sail-world.com -- IFCA Slalom World Championship Azores overall
IFCA Slalom World Championship Azores overall
Thu, 15 May 2014
The IFCA Slalom World Championship 2014 Opening Ceremony took place on the event site with some nice BBQ and music. A welcome by from the Mayor's representative was followed by words from the events Principal Race Officer, Bruno de Wannemaeker.
57 entries from 18 nations representing three continents included the top five from the 2013 Worlds in Germany: World Champion Gunnar Asmussen (GER-88) from Flensburg, Vincent Langer (GER-122) from Kiel, Dutchman Jordy Vonk, Sebastian Kornum from Denmark and Maciej Rutkowski from Poland, head of the IFCA World Slalom Ranking List. Also Italian Andrea Rosati, 2013 IFCA Masters Slalom World Champion, and 2012 Slalom World Champion, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel from Argentina.
After the late registrations were done the first official skippers meeting was held at 12:00. Sadly the wind was very light and all competitors were on standby until further notice.
Day two started out as before with some clouds and a light breeze. After the 9am skippers meeting the AP flag went up, competitors were on standby as very tricky unstable winds blew from 5 knots to 20 knots out on the course area.
Some competitors took time to prepare their gear and most of them went out for a test run on their biggest sails. Several times the wind seemed to be kicking in but, it just would not cover the whole course area and even if it did, it did not last too long either.
The event's Principal Race Officer, Bruno de Wannemaeker, and the event organizer, Carlos Borges, took a rib drive around the point of the coastline and discovered that the wind and the sun were smiling and having fun around the corner at Porto Martines. The conditions looked more stable than the scheduled course area thus was a proposal made by the organizer to move the event area in the morning to make the best out of the predicted forecast. Big Trucks would be ready early in the morning to transport the competitors and their gear to another location nearby. A new course would be set at the new location and hopefully the first races of this event would kick off.
Race Officials went out by boat towards Porto Martins before the 8am scheduled meeting for the riders on another early Azorean morning on the third event day. The crew found Porto Martins wind measurements on the outside 9 to 14 knots, Porto Martins wind measurements on the inside 5 to 11 knots.
The decision was announced at 8am: too much of a risk to transport all 57 competitors and more than 100 board bags to the proposed location so, a few sails had to be re-rigged and competitors were put on standby mode throughout the day until conditions became suitable for an official race.
Some made use of the waiting period to test their equipment in the light and gusty conditions on the course area, while the water crew constantly measured the wind conditions on several locations. The predicted winds failed to show up and racing was eventually called off for the day. It seemed pointless looking at the next day’s forecast .... 'let's just wait and see'.
Day Four in the beautiful Azores and we finally got wind and some racing!
After the previous 'will it, won't it' day when the winds were just not that good enough for official competition, the ever hopeful race crew made a few changes to the course in anticipation of a good day and the ladies were scheduled to start first.
It was a long morning watching the gusts coming through but the sun was shining on the competition and eventually the announcement from the Race Officer everyone was waiting for: 'winds are 15 to 30 knots and the conditions are beautiful for some racing!'
The action was finally on - fast and furious heats were fired off. The wind gods were keeping everyone on their toes, competitors were on a range of 7.0 to 8.5 sails. Just occasionally the wind dropped - heat 11 was abandoned due to lack of wind at the start - but these tricky shifty winds made for exciting racing for competitors and spectators alike.
Ben van der Steen from the Netherlands came out on top at the end of the day with Italian Matteo Iachino in second. It was a very close call for third and it appeared that Israeli Dagan Arnon was there but subsequent video review put German Vincent Langer in third place. Delphine Cousin headed the ladies leaderboard.
Everyone was praying for wind for the final championship day. The skippers meeting was held at 09.00 as usual with the last possible start scheduled for 17:00.
'The wind really sucks' summed up the whole day, competitors being on standby until the next announcement at 13.00. There was no change so competitors decided it was de-rigging and packing time and looked forward to the Awards Ceremony casual style in the evening.