2009 PWA Catalunya, Day Two 

Once again the day dawned quiet and tranquil here on the magnificent Allegre Ballena campsite. However the morning calm was quickly replaced by a stiff southwest wind, giving testing side shore racing conditions. With gusts up to 20kts and lulls at around the 10kts mark it proved difficult even for the world's best.
 
Early round highlights and upsets

Race 1 continued as expected, with all of the top 20 seeds passing through to the quarterfinals without any troubles. Perhaps the only real surprise was Gabriel Browne (Starboard/MauiSails). Suffering with the flu his concentration was clearly absent and he crossed the start line early, leaving him in bolt last position.
 
By the quarterfinals, things were heating up. Heat 9 saw number three seed Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet/MauiSails) jump the gun, ending his run at a very early stage. A hot tip after his performance in Austria, Julien Quentel (RRD/NeilPryde), also saw his race end in the quarters, after taking the fateful 5th position of heat 10.
 
Heat 11 saw one of the favorites for the event Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra) blow up down the reach as his outhaul rope exploded. He was left swimming and was forced to watch his rivals disappear without him. Heat 12 almost witnessed the biggest upset of the day as World Champion Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) missed the boom coming out of the gybe. Using all his strength he muscled the sail upright and continued into the semi-final.

Read more...

2009 PWA Catalunya, Day One

The first day of the Catalunya Costa Brava PWA World Cup saw a relaxed start as light morning winds allowed competitors time to prepare for the week ahead. With a skippers meeting at 1pm and a first possible start at 2pm, the race crew were ready and waiting for the sea breeze to kick in.
On cue at around 2pm a light 10-15kt thermal wind switched on, giving the PWA elite their first chance to test the waters. The spectators were treated to an incredible show as the worlds best hit the ocean and went head to head to check their speed.

With the course set for a four-gybe downwind slalom, the red flag went up for the first at 2.50 and the first 8 sailors hit the start line at full speed.
From the outset it looked like the major players meant business, with the top four seeds of heat one easily qualifying for the first quarterfinal. Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) continued where he left off in Korea, taking the win, despite still suffering with a chipped metatarsal. Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra), loving the light winds, was right on his tail in 2nd. Interestingly Ross registered one of the smallest sails of anyone (8.4) as his biggest sail. Benoit Moussilmani (Starboard/Simmer Sails) and Arnon Dagan (Tabou/Gaastra) both fought hard to claim the final two qualifying positions.

Heat two saw the biggest surprise of the day as French racer Damien Le Guen (JP/NeilPryde) shot into the lead ahead of one of the event favorites Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet/MauiSails). Damien is a light wind specialist and took advantage winning the heat and staking his place in the next round. Gonzo finished just behind in 2nd, like Ross opting for a smaller 8.4 sail to give him a higher top speed. Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde) took the 3rd place whilst Ertugrul Icingir (Starboard/NeilPryde) of Turkey claimed the final qualifying place.

Read more...

Keith Atkinson

153 sailors turned out to race last weekend 6th & 7th June for Round Two of The UKWA Inland National Championships & The Rya National Junior Championships 2009 and the Rutland Marathon at Whitwell, Rutland Water.

With all eyes on a less than promising weather forecast the competitors made themselves at home at one of the most popular venues used by the UKWA and RYA. The forecast was giving a maximum of 10 knots for the weekend rain and more rain.

Saturday greeted competitors with overcast skies and a light chilly breeze, however as the time to race approached the wind began to fill in and all fleets went afloat. On the main course the race officer ran 2 rounds of racing for all fleets in the morning session. After lunch as the wind built a further two rounds of extremely exciting course racing for all fleets (techno one) with the wind building to 23 knots made the forecast look a little foolish.

On the junior course race officer Mike Roberts had 48 juniors racing to become 3.5, 4.5 & 5.5 National Champions for 2009. Mike ran two races before lunch and a further 2 races in the afternoon session. The juniors raced is a more sheltered area of the lake but still experienced challenging conditions, it was to the credit of their ability that so many finished the course still smiling and enjoying their racing.

At approximately 4.30pm the 2009 Rutland marathon began with all fleets including the junior sailors starting together. It was decided to sail the course clockwise so competitors began by racing towards the dam wall. With the wind gusting between 10 and 20 knots several competitors retired but the vast majority battled around the course in good time, with the winner finishing in 44 minutes.

1st Keith Atkinson(formula)
2nd Tim Gibson (formula)
3rd George Bowles (RS:X)

Read more...