Sean O’Brien reports from FW World Championships in Puerto Rico about Day 4

Sean O’Brien
Nationality: Australia
Sailnumber: AUS-120
Sponsors: Starboard, Point-7, VMG Blades, SuperFit Personal Training


I don’t really want to blame Arnon for taking the last of the milk this morning so I had to eat toast instead of the awesome Honey Oat Crunch cereal we bought, but something REALLY cursed me today; I safely managed to get all my 3 discards in one day. Arrrgghhh!
11.30am start, lighter winds around 12-16 knots, bright sun – should have been my day. Race 8 started with me getting clipped on starboard coming off the line and somehow managing to stay upright but completely killing my start forcing me to tack off on to port and get drilled by the rest of the port fleet sailing over the top of me half way up the first leg. It was low-tide for the first part of the day and everywhere I went I seemed to get stuck on the wrong tack having to avoid a reef. Up the front it was young Gabriel Brown who decided today was going to be his day (I bet there was milk left at his place this morning) who passed Antoine with great speed on his F161 to take the first race bullet.
I somehow managed to break some battens in the shorebreak coming in from this race and with only 15 minutes in between races I didn’t have enough time to fix them and subsequently missed the next start by a few minutes. Decided I might sail the race anyhow for a laugh and waved to the boys on the boat as I cruised the startline about 4 minutes after the rest of the fleet (#FML). The wind went super light and shifty in this race, allowing Micah Buzianis a chance to get ahead on the second lap and cruise home to victory ahead of Arnon and Gabriel.
After a short lunch break and some more batten construction we were back on the water for Race 10. The wind did look like it was starting to fill in and in the gusts was around 18 knots, but most of the front fleet were still on 12?s (Antoine on 12.5m). I took a boat start on starboard with Micah which lined up perfectly with the shallowest of the reefs about half way to the layline. I assumed Micah would tack off and save his fins but he didn’t and neither did I. Fortune favours the brave and somehow both of us managed to sail through the breaking waves on the outer reefs without touching our fins. I’m going slow as a dog on port so lost a few places running to the mark trying not to get flipped on the big swells outside the reef and rounded the mark about 6th having to let Arnon cross me on starboard (kind of felt like just clipping his boom on the way past for taking the last of the milk this morning, but the guy paid for my chicken quesadillas last night so I let it slide, hahaha).
I lost a few places on the downwind as I had the track all the way back in the slot on the HWR and quite a stiff mast in my sail for the lighter winds, so the sail was just bouncing me around like a ragdoll as I went over the swell downwind and I watched as Vesterstrom and Arnon came charging past me in to the bottom mark. I rounded just behind Dennis Littel at the bottom mark and sat in his dirty air upwind (he was pointing like a machine) getting punished but managed to hang in there but I think I tacked a little early on to starboard and lost 1-2 more places as the guys who went a bit further along the beach got a better lift to the top mark. Clung on to a 12th this race despite.
There must be someone looking down on the Browne family this week as just flicking over to the PWA site it seems that Marcilio finished 4th in the Pozo wave event right about the same time the smaller Browne (Gabriel) came from NOWHERE today to jump to 2nd position overall for the event (must be those boards he is on). The final race today I didn’t sail as I got KO’d on the startline so just thought I’d save myself the trouble of getting a 40th and sailed back to the beach. Arriving there about 3 minutes after me was a very shaken up looking Dennis Littel. Dennis had just been CRUNCHED from behind by Arnon travelling at full speed hitting Dennis’ knee with his board as he tried to avoid killing the guy. So after Casper on Tuesday we now had to take the next Dutch guy to the hospital (thanks again to Cecile for being the designated ambulance!).

So that was the end of Day 4 and my worst day of racing that I can remember. Just to really put the icing on the cake I managed to rip my harness catching it on something sharp as I carried gear back from the beach. But luckily Arnon still owes me another dinner so I can at least enjoy quesadillas once more (found arguably the greatest mexican restaurant on planet earth here the other day) without too much stress.
Final day tomorrow… I need to it together and get back in to the Top 16 (or at least just beat Mathias Pinheiro). Steve and Jesper need to keep it together and start winning races to have a solid finish and we ALL hope Dennis is back on his feet tomorrow and able to slot a few more Top 3 finishes in to wrap up his event.

Check out for more photos and updates as well as keep in touch with the action as it happens by following me on Twitter (@SeanAUS120).