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A full report on the Tornado World Championships

by John Forbes & Darren Bundock on 23 Feb 2001
2001 Tornado World Championship &
South African Open Championship
Richards Bay, South Africa
3-17 February 2001

The Venue: Richards Bay is approximately 150km north of Durban on the east coast of South
Africa in the heart of Zululand with the aptly named Zululand Yacht Club as hosts for the 2001
Tornado World Championship (10-17 February) and pre-event warm up regatta named the SA Open
(3-7 February).

Situated about 1 hour south of Mozambique and Swaziland and 25km from the Umfolozi and Hluhluwe
wild life Game Reserves, the area immediately surrounding the Zululand Yacht Club is abundant
with animals. Having seen five monkeys on our first day driving between the airport and yacht
club certainly set the scene for what was a regatta like no other seen before by the Worlds
best Olympic class Tornado Catamaran sailors.

The small river which we had to sail out of before entering the course area on the Indian Ocean
was reported to contain crocodiles and hippopotamus. Fortunately, we did not see any but the
frequent sight of the 'Conservation Society' people looking for stray crocs in the surrounding
housing area was a gentle reminder that these weren't local myth stories.

With the air temperature ranging between 23 degrees at night and 35 degrees Celcius during the
day and the water temp averaging 24-25 degrees celcius, conditions for the three weeks proved
ideal for the European teams who came direct from their freezing winter.

Day 1 (Monday 5 Feb) of the SA Open arrived to the a-typical regatta scenario of no wind and
overcast conditions and, after an all day postponement, the racing was cancelled till the
following day. The conditions did clear nicely late in the afternoon but it was not early
enough for the breeze to stabilise and kick enough for a race.

Day 2 of the SA Open got under way with the only hitch being that the Race Committee vessel
sucked in a plastic bag into the engine and thus the start was delayed approx 2 hours but when
the 29 teams finally hit the water they were welcomed with near perfect sailing conditions. A
12-14 knot north east breeze was blowing, the sun was shining with air temp around 30 degrees
and nice warm waters from the southerly currents running down from Mozambique. With a nice
swell and wind chop added to provide some spectacular downwind sailing, two races were

These conditions prevailed for the remainder of the SA Open which suited recently crowned
Olympic Silver Medallists Darren Bundock and John Forbes who won the Worlds warm-up event ahead
of fellow Australian Mitch Booth who was competing for the Netherlands with Herbert Dercksen.

Top ten results from the pre-World Championships 'Open Week' in South Africa.

Skipper Crew Country 1 2 3 4 5 6 Pts
1 Darren Bundock John Forbes AUS 2 1 3 2 4 2 10
2 Mitch Booth Herbert Derkson NED 1 3 1 4 3 3 11
3 Hugh Styles Adam May GBR 7 5 4 1 1 4 15
4 Leigh McMillan Jo Hutchinson GBR 8 7 6 5 6 5 29
5 Johannes Polgar Gunnar Struckman GER 3 6 7 6 7 dnf 29
6 Helge Sach Christian Sach GER 5 9 9 7 5 6 32
7 Andreas Hagara Michael Seidl AUT 4 8 8 8 8 8 36
8 Roman Hagara Hans Steinacher AUT dnf 2 2 dnf 2 1 36
9 Rob Wilson Will Howden GBR 6 4 5 3 dnf dnc 47
10 Steven Lovegrove Martin Sellars GBR 9 11 11 9 ocs 7 47

Bundock & Forbes Take Charge On Opening Day of Worlds
The first two races of the 2001 World Championships got off to a good start in a steadily
increasing North East sea breeze which rose from 15 knots at the start of racing to nearer 25
by the end of the day. Darren Bundock and John Forbes (AUS) lead from the start and pulled away
to a comfortable win ahead of Mitch Booth (NED) in second. Johannes Polgar of Germany finished
third, just ahead of Hugh Styles and Adam May (GBR) in fourth. It was a one way track with the
left hand featuring more breeze and less adverse current.

Race two saw Bundock and Forbes round the windward mark first again, with Styles & May just
behind. Mitch Booth overtook the British crew down the run. The British showed good pace up the
beat to round just behind Booth, and attacked him down the run, but he defended well to keep
2nd, with Styles and May 3rd.

This worlds was the last event that the boat will be raced in its original rig format. Later
this week the class will hold their A.G.M where it is expected that the new olympic rig will be
implimented. The new rig will include a second trapeze and asymetrical spinnaker as well as a
larger square top main.

Bundock & Forbes Dominate On Day Two
The race officer was keen to get everyone out early on day two as the breeze was forecast to
build to 25 knots in the afternoon. It was another day of superb sailing conditions with 15
knots at the start of the first race building to just under 25 for the start of the second
race. With the warm water the crews were not complaining about doing the wild thing on the
downwind legs.

Race 1 saw Styles and May claim the pin end again and head left with Mitch Booth. The wind
shifted right a bit shortly after the start and Bundock & Forbes and Wilson & Howden who had to
hitch out right after the start came across the middle well clear of the pack. Styles and May
rounded the top mark just behind Wilson, with Booth rounding 4th. With everyone heading left
downwind positions remained unchanged down the run. By the second windward Styles and May got
past Wilson and into second which they held down the next run. Booth handled the final run well
in the building breeze and just pipped Styles and May for third.

Race 2 was a windy one. All the hot-shots came off the pin end again and headed left. Bundock
and Forbes showed tremendous boat speed and lead around the top mark again with the fleet
closely bunched behind them. Styles and May rounded in 5th with Bundock, Booth, Hagara, and
Sach ahead. These remained the top five until the final beat when Styles and May managed to

Fortunately Wednesday was a scheduled rest day as the wind had swung round to the south and
blew like hell causing the sea state to also rise beyond managable sailing conditions.

Bundock & Forbes Dominate Regatta
Thursday's racing was postponed for a few hours in the morning due to the strong breeze and a
large swell on the race course. The wind had moderated by the afternoon and two races were
sailed in a 12-18 knot Southerly breeze in what was still a big ground swell with left over
wind chop.

The first race got away with most of the fleet crossing the line on port. Mitch Booth, Roman
Hagara and Hugh Styles battled for the lead, and finished in that order. Bundock and Forbes
struggled to pull back through the fleet after a poor first beat and finished 8th allowing the
gap of second, third and fourth overall to close in one foul swoop. This would ultimately be
his drop race.

In the second race of the day Bundock and Forbes returned to the front and lead throughout
proving his eighth was a hiccup and that he did want to win the title. Mitch Booth & Roman
Hagara fought for second for most of the race until the last beat where Styles & May moved
through from 4th to take second, and held it to the finish. Hagara got third, but Mitch
suffered on the final beat and finished 7th.

Light Winds Shuffle The Fleet
Light wind for day five with a large swell still left over from the previous day's southerly
winds. The fleet was held on the beach for about three hours waiting for the large swell to die
down and the wind to pick up. When they finally got out to the race area the sea was still very
large and with little wind it made conditions very tricky.

The race started in 7 knots and the best option on the start line was to head for the starboard
end as the current was washing everyone down on the start line so much it was hard to make it
across the line on starboard tack. Styles & May again sailed a good first leg rounding 1st from
Roman Hagara (AUT) and

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