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Brad Devine wins 2020 WASZP GPS Challenge

by Marc Ablett 13 Oct 01:57 PDT 14 September - 12 October 2020
WASZP GPS Challenge Winner - Brad Devine on his WASZP posting solid sessions © Marc Ablett

What a month we have had with the 2020 WASZP GPS Challenge, we have had over 90 sessions logged during the event window from competitors in over 15 countries spread all over the globe.

This is the first step of many innovations WASZP has taken to engage the fleet and community all over the world. The new bespoke class administration system RaceHub designed purely for WASZP sailing will be launched with the International Class Membership in November, this will include global rankings, further GPS challenges and Virtual Reality sailing amongst other initiatives.

The GPS Challenge event window between the 14th of September through to 12th of October was selected as it provides a cross over period for Northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere seasons and with an amazing prize of 2x spectator tickets to a SailGP event and a ride on an F50 up for grabs the competition was fierce.

We had 7 overall lead changes in the challenge that is made up of an overall score from 3 categories, your best Average Speed (top 5 10 sec speeds), your best 250m run speed and the half an hour fitness challenge giving you your best average speed over half an hour and total distance sailing in that half an hour. The competitor rankings are scored like normal racing and your total score combined from the 3 categories gives you your total points with no discards. In addition to this, you could provide multiple sessions where you focussed on one discipline in each session. The WASZP GPS platform is a powerful platform derived from high level windsurfing and kitesurfing GPS challenges with an amazing data collection and verification service.

It all began to heat up in the last 72 hours of the event window as messages were coming through of secret wind chasing missions up and down the coast and competitors also looking at forecasts in other parts of the world to see if their main rivals where going to get a good session in. In the final week there were 4 sailors who really stood out as major threats to the title. Brad Devine, Al Murch and Jack Felsenthal from Australia and Charlie Cullen from Ireland were all getting faster and faster as they got towards the pointy end.

On the Wednesday Charlie Cullen posted an amazing session where he sailed for 2 half hours to get the results he needed, in the session he sailed a total of 54kms and managed to post winning scores across all categories to really set the bar high including an amazing half hour average speed of 16.01knots, only to be bettered by Jack Felsenthal 24 hours later with a 16.24knots, this means theses guys must have been on the foils for nearly the entire session. This then fired up the West Australian crew who have the luxury of living in the most idyllic foiling locations in the world and the home of the 2019 International WASZP Games.

The forecast looked good, so 5 sailors made the trip down to Rockingham and the water known as Cockburn sound, this is a very unique location with a causeway separating the Indian ocean from cockburn sound and creating a lagoon where it can be blowing 30knots and the water is still like a swimming pool. Brad Devine posted an amazing session to take the overall lead and claiming the lead in 2 categories best average speed and 250m run, while his half an hour average was a touch over 15 knots. His max speed was 25.09knots.

Brad Devine on his WASZP posting solid sessions:

This then stood as the session to beat until a last ditch effort 30mins before the event window closed. Al Murch went for one last blast at Rockingham and very nearly pinched the win at the death, falling half a knot behind Devine in both Average Speed and 250m run and 0.1 of a knot behind Jack Felsenthal in the 1/2 hour speed at the death. Meanwhile in Ireland at the same time Charlie Cullen was making his last ditch effort to claim the prize and also posted a fantastic session to round out the event window.

This left Brad Devine from Perth Western Australia as the winner on a countback from Al Murch also from WA, the quality veteran I14 sailor who has won 8x Australian Championships and 2x podiums at World Championships jumped into the WASZP in late 2018 to sail and race against his son. He is part of a large contingent of WASZP Sailors who jump between the classes. Brad absolutely loves the WASZP and its simplicity is a real appeal to him and others when it comes to just getting on the water 'they are such a fun boat, simple, fun and fast, they are a boat that is just going to continue to grow due to how accessible they are for people of all ages'. Brad now has the opportunity to head to the SailGP of his choice for Season 2 with 2x spectator tickets and a ride on an F50, I can see Brad now enjoying a few cold frothies on Shark Island (Sydney) watching the action after nudging the 50knot barrier on an F50.

Final Results from the 2020 WASZP GPS Challenge:

1st= AUS **Brad Devine** - 1,1,4 = 6pts (on countback)
1st= AUS **Al Murch** - 2,2,2 = 6pts
3rd= AUS Jack Felsenthal - 4,4,1 = 9pts (on countback)
3rd= IRE **Charles Cullen** - 3,3,3 = 9pts

The WASZP Class is very proud to be partnered with SailGP to provide pathways for our young sailors and experiences like this for sailors of all ages. The WASZP is a fantastic connector from the professional level back to grass roots and community sailing. Stay tuned for more action over the next few months as WASZP announces more initiatives and continues to change the way the sport is perceived.

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