is shifty but a pleasant 15 knots with similar breezes expected for the next few days.
The boat parking site is situated up a steep slope about 20m above the water level which means a hard pull up the road after the day’s sail but there are plenty of helpers to assist the sailors in getting their boats up the hill. All the people here are amazingly friendly and helpful which together with the lovely mild, warm climate makes this one of the best venues for the Championships.
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