The final day of the IFCA Slalom Junior, Youth and Masters World Championships in Rosas in Spain, the tension was palpable with a slalom # 3 started the day before, still in progress, and the final result set to have a significant impact on the general classification.
IFCA Slalom Junior, Youth & Masters World Championships 2014
Everyone knew the chances of running five rounds to get the second discard were nil and everything depended on the completion of this round. The last possible start was 17:00h, the minutes ticked away relentlessly, some doubted the wind would appear but at 14:30, the heat of the Bay of Roses finally drew in 10 to 17 knots.
All to play for and great spectator action: super-fast board speeds, massive spin outs, and crashes at the marks.
In the Masters Gold Fleet final the battle between the top three was immense, a nail-biting finish! Andrea Rasati (ITA-0), better at jibes, was victorious whilst Gunnar Asmussen (GER-88) settled the speed battle and just made it into second place in front of Bora Kozanoglu (TUR-11) - Awesome!
Nicolas Goyard was fully in control of the Youths Gold Fleet final, clear of all the clashes and crashes in his wake. Jean Patrick Van der Wolde (CUR-191) was looking good in second, beating Benjamin Auge (FRA-21) into third place.
The results in the Masters Fleet couldn't have been closer, Andrea Rosati and Bora Kozanoglu ending the championship with exactly the same points and exactly the same results - but in a different order. This is where Windsurfing Competition Rule A8.3 comes into play: 'If a tie still remains between two or more boards, they shall be ranked in order of their scores in the last race' and thus Andrea Rosati (ITA-0) claims the title '2014 IFCA Masters Slalom World Champion', Bora Kozanoglu (TUR-11) had to settle for silver position on the podium with Gunnar Asmussen (GER-88) in third.
Andrea Rosati: 'Still can't believe I won for the third year in a row the master slalom worlds . . . has been a great and super competitive fight from the first day! Esta noche mucha fiesta!!!!'
With three straight wins, Nicolas Goyard (FRA-465) is the '2014 IFCA Youth Slalom World Champion'. Poyraz Akay (TUR-1011) takes second place just one point ahead of Jan Kosmina (SLO-9) in third.
Caribbean Nik Van den Eerenbeemt, who had his foot on the last podium place after the second elimination, finished with the same net points as Jan but, as he didn't make it into the Gold Fleet in the third elimination, the tie break using the discard went against him - gutted!
A very special mention for Ann-Christin Schliemann (GER-1003) who collected the Youth Girls Prize - the only girl competing against 43 boys!
Marc Pare Rico (ESP-334) is the 2014 IFCA Junior Slalom Champion with a very creditable sixth overall.
Final results Youth
Despite the vagaries of the wind, this has been a great championship and thanks go to GEN Roses, who have been excellent hosts, together with everyone involved in the organisation, both on and off the water.
The Bay of Roses is the perfect Slalom racing area as the thermal winds from the sea and the gradient northerly Tramuntana winds assure excellent sailing conditions. As well as the racing, there was plenty to do and see in the 'Village' where there was a range of activities and exhibitions throughout the week.
75 competitors from 18 countries and 3 continents signed up for this Windsurfing World Championship - 43 Youths and Juniors and 32 Masters. Entries included defending champions Youth Poyraz Akay TUR-1011and Master Andrea Rosatti ITA-0.
Registration for all competitors was followed by a practice race in the afternoon. The official opening ceremony took place in the conference area at the Monte Carlo Hotel with opening words from Tourism and Government officials including Bruno de Wannemaeker, President of the International Funboard Class Association.
Day one - After the first skippers meeting at 11am an unstable onshore breeze got everyone excited; a few competitors took the time to test their sails and to add some final adjustments to their set up. The first possible start was postponed and announcements were made every hour waiting for conditions suitable for racing. The weather varied between sunny and cloudy, but in the afternoon the dark clouds took over and the rainfall made it clear that there would not be any improvement in the conditions on the first competition day.
A relaxing morning breeze welcomed the competitors on the second competition day. Hourly announcements were made after the skippers meeting until somewhat after lunch time the wind seemed to be picking up. Wind measurements from the water crew: 10 to 14 knots. Still not quite good enough for an official race but everyone was excited and ready for a start. Unluckily dark clouds slowly started to cover the skies bringing rain and even lighter winds in the afternoon. Even though the wind again failed to provide suitable conditions for racing on the second competition day, competitors were staying positive, looking forward to the next few days in Roses.
Day Three started off nice and easy with clear blue skies, a light breeze increased slowly by the hour. After lunch time thermal winds blew from 11 to 14 knots and the competition could finally begin. The Youth and Junior eliminations were scheduled first followed by the Masters.
Youths Highlights: Dutch kid Coen Swijnenburg and local boy Marc Pare showed great skills and were definitely the ones to keep an eye on in the next coming days. The former IFCA Slalom Youth World Champion Poyras Akay from Turkey fought hard - even with a few bad starts he still won a few heats and always made it up to the Gold Fleet. French talent Nicolas Goyard had the most consistent performance throughout the day with great starts and good board speed.
Nicolas Goyard FRA-465: 'My good starts helped me a lot on this difficult competition day in the light conditions. My equipment set up: 8.6 Loft Sails Racing Blade on a RRD X-fire 122. I am very happy with my results and hope we get more windy days.'
Poyraz Akay TUR-1011: 'My day went ok I guess, conditions were light and difficult. I wish I could have done better starts, the French sailor Nicolas Goyard FRA-465 definitely had some good starts. My equipment set up: 8.6 Point 7 AC 1 on my Starboard Isonic 133. I am happy with my results but I know I can do much better.'
Nik van den Eerenbeemt ARU-9: 'I am actually not used to such light conditions, I enjoy stronger winds more. The French Sailor Nicolas Goyard FRA-465 did very well today. My equipment set up was maybe not the best: 8.6 Loft Sails Racing Blade on my Starboard Isonic 107. In the end I am happy with my result as some of the others out there did gave me a hard time in those conditions.'
Masters highlights: Spanish Slalom Champion Fernando Martinez showed great light wind skills and was never far behind. Italian Master Robert Hofmann kept it safe and smooth. Bora Kozanoglu from Turkey was one of the strongest masters out there, not his type of conditions but still he managed to perform with great board speed. Former IFCA Slalom Masters World Champion Andrea Rosati from Italy performed with great comfort: despite his bad starts one could still see him passing others at ease on the race course.
Andrea Rosati ITA-0: 'I won all heats until the final that got cancelled. It was not easy as the conditions were very light and tricky and it was all about good starts today, especially with the short legs which made it even more difficult to overtake the other competitors. Bora probably had most of the good starts today. My equipment set up: 9.5 Neil Pryde EVO 6 on my RRD X-Fire 122 and a 45cm fin. I have had a few bad starts but felt comfortable with my speed.'
A busy day for the competitors and the water crew here on the third competition day with a few cancellations and three or so protests we managed to complete two full rounds for Youths and Juniors while the Masters still had to sail the Gold and the Silver Fleet of the second elimination.
Day 4 - Just like the day before the thermal wind slowly built up after midday, just a bit later this time. Wind measurements were 11 to 15 knots to start but a few cancellations were necessary in the Masters Gold and Silver fleet due to unstable winds at the buoys. After a short break the conditions quickly improved with gusts up to 20 knots later in the afternoon and the elimination rounds could finally continue in full swing for the Masters and Youths.
Winner of the second elimination of the Masters Gunnar Asmussen GER-88: 'The first elimination didn't go so well for me as the winds were light, I guess it was just bad luck. Today there was better wind and great racing conditions for at least an hour or so. I was leading the first heat today but it got cancelled and at the re-sail there was just too light winds at the start. I need more wind then everything is Ok. It's like a holiday for me here in Roses, I love this place and the love is in the air. I hope tomorrow we get the same wind strengths but I believe I can still do Ok even in light winds, it’s all about the starts and here it's very tricky, once you are upfront you would probably do fine.
'I would like to thank the event water crew for their great job today. Now after a long day I am going out to train some formula sailing to prepare for serious battles in the upcoming races back at home (large smile). My equipment set up today: 9.6 North Sails Warp on a Patrik Diethelm Board 135 and a 45cm fin.'
Youth Highlights: Team Curacao celebrates a great day as Youth and Junior competitors Jean Patrick Van der Wolde CUR-191, Milan Gieling CUR-28 and Aron Etmon CUR-2 had great competition vibes today and all qualified for the Gold Fleet. The Other youngsters Jean Paul Da Silva de Goes CUR-914, Oscar Etmon CUR-21 and Stefan de Bell CUR-87 were happy with their performance in their age group categories.
Aron Etmon CUR-2: 'Today I felt better and sailed better because I like strong winds more. I felt like Bjorn Dunkerbeck today passing my opponents on the first reach as I am a bit bigger than the others. Congrats to Jean Patrick who also did well today and I surely look forward to sailing in the Gold Fleet tomorrow as I am aiming for a top 3 position. My equipment set up today: 8.6 Severne Sails Reflex 5 on a Starboard I Sonic 117 with a 42cm Z fin.'
In the late afternoon the wind slowly started to drop down to 8-10 knots which made it difficult for racing to continue. The Masters heat five and six from elimination #3 and the final rounds for the Youths Gold and Silver Fleet could not be sailed but were the first heats scheduled for the final day of the IFCA Slalom Y&M World Championships.
Nicolas Goyard – The IFCA Slalom Youth World Champion in Roses, Spain with a perfect score.
'I was aiming for the top places but I was still surprised at the outcome with three victories in three races sailed. I was relaxed on the water, I had a good speed, I did not make any mistakes and that's it!
'As the wind was rather light, I think that my background in RS: X helped me and allowed me to have a speed a notch above the others. I also took good clean starts every time.'