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Cyclops Marine 2020 - LEADERBOARD

Olympians love the WASZP way of life!

by Marc Ablett 19 Aug 23:24 PDT
Diego Botin © Renting Ribs Spain

Since the inception of the WASZP in late 2016 the main focus has been on creating a sustainable culture within the class that serves every sailor and their needs. From the grass roots weekend warriors through to Olympic and professional sailors looking to enjoy their sailing in between the rigours of their campaigns.

The enjoyment of the WASZP and the culture within the fleet has spawned from the fact the WASZP dares to be different, from the way events are conducted, to class management and an emphasis on the sailors and their needs. It is not traditional, it is developed from listening to the sailors and implementing the plan, recognising it is what the sailors want and deliver that in an exciting way. The sailors are the most important stakeholders.

Over the last 12 months the WASZP class has formed strong links with SailGP and has begun forming its own youth pathway with a professional circuit, again outside of the traditional pathways. The WASZP knows exactly what it stands for from the grass-roots masters scene to elite-up and coming talent and everything in between, the sailors appreciate that. The strength of the 18-35yr old age group shows the strength of retention within the class and will only be good for the sport going forward. Again affordability and accessibility provides easy access to the product.

Due to this, the class has seen many Olympic and professional sailors taking to the WASZP to blow off some steam in between their rigid campaigns. Spanish 49er sailors have taken to the WASZP as a perfect cross trainer to their campaigns towards the Tokyo Olympics, names like Diego Botin and the Alonso brothers who all race WASZPs in their spare time have been competing for years against each other on the circuit. Also from Spain, Jordi Xammer has spent time in the WASZP and Olympic coaches Jared West and Javier Torres have also been playing the game while coaching at the highest level.

Women Olympians are loving the opportunity to get foiling in the WASZP, of note is Berta Betanzos and Kahena Kuhnze both Olympic 49er sailors of Spain and Brazil who own WASZPs and get out sailing in between campaigns. Kahena is the current Olympic Gold Medallist in the 49erFX class and Berta has competed in 2 Olympics as well as winning the 2011 ISAF World Championships in Perth in the 470 Class.

Kahena who won Gold at the Rio Olympics 2016 has particularly enjoyed her time on the WASZP in between the 49erFX. "I originally bought the boat in Spain when my 49erFX crew Martine was competing in the Volvo Ocean race for Team AkzoKnobel. It was something to stay active and sharp in between training". For now the girls are focussed on Tokyo, however they are looking at adding some more WASZPs to the fleet and racing in Brazil. Kunze says "Hopefully when we get a break after Tokyo we can compete at International level against some of the other FX girls in the WASZP" The one-design aspect and level playing field between the men and women creates the perfect opportunity for these Olympic sailors to control their own campaign and have some fun racing against each other.

Recently joining these sailors, are Alex Maloney from NZ who won silver to Kahena in the 49er FX to Kahena at the Rio Games. Also the most recent addition is 49erFX sailor Giulia Conti from Italy, a veteran of 4 Olympic Games who has joined the fleet.

We are very much looking forward to the WASZP event circuit in 2021 and post the Tokyo Olympics when these extremely talented Guys/Girls will get the opportunity to go head to head on the most popular one-design foiling boat in the world.

The 2021 European Championships are well into planning with Spain the favoured location in September and the 2022 International WASZP Games to be held in Lake Garda Italy is set to be a huge event both. The European Championships would expect to draw a fleet of 150+ and the International Games well towards 250 boats. Postponed from this year due to Covid-19 the 2022 Games will give the best of the best from the Olympic scene an opportunity to race the best of the best from the grass roots and up and coming WASZP sailors. We cannot wait and there is no better time to get into a WASZP and start competing.

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