Junior World Champion Sebastian Kornum of Denmark and Antiguan Eli Fuller won their respective divisions in this years Highland Spring HIHO 2009 event June 28 to July 5. Kornum became the youngest winner ever when the 16-year old U17 World Champion won both the final morning’s race and the final afternoon race of Sandy Cay to finish the event with four straight stage victories in one of the more impressive HIHO victories in recent years. Fuller was even more dominant with wins in all but one of the Techno fleet races.
Fifty competitors from 14 different countries in the two classes raced for five days through the British Virgin Islands. Conditions started light but built throughout the week with the final two days seeing summer trade winds that sent the racers around the islands. Racing included the Anegada race won by Ricardy Maricel and a longer Trellis Bay-Peter island downwind monster. Organizers threw in an around Little Thatch race, and the usual race around Sandy Cay finished off the week of competition. "It was a great week," reported organizer Andy Morrell.
Kornum’s father Torben, also a contender, said “Sailing in 14 knots of wind around this tricky island made for interesting racing, very technical and exciting. Sebastian just tacks and jibes faster than the rest of us, and is very sure of how he wants to attack the course. I can guarantee I did everything I could to catch him, but I’m also very proud of him.”
Ricardy Maricel of St. Martin had won the first two legs and hung on to his overall lead until the last day, but had to beat Sebastian Kornum at least once to have a shot to hang on. Maricel was competing in his ninth Highland Spring HIHO and, despite also showing strong form in previous events, has yet to win the event.
The event’s much larger Techno Class was dominated by Antigua’s Fuller, a Highland Spring HIHO veteran. Fuller dominated the 43-racer strong class which is geared more toward top and less accomplished amateurs. The Techno “one design” class sees all racers compete on identical boards. Open Class racers compete on different boards which are generally faster. Fuller sailed very well all week on his Techno board, however, and frequently challenged the Open contenders in several of the races.
“It’s a little like driving a BMW (techno) or a Ferrari, although the right driver can beat a Ferrari once in a while,” pointed out Fuller.
The Techno class is broken into six divisions. Fuller took first overall in the class and won the masters division. Second overall in the Techno class went to St Martin veteran Jean-Marc Peyronnet who took top honors in the Grand Master class. Third overall in the class went to US racer Al Simmons who won the Super Master category. Owen Waters was the top BVI finisher, in 14th overall.
The annual Highland Spring HIHO is a windsurfing and sailing adventure comprising a series of island-to-island races. Windsurfers cover 150 miles of racing and visit all the major islands in the BVIs. A fleet of yachts provided by The Moorings follows the racers and serves as overnight accommodations for all participants. Event sponsors include Highland Spring, The Moorings, HIHO, Red Stripe, the BVI Tourist Board and Neil Pryde.
Event report submitted by Highland Spring HIHO