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Patrik Windsurf Bris Vegas Windfoil Pro

by Mitch Pearson 3 Feb 01:52 PST 30-31 January 2021

The Patrik Windsurf Bris Vegas Windfoil Pro saw some spectacular action over the weekend. Hosted by the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, twenty-seven sailors competed over three days on beautiful Waterloo Bay in varying conditions. Sailors were competing across six divisions including Formula Foil, IQ Foil and the hotly contested free foil division.

Day one saw a variable fifteen to twenty knots easterly fill in early, allowing the maximum six windward leeward races to be completed. While the wind allowed fast paced action large seaweed lines made the game as much about luck as skill and tactical nous. The use of gates at the bottom mark put more impetus on tactical knowledge as each side of the course provided different amounts of chop and weed while varying wind shifts meant large gains could be made over your closest rival if you tacked at the critical moment.

Julien Ventalon sailed ultra-consistently to take five bullets to go along with a last place after getting caught on the upwind mark after flirting with the danger all day. Hamish Swain lead the IQ Foil division as well as third place in open while Sammie Costin held the lead for the women.

The free foil division allows wind foilers to come experience racing without having to spend extravagant amounts of money on the latest high tech equipment. This is where the excitement of high-speed racing is sown and where the future of windfoil racing talent lies. Once you've experienced it, you're hooked! Sailing a shortened course, the competition was tight with some close battles fought between mates and new rivals alike. Simon Tribe was the clear standout on day one with five bullets to his name, followed by Mark Ward and Tom Needham, of 49er fame.

The morning of day two produced lighter easterly winds meaning the AP flag stayed up until conditions could be assessed from the water. After a short time, sailors were summoned to the water for some light wind slalom races. A part of both Formula foil and IQ FOIL class racing rules, slalom is a quick and fast paced race, sailing either across or downwind, with races lasting less than five minutes. Unfortunately, after one abandoned race in the open fleet the sailors were sent ashore to allow the breeze more time to fill in.

Three races were completed for the open fleet after lunch on day two in light and shifty easterlies. Timing of transitions became critical as any tack or mistimed gybe meant large amounts of pumping was required to return to full flight with significant amounts of energy expelled. One race was completed for the free foil division with many not able to maintain flight in the light breeze with their smaller sails (max. 8 m sail for freeride class compared to 10 m for open). After yo-yo-ing up and down the ladder Leo Sharpe found some consistency with two race wins to put him back into contention in the open fleet while Simon Tribe maintained his lead in the free foil fleet.

Day three brought more of the same light easterly winds with two races able to be completed before a break for lunch being taken, with Hamish Swain taking out both open fleet races to give him a chance at the title. A 25-knot squall hit as competitors were returning to the water with many clambering to change foil settings and sail sizes as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, the squall didn't last meaning the lighter winds returned. However, three races were still able to be completed to finish off the event.

Julien Ventalon was able to maintain his lead over Julien Savina to win by one point. Having a quiet regatta by his standards Savina, the reigning Australian champion, made sure to make it interesting and keep the pressure on Ventalon all the way up to the last race. Hamish Swain took third as well as the IQ FOIL and Youth title while Sammie Costin took out the women's. The fleets patriarch and the ultimate windsurfing Mr. Fixit, Kevin Costin, took out the Grand Masters with some great tactical sailing, mixing it up at the front of the fleet and keeping everyone honest on his home-made board and foil. Simon Tribe was pushed on the last day by Mark Ward and Tom Needham but his consistency shone through to claim the Free Foil title.

Congratulations to all the competitors and volunteers for a great event. A special thanks to Sarah Motherwell for her sensational photos. We hope that Waterloo Bay can be the site of many windfoil events to come over the next few years.

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