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Juju Wins Windy Highland Springs HIHO 2005

St Martin’s Julian “Juju” Quentel, the defending champion, won the Highland Spring HIHO 2005 event in July. The French windsurfer fended off a strong challenge from Canadian World Cup pro Sam Ireland to win by a 1.25-point margin.

According to race director Eli Fuller, Quentel mastered conditions that varied between 10 and 30 knots. His versatility gave him the edge over Ireland. The two traded first and second place throughout the tournament, which was Quentel’s fourth HiHo. “With so much long distance racing, the event favors those who know the islands,” explained event organizer Andy Morrell. “It’s hard for first time participants to know where to find the buoy off Little Harbour, Peter Island if they’ve never sailed down the Sir Francis Drake Channel.”

Wind conditions for the event ranged from 10 to 30-knots. 18-20 knot winds on Monday’s first day of racing gave way to 25-30 knot conditions on day two, forcing racers to adopt survival tactics just to stay on the water.

Juju and Ireland were a cut above the rest of the fleet in the windy conditions in Eustatia Sound. Holding up enormous 9.8 meter sails, the two roared around the course.

“It was impressive,” recounted Fuller. “These guys are two of the best windsurfing racers in the World and they were sailing unbelievably well.”

This year’s HiHo was treated to the participation of Royal Navy destroyer HMS Liverpool, which doubled as start boat on the July 7 race. The warship anchored West of Necker Island and with their Lynx helicopter hovering over the yacht fleet and event participants lining the ships rails, she sounded the start by firing her signal guns. Racers, including the ship’s Commander, reached off towards the Seal Dogs where they rounded a mark and headed South to the finish off The Baths.

HMS Liverpool hosted a cocktail party in the evening for all participants and his Excellency Governor Tom McCann. According to the ship’s Commander, Gerry Northwood, “Joining the Highland Spring HIHO was the highlight of our Caribbean tour.”

The HIHO fleet visited nine islands as it wound its way through BVI’s. Racers sailed over 100-miles. The longest race was the 25-mile run down the South side of Tortola. The fleet started off Buck Island with a finish on tiny Little Thatch where a sumptuous lunch of fresh salads and homemade pizzas awaited weary racers. Due to unusually strong winds, the popular race to Anegada was cancelled.

Third overall went to newcomer Zack Plavsic from Canada. A member of the Canadian Sailing Team, Plavsic put in a great series of races to finish ahead of HIHO veteran Ricardy Maricel from St Martin. Last year’s second place finisher, Luis Marchegger from Italy, dropped to 5th.

Forty racers from a dozen countries including Venezuela, Brazil and Slovakia joined HIHO, which is raced on identical BIC Techno II boards.

Top BVI finisher was Necker Island watersports pro Charlie Smith in 8th overall.

HIHO is one of windsurfing’s best-known annual events. Other sponsors included Neil Pryde, BIC Sport, The Moorings and the BVI Tourist Board. For more information please visit www.go-hiho.com

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