Racing has begun at the 2009 Formula Windsurfing World Championships in Santa Pola, Spain. The 6-day event features the World’s best Formula sailors battling it out for the title. Sean arrived early in Santa Pola on Tuesday for a week of tuning and sailing, preparing for the event. Read the daily reports below, see the photos and stay tuned for the video as well as following Sean’s race-updates via Twitter.
In three races today (2 counting and one abandoned) I managed to rig all three of my sails and use all three fins; amazing!
The day started as did everyday this week with the wind a very light westerly of 5 knots in the morning then dropping out around lunchtime before swinging to the south and picking up to 10 knots very quickly. The first race we were out on 12m’s with the big fins however after a general recall in which 20 guys sailed the entire first lap we had a delay of 20 mins or so until we could restart the first race. By this time the wind had picked up and for me it was a bit of a handful with the 12m and 76 fin combo. I had an average start and was deep in the pack going round the first mark however I elected to go to the left on the second lap which the majority of the front runners didn’t do and managed to pick up 10 or so places on the second lap.
Ross Williams (GBR-83) passed me on the final downwind; I haven’t seen the results but either I was doing quite well or he was doing quite sh*te.
The wind continued to pick up and I changed down to the 11m and 73 fin and this race I got squished on the start underneath Gonzalo leaving me deep in the pack off the line. The startline is rediculously too small for the one fleet of 80 guys so the starting tactics for the majority is to just sit on the line stopped (as there is not enough room to run down the line) then start pumping with 5 seconds to go; just like an RSX race … haha.
I tacked away early in this race and got a good lift on port across to the layline to be in a decent position around the first mark. I was following Adri Keet (NED-34) downwind before he crashed in to a French sailor at the gybe in to the bottom mark and I was able to make a few places going round the mark. We had a gate for the bottom and with everyone arriving on different tacks you had to keep your eyes open to avoid hitting someone. Suffice to say, I doubt anyone (my included) noticed the boat 10m downwind of the marks holding the ‘C’ flag (course change) and luckily most of the fleet had realised the top mark had been moved 400m to the right and changed to a red mark.
I arrived at the top mark in a group with Hubert Mokrzycki (POL-25) and Lukasz (POL-320) and although they were a little faster on the downwind, Lukasz had a big crash on the run to the finish so I was able to finish just behind Hubert. I was later to discover that Hubert was OCS in this race and BFD the race before; unlucky.
A big storm arrived around this point (see the photos!) and after a big delay of 45 mins or so and myself given time to rig the 9.9m we were sent back out. Unfortunately for me the wind started to die as the storm and lightning arrived and with only 1 boom I wasn’t able to have my 11m rigged at the same time ready to go. So the countdown started and the wind dropped to around 12 knots which was a punishment on the 9.9m. I ended up getting a great start just to windward of Steve Allen (AUS-0) however as only about 15 people got off the line planing. I didn’t have particularly good angle because I was struggling to keep on the plane with the small sail but I held in under Steve for most of the run before the boats chased us down with the abandonment flag (just as I dropped off the plane!) and we started to head back to the beach to get in before the rain.
The forecast for tomorrow is the same again, so it looks like there’ll be a LOT of rigging going on this week!
Ps. Check out some photos below of the new 2010 Starboard LWR and HWR formula boards as well as the new 2010 Exocet Warp formula board developed by Gonzalo.
UPDATE. We haven’t been able to get on the internet connection here at the race site the past 2 days, so I’m stopping doing the daily reports. Sorry guys! Keep watching FormulaWindsurfing.org for more info…