Fifteen year old Carlo Ciabatti from Cagliari, Italy, is the 2014 Techno 293 Youth Boys World Champion. With an unassuming start, 23rd on the leaderboard at the end of the first championship race, Carlo clawed his way up day by day - 13th . . . fifth . . .first! beating European Champion Tom Monnet into second place by four points.
International Techno 293 World Championships 2014
Tom was second Junior Boy at the 2013 World Championships so was on good form, and had a brief spell at the top of the leaderboard after the second day of racing. Last year's u15 Champion Israeli Yoav Cohen maintained a place on the podium right through, testing the top spot at the end of day three, but finally had to settle for third place at the end of the championship.
15 year old Lucie Pianazza, 2014 Techno 293 Youth Girls World Champion, took the first seven bullets of the championship. An emphatic win with less than half the points of her nearest rival, Israeli Katy Spychakov who, like Tom, was second in the Junior fleet at the 2013 Worlds. She was 13th at the Europeans on Lake Garda so should be well pleased with her performance in Brest as she managed to displace Russian Mariam Sekhposyan who had occupied the second place on the leaderboard until the final day of racing.
The 2014 Techno 293 Junior Boys World Champion is 14 year old Tom Arnoux from Marseille, third at the 2013 Worlds, a convincing winner this time, 11 points clear of the Israelis Lior Kamil and Itai Kafri. Just two points separated these two.
Italian Georgia Speciale certainly lived up to her name claiming the title of 2014 Techno 293 Junior Girls World Champion with a perfect score of nine. Beaten just twice by second placed Israeli Shira Benbenisti, Georgia won by 20 points. Shira was eight ahead of Greek Natalia Arapoglou who snatched the third podium place from Latvian Laeksandra Kaupa by having the better discard result.
It was great to see two healthy Techno 293 Plus fleets competing for the 2014 Techno 293 men's and women's Cup Champion titles. On an all-French podium, Oel Pouliquen was victorious in the men's with Clement Guevel in second and Hugo Mollard-Tanguy in third.
French victory also in the women's with local Crocodiles L'Elorn club member Lucie Belbeoch winning 8 of the 10 races. Jeanne Penfornis from La Mouette Sinagote was second with two bullets under her belt, and the third podium spot was claimed by Hisui Takahashi from Hosei University in Japan.
The biggest show in town drew the crowds for a spectacular opening ceremony in brilliant sunshine! A record entry of 400 competitors from 28 countries followed the brightly dressed musical ensemble to form a colourful flag waving parade around the harbour at Brest. Then it was time to party – the fun was just beginning.
Sunday practice race at 15:00 - an opportunity for race officials and racers to familiarise themselves with the conditions and to test themselves ahead of official racing. The wind was a steady but shifty force 2, ranging from a westerly to northwesterly. With a strong current all three courses had general recalls, but eventually the race officers managed to get the practice race away on all three courses.
The organisation involved three clubs, all used to managing the sporting side of events. Three race areas were defined, each managed by one club:
- junior sailors, the under 15 boys and girls, racing on the yellow course; - youth boys, under 17, racing on the orange course;
- youth girls and competitors over 17 racing on the white course.
The clubs could rotate their teams around the different race areas, to allow the sailors to experience all aspects of Brest as a windsurfing venue. A maximum of three races a day for all competitors was the target, two races in less favourable conditions.
At Last the Wind . . . and the First Race of the 2014 Brest Championship!
The morning of day one for racing was calm in the event village at the Bic T293 Worlds in Brest: the wind was almost zero. Following the briefing, it was agreed to postpone until 14:00 hours. However it was not until 15:00 hours that the first racers were called out to the race areas.
The strength and direction of the wind did not allow the 400 racers to complete the first race easily. The weak and unstable wind was varying in direction during the afternoon, and the three race committees attempted many starts. The three groups (Orange, White and Yellow) were only able to complete their first race late in the day. However, despite this onset of difficult conditions, the Race Committee was able to validate this first day of competition with one race.
Of the 400 registered competitors, one hundred and twenty were French. 'They come from all corners of France,' said Valerie Boutet-Massonneau declaring the French the best: 'I lead a group of eight young girls who come from Poitou-Charentes, Languedoc Roussillon, South Pas-de-Calais and Brittany. The strongest is Lucie Pianazza. She will represent France at the Olympic Youth Games in August. She comes from the League of Poitou-Charentes and is in the youth division (under 17),' said the Brest coach.
Adrien, 13, comes from the Nord Pas de Calais. 'I'm here with my team to participate in the competition and try to get a good result. I'm in the Junior category (under 15). I had good results recently so I hope to continue like this. I've been to Brest for internships and I quite like the city, the water I like but the wind is not very stable and I'm afraid that we miss races... '. The truth always comes out of the mouth of babes . . .
If the Nord-Pas-de-Calais is well represented with its group of seven windsurfers, the South is no less - coach Xavier Mariani from Marseille brought seven racers to Brest: 'The Brest weather is not the same as Marseille,' said the coach watching the water. 'Here, there chop, currents . . . but the wind directions and low coefficients of this week should not penalize foreigners who are not used to this style of navigation. I love this water but what I like most in Brest are the pancakes!'
Three races in challenging light conditions on day two
The wind blew more steadily for the second day of the Techno 293 World Championships in Brest allowing three races for the 400 windsurfers.
2014 European Champion, Tom Monnet, representing France at the forthcoming Youth Olympic Games, finished top of the youth u17 leaderboard with two firsts and a second in the blue group. Ikeda Kensei, representing Japan at Nanjing, took two bullets in the yellow fleet and was three points behind. Third, fourth and fifth positions were occupied by Israelis Yoav Cohen, Saar Meents and Itay Barzilay with Russian Maxim Tokarev close behind.
French girl Lucie Pianazza was stamping her authority over the u17 girls fleet, winning all four races of the championship so far. She was seven points clear of her closest rival Mariam Sekhposyan from the Baltic Coast of Russia. Both girls will be competing at Nanjing. Mirroring the u17 boys, the next three places on the leaderboard were occupied by Israelis, Shoval Ravitzky, Katy Spychakov and Maya Morris.
Competitors arrived around 11am at the race village, but had to wait until the wind picked up as the northeast prevailing wind combined with the thermal wind, delayed by cloud cover in the morning.
The first start signals were sounded around 15:30. All fleets completed three races on the three courses spread north to south of the bay, but not all in the same conditions: the juniors, closer to the bridge, felt more the influence of the predominately northern breeze.
Almost thirty nations had responded to the call of this international competition and each of these countries has different weather and water conditions. Many youngsters found it difficult to master the challenging conditions of Brest where tactics and the ability to read the water played an important part.
Italy was one of the nation’s most represented after France. Mauro Covre, the coach of the Italian national team: 'We won two medals at the ISAF World Championships in Portugal: Mattia Camboni and Marta Maggetti flew the colours of our tricolor. We hope to have good results although our athletes are accustomed to shorter waves, winds more unstable and stronger.'
The Tunisians were satisfied with their first sail in the bay of Brest because, apart from the temperature of the water being a little too cold for their taste, they felt at home. Ons Meliani representing the Tunisian Sailing Federation said, 'our two youngsters defending the Tunisian flag, have adapted well to the water because the weather is quite like ours: not a lot of wind and thermal breezes.'
If the Tunisians were comfortable, the eight Japanese engaged in this championship were a little disoriented. Ryohei Ishii, 19 years is a native of Osaka: 'These weather conditions are totally different and it is not easy for us to adapt. We are generally accustomed to more light conditions and for us the water is warmer! This is the first time I have left Japan to participate in a competition and I am delighted to be here.'
Dream conditions on day three in Brest
Two races were contested in idyllic conditions: between 12 and 13 knots from the north-east under a bright sun.
'The qualifying rounds have been validated and from Thursday the best 80 boys will race as the Gold Fleet,' enthuses Olivier Grall. At this halfway stage in the competition, with six races completed, there is every reason to expect that six more will be raced by each fleet by the end of the week.
Wednesday's weather was the best since the beginning of the week, even though the wind was more complicated: the gusts were not easy to see and the competitors had to adapt constantly.
Not a good day for Tom Monnet who stumbled right off the u17 boys’ podium, the top position now occupied by Yoav Cohen from Sdot Yam, Israel. Maxim Tokarev from Russia moved up four places into second, sharing equal points with Kensei Ikeda from Japan. With three days left, all to play for.
u17 girl Lucie Pianazza from Rochelle had won all seven races from the first day. 'The weather Tuesday and Wednesday is what I prefer when there was 12-13 knots. I feel pretty confident because I've won even without wind, that is to say, under conditions where I'm not at my best.'
Over three days, competitors had experienced varied weather conditions, allowing them to test their skills in very different contexts. The fatigue probably showed on their faces and the competition break on day four was probably very welcome.
Fun in the Sun as Lack of Wind Halts Competition!
The event organisers arranged activities ranging from trolley races on land to walking and flying on water.
Teams of two competed in the trolley race to find the fastest pair with one person sitting on the trolley being pushed around the course by their team mate.
The walking and flying on water was a more freestyle activity, achieved by water being pumped through a machine powered by a jetski which lifts the person up.
Sailors also took the opportunity to analyse their races so far, by watching the tracking replay on the live page.
Penultimate Day - the Best Show of the Week!
11 - International Techno 293 World Championships 2014
The penultimate day of racing was the best of the week so far, with all fleets competing in 12-15kts from the north in beautiful summer sunshine. Plenty of general recalls and several divisions quite close as we headed into the final day.
'An idyllic day for us on the race committee,' said Didier Flamme of the French Sailing Federation, 'and probably also for the competitors. The wind was stable, it was really perfect. There were great battles on the water. It was the sort of day we like!'
In the Girls u17, the Israeli team were in their element, finding the chink in Lucie Pianazza's armour and taking all three bullets. However, the final podium places looked secure as Lucie had half the points of her nearest rival, Israeli Katy Spychakov, who was 12 points ahead of third placed Mariam Sekhposyan from Russia.
In the u15 girls six nations were in the top six with Italy's Giorgia Speciale certain of gold heading the leaderboard by 20 points and Shira Benbenisti from Israel had her eye on silver. However, the next group of sailors were very close: Natalia Arapoglou from Greece and Aleksandra Kaupa from Latvia had 37 points apiece and Polish Lidia Sulikowska was just one point behind. The battle was really on to secure the bronze.
Carlo Ciabatti from Cagliari Italy headed the u17 boys’ leaderboard, ahead of Tom Monnet from France by four points who in turn was seven points clear of Israeli Yoav Cohen.
Tom Arnoux from France was certain to take gold in the u15 boys but the other podium positions were still up for grabs with Israeli's Lior Kamil and Itai Kafri just two points apart and Fabien Pianazza hot on their heels just one point adrift of the podium.
The French were dominating the men and women's Plus podiums with Oel Pouliquen and Lucie Belbeoch first overall although the Japanese team was putting up a good fight with a bronze in the women's fleet on the cards.
Game Over for the Techno 293 World Championships
Weather for the final day was expected to be a little calmer with the usual thermal conditions and the goal was to have three races. However, the wind gods decided otherwise.
The Race Teams gave it all they could to get a last race in before the 16:00 cut off. The wind was building with the sunshine as the fleet was released from the slipway. All three courses attempted starts, but as the cloud built the wind started to shift and it was game over.
Thank You Brest!
Nobody will forget the atmosphere, friends, pancakes and 1000 other things that made this week special. There was something for everyone with a good range of conditions over this championship week and there was absolutely no doubt that everyone had fun, fun, fun!!
The Techno 293 Class would like to thank Les Crocodiles de L’Elorn and everyone involved, especially the volunteers, in staging this record breaking world championship at the Centre Nautique du Moulin Blanc, Brest. The venue and organisation was superb. And thanks also to the event 'partners' for their support.
Marie-Claire and her fellow volunteers were happy to give their time to the event: 'We're used to working together on such events and it's always nice because the atmosphere is great: everyone is polite and respectful. The chocolate crepes definitely seem to be the favourite!'
For those selected to represent their country at the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China 16 - 28 August, this was their last chance to practice in a major event. We wish all competitors the best of luck and good racing!
See you in Argentina in October 2015 for the next Techno 293 World Championships. Ezio Ferin, President Techno 293.