The first day of the Awaza PWA World Cup saw the opening ceremony take place at 11am as the President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow, arrived to mark the official beginning of the event, who was introduced to the PWA Chairman, Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) reigning world champions Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) and Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) as well as the extremely talented Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC).
Unusually today also saw cloudy weather accompanied by rain and thunder and lightning, but thankfully the forecast for the next few days predicts a return to the usual clear and sunny skies.
With light winds prevailing for the whole afternoon the sailors were eventually released at 5:30pm, before then we caught up with a few sailors. Firstly Delphine Cousin: PWA:
What have you been up to during the long winter break? DC:
'Yes it’s been a very long time since we last raced. During the off season I changed my sponsors to Starboard and Loft Sails, so I’ve been using the winter months to practise on my new gear so I am 100% comfortable with it. I was obviously disappointed about the cancellation of Korea, but now we are here and I feel like I am ready.' PWA:
When did you arrive in Turkmenistan? DC:
'I arrived on Saturday morning, so a few days before the start of the competition. I’ve been on the water once since I’ve been here and the wind seemed good. I was on my 7.8m and my biggest board the 117l. Sometimes it was a bit much, 7.0m would have been better at times. I’ve brought all my kit with me except my 5.9m because we don’t know the spot, but we’ll soon see.' PWA:
Feeling confident about the start of your title defence? DC:
‘Yeah, I feel ready, but of course all the other girls will have been training a lot too so we’ll just have to wait and see.' PWA:
Thanks Delphine and good luck for the competition
We also had a quick chat to a couple of sailors about the conditions:
Kurosh Kiani (Angulo / Point-7 / Maui Ultra Fins): 'It seems like it’s going to be quite challenging racing conditions with the shifty winds and choppy water.'
Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails): 'On the first day I was here we had some wind for 9.6m for a few hours. The next day was possibly the best with conditions for 7.9m or 8.6m, but the wind seems to swing a lot here and comes from a variety of directions, so it could easily be port or starboard tack. I think it’s going to be a tough week for both the racers and the crew.'
The skippers’ meeting tomorrow will be held bright and early at 6am with the promise of wind right from the word go. This means that the action will commence from 6:30am as long as conditions are suitable. PWA World Tour