2009 Latvian NeilPryde Baltic Cup 

2009 Latvian NeilPryde Baltic Cup event took place in Liepaja from June 27 to 28. Liepaja is located 220 km from Riga, Latvia's capital. Local musican have a popular song called; ''Liepaja - city where the wind is born!" For organizers, it was also was one of the reasons why regatta was choosen to be there, because Latvian west coast has the most possibility to have good wind conditions.

Other reason was good cooperation with local windsurfing club Rietumkrasts and its president Janis Jekabsons, who helped and succesfuly managed and judged not only this event, but 2009 European Raceboard and Techno 293 Championship earlier this month in Liepaja. Third, the racing area was in bay, called Karaosta(war port), historically built and used by Soviet army as navy base, before Latvia gained independence in 1991.

The bay inside the port is huge and can provide good flat water conditions in almost all wind conditions. At last, econo mical situation changed in Latvia lot comparing last year. From growing GDP in average 10% a year, starting 2000, this year is expected to have bigges fall in EU, close to 17%. Currently, Latvian goverment is asking for financial aid from EU and International Monetary Fund.

Therefore, comparing previous years all main Cup sponsors like Audi, Pernod Ricard and other companies were cutting they marketing budgets and they sponsorship was close to zero comparing previous years.

Nevetheless, the racing spirit was very high. 51 Formula sailors from Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Russia took part in the event. Besides Formula class where results are counted to word ranking list, also Raceboard, Techno 293 and RSX classes were taking part. In two days, there were 9 races for Raceboard fleet and 4 races for Formula class.

Day one

Race Nr.1

Wind was from north east, side shore, 8 - 11 knots. After the start and short upwing leg, rounding mark number 1, Estonian Toomas Molder (Gaastra, Gaastra) took the lead, followed by Maris Smiltenieks(Gastra, Gaastra) and Ansis Dale(Starboard, NeilPryde). Due the changing wind strenght and direction, the downwind was quite tricky, but in second upwing Molder just extended his lead, followed by Estonian Beijing RSX 2008 Olympian Jonanes Ahun(Gaastra/Gaastra) and Dale. In third upwing Estonian Martin Ervin(Starboard, NeilPryde) showed good speed and upwing angle giving him third position in finish. First finished Ahun, second Molder, third Ervin, forth Dale, fifth Kaar.

Race 2

Race two started soon after first was finished. The same wind conditions as in race one. During start, about 10 sailors crashed around the starting mark. For others, who managed time and distance better it gave competitive advantage. After crash in race one, 2009 Baltic Cup overall winner, Latvian Janis Preiss (Starboard/NeilPryde) took the lead rounding first mark first, followed by Molder and Dale. After downwind mark, in second upwind Molder passed Preiss and extended his lead to finish. Third finished Latvian Ricards Omanbriedis(Starboard/NeilPryde). Following results were for the race; Molder, Preiss, Omanbriedis, Kaar, Zelcs. After several attempts later wind switched more to east - shore and the day was called off. The forecast was promising for Sunday.


Day two

Race Nr. 3

After one race cancelled, sudden fog and sailors sent to beach, finally perfect north wind, 11 - 13 knots arrived. In short distance the good start is very important. Having good start and clear wind, Latvian Romualds Zelcs(Gaastra/Maui) rounded first mark first, followed by Dale and Smiltenieks. In second upwind Molder and Ervin showed good speed. In third upwing Ervin passed Zelcs and was increasing his gap to finish line. The finishing order was the following; Ervin, Zelcs, Molder, Preiss, Dale.

Race Nr. 4

Was last race of the event. The start was given 10 minutes before the 16.00, time for last possible start. Just perfect conditions - 12 knots, sun, flat
water and high speeds. Having good start, pack of sailors were coming together to first mark. Finally, the event runner up Ervin managed to round the mark first, followed by Preiss. It was deciding race for many top positions. This time, current leader Molder got stucked before the mark and need to make extra tacks to round first mark, where Ervin was going full speed to his second victory in the event extending his lead in race. The finishing order was the following; Ervin, Preiss, Smiltenieks, Kaju, Niine and Ahun.

After having four races with one discard, the event succesfuly was completed. The event showed good racing spirit and high interest in Formula class in the Baltics. It can be seen in result board, separating top places for only one point! This year, already second event was wone by Estonian Martin Ervin. After winning Lithuanian and Latvian events, he is leading the Baltic Cup now. One reason for good results of Estonian sailors are they dedicated training and new fin development and production. Having new new "Z" fins in they arsenal for the regatta, developing as team and testing them, showed outstanding results. Both top place windsurfers Martin Ervin and Toomas Molder used "Z" fins for this regatta. Therefore, 2009 season is just starting and possibilities are great also for Janis Preiss to prove him one more time to fight for overall title this year and other sailors to give hard times to todays leaders.

Many thanks for sponsors and race staff : NeilPryde, Extreme Sports, Windsurfing Club Rietumkrasts and organizers Juris Vasioleks, Janis Jekabsons, Juris Jekabsons and Madara Jekabsone.


Overall scoring results are were the following :


Formula Open

1. Martin Ervin - Estonia(Starboard/NeilPryde) - 5.0.
2. Toomas Molder - Estonia(Gaastra/Gaastra) - 6.0.
3. Janis Preiss - Latvia(Starboard/NeilPryde) - 8.0.
4. Jonanes Ahun - Estonia(Gaastra/Gaastra) - 15.0.
5. Henri Kaar - Estonia(Starboard/NeilPryde) - 16.0.
6. Ansis Dale - Latvia(Starboard/NeilPryde) - 17.0.


Formula Women

1. Maarja Niinemets - Estonia(Starboard/NeilPryde).


Formula U20

1. John Kaju - Estonia(Gaastra/Gaastra).
2. Rihards Akmentins - Latvia(Starboard/Gaastra).
3. Rudolfs Kruklis - Latvia(Starboard/Severne).


Formu Master

1. Martin Ervin - Estonia(Starboard/NeilPryde).
2. Toomas Molder - Estonia(Gaastra/Gaastra).
3. Ansis Dale - Latvia(Starboard/NeilPryde)
 

SOURCE: Neil Pryde