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Giltrap Audi New Zealand Windfoil titles attract 55 entries at Manly SC

by NZ 17 Mar 17:31 PDT 18 March 2020
NZ Windfoiler National Championships - March 13-15, 2020 - Manly Sailing Club © Adam Mustill

A fleet of 55 sailors competed in the Giltrap Audi New Zealand Windfoil Championships held at Manly Sailing Club.

With the Windfoiler all but selected as the windsurfing class for the 2024 Olympic Regatta, this was the first step for many competitors on a 2024 Olympic campaign and beyond.

With those goals in mind the regatta attracted an eclectic mix of sailors from straight out of the Optimist class to former Olympic boardsailing representatives and medalists. The age range was from 13yrs old to 60+.

Sailing in Gold (23 sailors), Silver (20 sailors) and Bronze fleets, eight races were completed, five course races, one long distance and two slalom sprint rounds were held.

Former NZ National Champion - Glen Cochrane hosted the bronze fleet - providing excellent coaching and advice as well as running their own separate racing format.

As well as 55 entries, sailing in the regatta, Mad Loop Windsurfing offered lessons and rentals on the weekend. The Windfoil nationals was been one of biggest Windsurfing events since the mid 90s in New Zealand, with multiple design/manufacture boards, prior to the adoption of the RS:X one design and used in the 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympic regattas.

Antonio Cozzolino is led the scoreboard at the end of Day 1 - putting on a masterclass display in tricky 10-14kt conditions. He led 2012 Olympic representative JP Tobin, and Julien Savina from Australia. Max van der Zalm (4th) is top Young Gun, and Bruce Trotter (6th) is top Master.

There was serious competition in the Silver Fleet. Tim Wood - 2016 World Veteran Champion - narrowly led Gary Hill, and Andrew Stretton. Veerle Ten Have (4th) is top Female, and Olly Maidment (6th)was top youth.

There racing showed there is fantastic depth in both the Gold and Silver fleets, and tight racing was expected to continue the next day.

Antonio Cozzolino and Tim Wood consolidated their respective leads over the Gold and Silver Fleets at the end of Day 2. They didn't have it all their own way though. It was all about the ever-exciting Slalom Sprints format to provide plenty of spills and shook up the results in both fleets. Consistency was king.

No racing was possible on the third day due to a lack of wind.

"The multi course format is unique to windfoiling," says Aaron McIntosh, 2000 Olympic Bronze medalist and the world's top windsurfing coach."It shows the sport in a fast dynamic range. There's classic course racing of 12-14 minutes, for the sailors. There's a long distance race for a bit of fun, the adventure - and the point of difference that we are not doing the same copy/paste racing day in day out."

"The sailor that wins is the sailor that can perform in every situation. The sprint saloms (triangular course - tight reach, broad reach and lay through to the finish) are quite different to course racing. It's very basic but it is all about execution, especially in light winds. It's about execution the basics of yacht racing - good start - clear air - good manoeuvres and positioning. That is a simple approach, but quite complex in the execution. One mistake and it is over in a heartbeat and you've missed the final. The race last about 90-120 seconds only. The people out watching in boats were just blown away by it.

"It works for new media. We are scrolling generation. For short sharp race that is not 20 minutes long, we think we can get better engagement.

"We have a range of equipment and abilities. We're very conscious that we need the top sailors to showcase the class, and we need to focus on the silver fleet and where the weekend warriors are - that is part of growing the class. If we focus on the top guys, then the class will fall apart. We need the weekend warriors as well as the Junior sailors. For the juniors and youth sailors there is now a pathway through the Junior and Youth sailors through to the Silver fleet, and then into the Gold fleet. Now the class is Olympic, that completes the pathway."

"At the moment we are racing what we call an "Open Windfoil" - a sail of up to 10sq metres - you're allowed two sails and one board which is close to the Olympic board. We are very close to the windfoiler to be used in the 2024 Olympics.

"The NZ Board Store put up a sail as a prize for the best up and coming competitor. When the prize was announced, the smile on young Charlie Solly's face was just priceless!"

Aged just 14 years, Charlie Solly stepped out of his Optimist onto the wind foiler, McIntosh notes that the price point for the junior/youth windfoiler is close to the Optimist.

"Charlie absolutely loves it'" says McIntosh. "He'll never go back to the Optimist."

"We're looking for more Optimist sailors to go straight into the Windfoiler," he adds.

"He's sailing a scaled down version of the Olympic board, with a smaller sail and essentially the same foil as the Olympic Windfoiler. He uses smaller sail an foil aluminum mast. The price point of that package is about $6,000 new, and you can buy that for $4,000 second hand. For performance for the dollar, it's a no-brainer."

A media team were on the job all weekend with two media boats, drones, e-foil 360 as well as our stabilised cameras.

The Windfoiler is one of New Zealand's fastest growing sailing classes and NZ is fast becoming the Worlds Windfoil racing hotspot.

The Windfoil NZ team with the team at Manly Sailing Club pulled of another fantastic event. It's not just the sport but the culture that seems to be attracting our growing numbers. Already planning ahead with the 2020 AGM completed and new officers appointed sees Windfoil NZ in a very positive position.

"Foiling is going viral. The enthusiasm of the fleet is infectious. The starts were fever-pitch. Everyone enjoyed a Corona after the racing!"

Results - Gold Fleet
1st - Antonio Cozzilino
2nd - JP Tobin
3rd - Julian Silvana

Results - Silver Fleet
1st - Tim Wood
2nd - Gary Hill
3rd - Veerle Ten Have

1st Youth - Max van der Zalm
1st Master - Ian Young
1st Women - Veerle Ten Have
1st Junior - Olly Maidment
Most improved and winner of new Windfoil sail - Charles Solly

Video from Day 01 of the @giltrapaudi NZ Windfoil Championships!

Giltrap Audi NZ Windfoiling Championships Day 2

Video recap from day 2 of racing Giltrap Audi New Zeland WIndfoil Championships at Manly Sailing Club

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