Competition/RSX Youth Worlds 14
New RS:X Youth World Champions!
Emma Wilson from the UK and Radoslaw Furmanski from Poland both won their Medal Race and also the RS:X Youth World Champion's title at the 2014 RS:X Youth World Championships at Clearwater, Florida, USA!
2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater: Going Out With a Bang!
With standings so tight at the beginning of the day, all eyes were on the medal races today at the 2014 RS:X Youth World Championships in Clearwater, Florida! Saturday on Clearwater Beach is always a busy day, and the combination of bright sunshine, strong breeze and world-class windsurfing action brought upwards of 20,000 people to the beach for the conclusion of the event.
While the medal racers stayed behind to get their equipment inspected and deal with the pressure of the situation, a solid 14 kts breeze kicked up from the North and the rest of the fleet launched to get one last race in. Sil Hoekstra (NED) weaved his way through the fleet on port tack, headed straight to the beach in the 3 ft chop that many competitors have found so confounding all week, hit the layline perfectly and took the men's race in style.
In the women's last race, Maelle Guilbaud (FRA) did the same thing and headed straight for the beach, as did Shahar Tibi (ISR). They rounded the first weather mark in the lead but were caught in the second lap by Patrycja Lis (POL), who showed why she's always a force to be reckoned with in the heavier breeze.
Once all competitors were back ashore after the morning race, the international jury and class measurer hopped on chase boats to get ready to officiate on the water, the race committee switched the course from a trapezoid to a windward leeward course with a slalom finish, and the top ten men and women launched one last time this week from the Baystar Race Village on the beach.
The women started first, with four of them having a clear shot at the title, and it was Emma Wilson who showed poise beyond her years. After a good start she was the only one to hit the starboard layline, went full throttle and was gone. "When I got to the top mark," she said, "I looked back and everyone was gone. I thought I had done something wrong! I don't even know how I did it, I'm so happy!" Imogen Sills finished second, making it an impressive 1-2 for the British squad in the race. Berenice Mege from France finished three spots ahead of reigning World Champion Marta Maggetti to take the silver medal, with Maggetti hanging on to third place to make it onto the podium for the second year in a row. The most disappointed of the group was Ma Kwan Ching, who was in control of the event early on in the week, and lost out on the podium with her performance in the medal race. But there's plenty of positives for the young woman from Hong Kong to take away from this week. We're going to see her name in the limelight many more times in the future.
With the women back ashore and celebrating, the men took to the race course, and the battle was on from the start between Mattia Camboni (ITA) and Radoslaw Furmanski (POL). The title was to be decided between those two, and with no one else within striking distance on the leaderboard, we could have excused them if they had let the others escape and focused their attention on match racing each other. But that was clearly not their intention, and the battle today took place at the front. The deciding moment in the race appears to have been at the bottom mark. "I was leading but didn't see the mark with the sun in my face, so I gybed too late," said Camboni. "Radoslaw gybed inside and stayed in control from that point on. I'm a little disappointed because I'm losing by 1 point in the end, but Radoslaw raced very well and deserves the win. "I'm very happy," said Furmanski directly after the race, "because this year I also won the European Championships, and now I'm a World Champion!" Toni Bonet (ESP) had a solid medal race after a consistent week of racing in Clearwater and rounds up the men's podium.
This event owes big to the City of Clearwater. The organizers, Tampa Bay Charities and US Windsurfing, want to extend a big thank you to Mayor George Cretekos for opening all the doors and being such a good sport at the opening and closing ceremonies; to the dedicated staff and volunteers at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, the Clearwater Yacht Club and the Dunedin Boat Club; to the Neil Pryde Group and the International RS:X Class for believing in Clearwater's ability to organize these championships at a moment's notice; and of course to all the enthusiastic sponsors and supporters without whom an event of this magnitude would simply not take place.
"This is the best event we've ever been to," said competitor Adrien Mestre from France. "Thank you to all the organizers. We're going to remember it forever."
Day 4 Whooping and Hollering
Day 4 at the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater, Florida, and the sound of the day was that of racers whooping and hollering past the race committee boats (two imposing 44-ft power catamarans provided by event sponsor MarineMax) in a breeze that high-wind specialists had been waiting for all week.
After a first race in oscillating 8-12 kts side-off conditions, the wind filled in from the north: a solid cross-shore 12-15 kts breeze greeted the competitors for the second race of the day, before kicking up one more notch to a solid 16-18 kts for the third race. The action was once again set up close enough to shore for spectators to enjoy the show from the beach and Pier 60: gutsy starts, fast racing, spectacular wipe-outs, we had it all on Day 4!
Defending champion Mattia Camboni (ITA) and Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) traded race wins today and separated themselves from the rest of the men's fleet. "It was great today," said Camboni, "Radoslaw won the first two races and I won the last one, and at the end of the day I'm one point ahead in the overall. It's going to be all to play for in the medal race!"
Indeed, nobody else is within striking distance of those two at this point in the championships, and you can count on some serious match racing in the medal race tomorrow. Toni Bonet from Spain doesn't quite have bronze sewed up yet, and will have to look over his shoulder as Frenchman Oel Pouliquen still has a chance to climb on the podium if he wins the medal race.
Things are even tighter in the women's fleet: while the race wins today went to Hadar Heller (ISR), Imogen Sills (GBR) and Shahar Tibi (ISR), young Emma Wilson from Great Britain impressed with steady racing in the building breeze and now stands on top of the podium entering the Medal race. Her lead is razor thin though, and she's going to have to fight for it on Saturday: Marta Maggetti (ITA), Ma Kwan Ching (HKG) and Berenice Mege (FRA) are all within 4 points!
The rest of the fleets will enjoy a final race tomorrow morning, come back ashore and line up on the pier to cheer on their friends in what promises to be an exciting medal race for both men and women!
The Organizing Authority continued to treat competitors to first-class dinner, this time at the Clearwater Community Sailing Center (courtesy of event sponsor Bright House Networks), before everyone rushed back to Pier 60 for a fireworks show (sponsored by Pier 60 Concessions).
Shake up at the top on Day 3 of the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds
Fully recharged thanks to the lay day yesterday, all competitors were eager to enter the final stretch of the competition in Clearwater, and the planing conditions in the forecast certainly contributed to the excitement on the beach. With cooler temperatures this morning came a 10-14 kts side-off breeze (don't panic, cooler temperatures means 16C this time of year in Florida!) and the race committee wasted no time to set the course for the first race of the day. The windward mark for the inner loop of the course was set barely 200 yards from the tip of Pier 60, allowing spectators to enjoy the mark rounding action up close and personal.
It was Frenchman Clement Guevel who took charge in the first race of the day before letting a couple of competitors slip past him at the finish. The French team found extra motivation today in the early departure of their teammate Clement 'Boubou' Bourgeois, who cut his foot during rest day yesterday and had to be flown back to France before the conclusion of the championships. That would be a big disappointment for any racer this week, but it was especially hard to take because Clement was standing in 3rd position this morning.
"Very good day for me today," wrote French teammate Berenice Mege. "The wind was shifty and patchy and I was able to figure it out. The top step on the podium is really close. I want to climb up there for 'Boubou'. Her sentiment was echoed by her teammate Adrien Mestre, who joked that he wouldn't make a push to the front out of respect for his wounded teammate, before promising that he would in fact fight 'til the very end in his honour.
The race committee moved briskly to run two more races in very technical conditions. Those able to stay alert, read the current and find the patches of wind on the course were richly rewarded.
Besides the early departure of Clement Bourgeois due to injury, there was another factor that contributed to the shake-up at the top of the men's leaderboard: Radoslaw Furmanski (POL) and Mattia Camboni (ITA) were granted redress for an OCS, along with four other competitors. Camboni moved straight to the top of the rankings as a result, while Furmanski stepped up to 3rd. Overnight leader Toni Bonet (ESP) lost the lead but is only 1 point behind Camboni tonight.
While Berenice Mege (FRA) had the best combined score for the 3 races contested today in the women's fleet, overnight leader Ma Kwan Ching (HKG) had very steady results and padded her lead a little over Marta Maggetti (ITA). With Mege, Wilson (GBR) and Czurylo (POL) all within a few points of the lead, it's still all to play for.
Tonight's dinner party was at Crabby Bill's, a laid-back and colourful restaurant located directly across from the venue on Clearwater Beach. All competitors had a nice meal and headed in early: three more races are scheduled for tomorrow!
RSX Youth Worlds Clearwater - Full Schedule at the end of Day Two
After two days of intense racing at the 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds in Clearwater, both fleets have completed a full schedule of 6 light-wind races, and they've earned their lay day!
Very light and shifty winds were forecast for the day, and it was a nice surprise to see a 7 kt side-off breeze fill in early from the North. After a short postponement on shore to make sure the wind was steady, all racers were called to the water for what turned out to be three races in a row for both fleets, around the same tried-and-true trapezoid course used the day before.
"It was much steadier than yesterday," said Ricardo Enrique Perez Gio from Mexico. "It was still very hard, but I enjoyed it more."
The breeze eventually turned to side-on, but the race committee was on top of it and by 3pm, all racers were back to shore licking their wounds, counting their blessings, and looking forward to a great dinner party.
After the jitters of opening day and most likely a word or two from their coaches, racers were much more disciplined on the start line today, with no OCS in the three races of the day in either fleet. "I saw people being extra careful on the start line today," observed Mateo Salles. "We all added five seconds to the countdown!"
Even with conservative starts, the leaders worked hard all the way around the course. "These guys are really good," added Mateo's teammate Federico Vega. "I'm learning a lot on every race."
With one discard in play already, Angel Granda Roque (ESP) and Mattia Camboni (ITA) made major gains in the men's rankings: from 37th to 12th overall for Mattia and from 27th all the way to 5th for Angel. But Toni Bonet (ESP) has increased his lead with very steady racing and a bullet to end the day.
On the women's side, French teammates Berenice Mege and Delphine Jariel showed their talent, with two bullets for Berenice vaulting her from 17th to 5th, and Delphine's steady finishes allowing her to climb from 14th to 7th. Ma Kwan Ching (HKG) still leads the proceedings, but 2013 World Champion Marta Maggetti (ITA) has closed the gap, and Emma Wilson (GBR) is well positioned with the lowest discard among all the girls in the fleet.
The day ended in style, with trolleys picking up hungry sailors at the beach venue for a drive down the shoreline to local favorite restaurant Salt Rock Grill. A great opportunity for all to meet one of the Championships' major sponsors, the Baystar Restaurant Group, and refuel after two long days on the water.
Race organizers are keeping an eye on a tropical depression brewing in the Bay of Campeche. Winds are expected to pick up when racing resumes on Thursday. But not before some much-needed R&R!
Top 3 Men after 6 races:
Top 3 Women after 6 races:
Hard Work on Day One at the RS:X Youth Worlds
The 2014 RS:X Youth Worlds kicked off on October 20th in Clearwater, USA, and it was hard work from the start: in 5-6 kt of breeze, offshore to start the day and side-on to close it, pumping was in order for the 54 boys and 28 girls gathered here for the 2014 RS:X Youth World Windsurfing Championships.
Races started on the dot at 11am in offshore conditions, with the knowledgeable race committee opting for a trapezoid course to keep the two fleets well clear of one another. After a long break ashore to recover from the morning workout, and to give the afternoon side-on breeze a chance to settle, the fleets were called back for two more races. Racing in those pumping conditions is very technical. It's also a real test of a sailor's stamina and psychological endurance, and the hot Florida weather can be the straw that literally breaks the Camelbak!
'It was very hard out there for me today,' said Brenno Francioli from Brasil. 'I'm better in high winds, but it was a good day. We should have higher winds later this week. I can't wait!' Brenno currently sits in 29th place.
The boys are racing as one fleet, and errors on the start line are costly. With six boys OCS (early over the start line) in the first race, eight in the second race and six again in the third, and a few boys scored OCS more than once already, there'll be plenty of catching up to do the rest of the week. One of those affected is Mattia Camboni, the 2013 Youth World Champion, who scored one, OCS, OCS for the three races of the day and will have no option but to race aggressively the rest of the way if the provisional results hold. Toni Bonet from Spain was incredibly regular and leads the Men's fleet by 10 points over Frenchmen Clement Bourgeois and Oel Pouliquen, but the discard is likely to make the contest much closer once it gets into play. On the women's side, Ma Kwan Ching from Hong Kong came out swinging in the afternoon with two bullets. Behind Ma Kwan Ching, Sara Wennekes (NED), Noy Drihan (ISR) and Emma Wilson (GBR) are lurking, but here too the discard will bring many more racers closer to the front.
The competitors this week have a venue unlike any other: the Baystar Race Village is set up directly on the sugar-white sand of Clearwater Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in America. A big tent provides well-needed shelter from the sun, overnight storage for the equipment, and a corridor has been set up from the tent to the limits of the 300 ft zone to allow everyone to launch and land without obstacles. Wind conditions today didn't allow for racing very close to shore, but that didn't stop regular beach-goers from lining up the boundaries of that corridor to watch the competitors up close. They took pictures, asked questions, waved flags and cheered for their favourite countries.
Planting an enormous Race Village smack in the middle of a touristic beach is a logistical challenge for sure, but it creates real excitement for everyone: for the racers who get to spend a day at the beach, for the spectators who get introduced or re-introduced to the sport, and for the local community that gets to promote its incredible natural assets and the can-do attitude of its leaders.
'It's a throwback to the early days of windsurfing,' said Jerome Samson, President of US Windsurfing. 'Most sailing events are run out of yacht clubs, and for very good reasons, but it's often at the expense of visibility. One thing we can say with certainty is that our venue this week is very visible!'
Racing continues Tuesday Oct 21 through Saturday Oct 25.
This event would not be possible without the energy and passion of Frank Chivas and Tampa Bay Charities, the city of Clearwater, the Clearwater Community Sailing Center, the St. Petersburg/Clearwater Sports Commission, the Clearwater Yacht Club and many more generous sponsors.
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