Nikos Kaklamanakis

Five-time Olympian and 1996 Olympic Champion Nikos Kaklamanakis made light work of atrocious conditions in Portland Harbour to move stealthily up the Raceboard Masters rankings at the 2009 IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Windsurfing World Championships today (Wednesday 26 August).

The Greek legend, also winner of three Mistral World Championships during a celebrated career, did not compete in the lighter breezes on his RS:X board on Monday’s opening day of the regatta opting to wait for conditions to become more favourable.

But the 41-year-old has been in sensational form since stepping on to the water on day two, winning all four races he has competed in, including the two run today in winds gusting over 30 knots and heavy rain.

Portugal’s own quadruple Olympian Joao Rodrigues continues to sit atop the pile in a fascinating Masters contest, Rodrigues posting two more second places to consolidate his lead while Skandia Team GBR RS:X coach Barrie Edgington moves up to second courtesy of two thirds.

Kaklamanakis is 10th with one more Did Not Compete (DNC) score to discard, which will kick in once the fleet races for an 11th time. They have currently completed six races.  

Kaklamanakis is revered in his home country as one of Greece’s greatest ever sportsmen and for youngsters such as Stratis Doukas, who is competing at his first ever Worlds in the Bic Techno Under 17s, just being at the same event as a national hero is almost incomprehensible.

The 14-year-old said: “For me it is very inspiring to be next to an athlete like Nikos in the Greece team tent. Before I started windsurfing I knew he was a really good sailor but then he became my idol and to be so close to him here and to be able to ask his advice just makes me want to be like him.

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Saskia Sills 

It’s a 1-2-3 for Britain in the race for the girls’ Under 15 Techno World title as twins Saskia and Imogen Sills and newcomer Emma Labourne upped the tempo on day two of the IWA Junior, Youth and Masters Windsurfing World Championships.

Although it was Imogen who sealed victory in the two races run at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA) today (Tuesday 25 August), it was Saskia that edged into pole position just a point ahead of her sister courtesy of two second places.

Meanwhile, 12-year-old Labourne, competing at her first World Championship event, is keeping the 13-year-old twins on their toes with an outstanding performance over the first two days of the regatta to lay third.

In April the Sills’ both medalled at the European Championships, Saskia claiming silver and Imogen bronze but after admitting their pleasure with their current placings they conceded the standard of competition was so high they could not take anything for granted for the rest of the week.

Saskia said: “The standard’s really improved even since the Europeans. Marta Maggetti from Italy who is fourth overall at the moment has really come through since then and Emma is sailing so well as well. She’s been really good but that’s great because that competition just keeps you on your toes.”

Imogen added: “We expected the Israeli girls to be strong and they were really good in the lighter winds yesterday but it’s also great to see girls here from countries like the USA and Singapore racing in the Under 17s because that means more girls are windsurfing around the world, which is good for the sport.”

Emma said: “I didn’t really know what to expect at this event but I’ve surprised myself with my performance so far, I’ve been really pleased and I’m enjoying the challenge of competing against the best girls in the World. My aim for this week was to get experience for next year’s Worlds and be selected for the RYA National Junior Squad so I’m hoping I can keep my performances going for the rest of the week.”

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2009 Irish Slalom Series 

August 15th and 16th saw the Irish Slalom Series travel to Co.Cork for Round 5 of what has been a fantastic year so far. With wind at every event this year Cork would prove no different. Saturday morning dawned with a fresh SW breeze.

The ISS team hit the road at 7am in search of the most suitable beach. With insufficient breeze in Coolmaine, the event was moved to GarryLucas. By 9am, local event organiser Pearse Geaney was kitting out the beach for the days racing.
 
With registration complete and the beach awash with colourful sails, competitors were summoned to the briefing. Many local sailors took the opportunity to enter there first event, while Gartan OEC’s John Boycee ensured Ireland’s top young sailors made the 9 hour trip from Downings.  Race officer, Greg Day explained the race course to the 51 strong fleet.

The gold fleet course was a 4 mark downwind course, while the silver fleet battled it out on a shorter course. The silver fleet aided by their gold fleet buddies kicked off the racing on the button at 11am.

Four back to back races were completed by both fleets in the morning session. The wind on the course varied from 12 to 18 knots. As a result the majority of the fleet were on their biggest kit. Local man Pearse Geaney took three bullets in the morning session. Notable performances were also seen from Maurice Owens, Fintan Day and Danny Mulryan. 

The short legs provided for some exciting action, with any mistakes resulting in quick punishment. Consistent gybes were a must for a top ten finish.  The silver fleet also saw some great racing. It was evident that certain members had been training hard since Downings.  Glen Worden led the silver fleet, however Paul Reid and Paul Green were hot on his heels.  Alison Beirne made her presence felt amongst the men by taking second place in race 4.

After a tough morning session on the water competitors were rewarded with tasty Cully & Sully soup and some tasty Ballymaloe relish topped bread. While competitors enjoyed the break, Greg was quickly back out on the water adjusting the course to the shifting breeze. Several more races were completed in the afternoon session. The inconsistent winds caused several races to be abandoned. Some new faces were seen at the top of the silver fleet notably Martin Savage, Kevin Cunningham and Dave Minton. The more challenging winds saw Hannes Louett and Tom Slomski take some great results in the gold fleet.

Saturday evening saw the crew gather in Hamlets of Kinsale. A tasty BBQ was enjoyed by all. As the nite progressed Kinsale lived up to its reputation for good food and great nightlife. Sailors were then escorted by event organiser Pearse, to his local nite club Bacchus, where dodgy dancing in flowery shirts continued into the wee hours.

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