Day one in Costa Brava was an up and down affair, with a couple of heats run Sean O’Brien sent us this report from yesterday’s action.
After some deliberation with the Italians on whether to fly or drive to Costa Brava (flying = 60 euros, driving = 200 euros each way) I was convinced by Alberto Menegatti – who wanted to bring eight booms, five boards, doubles of every sail and close to one million fins that it would be better to drive the 11 hours from Lake Garda down to Costa Brava, a decision I don’t actually regret. Never obeying speed limits we navigated the amazing seaside drive along the south coast of France and Spain arriving in under 10 hours making some pit stops in Monaco and Cannes. The weather was nice all through the drive and arriving Monday morning in Costa Brava we had the afternoon free to rig and sticker our sails and have a quick blast to tuneup in the onshore winds of southern Spain.
So far, the general consensus here is to FORGET THE FORECAST. 9-13 knots was predicted for the warmup day on Monday but most of us rigged 7.0 down to 6.3 for an afternoon of +25 knot bumpy conditions on the medium and small boards! Having never been to Costa Brava before I was impressed with the event layout; setting up our ‘jersey shore’ bungalow right next to the race site with Kurosh Kiani, Ross Williams and Gonzalo Costa-Hoevel complete with ADSL internet (nice one!) and a modern kitchen for when we finally get over eating at the restaurant next door.
After a late storm (with gusts up to 55 knots) on Monday evening everyone had stickered sails down to 5.5m and were set for an early night with racing kicking off this morning on a hot and sunny Tuesday. All the regular PWA guns are here, including a few new faces from Spain and the inclusion of some formula guns from Holland, Dennis Littel and Casper Bouman, making a classy fleet of 64 sailors for this 3rd World Cup contest of 2012.
With another forecast of 9-13 knots today all of us were thinking it could blow ‘anything’ however the wind stayed true to the forecast and by 2pm we were straight in to Heat 1 with most of us on the big rigs and me trying the new ‘rage’ on the tour (if you’re on Severne sails) which is to use the insanely wide formula boom from Severne as a slalom boom on the big sails, giving you a very different stance on the board and much more power.
Round 1 started with the usual suspects qualifying ,with Josh Angulo taking Heat 1, Dunkerbeck cruising through Heat 2 and Pierre Montefon easily taking Heat 3. The wind was DEAD ONSHORE making it very difficult to get upwind to the startline and also creating some tight lines through the marks where if you gybed wide, you might not even make it to the next mark unless you were running a Dunkerbeck 50cm fin! Gonzalo was the first major casualty from the jersey-shore hut, crashing hard with Peter Bijl at the first mark and missing out on the quarter finals. I soon learned Kurosh suffered the same fate in his Heat 1. Ross suffered another crash leading Heat 5 but somehow managed to recover in to fourth with some very smooth gybing and tactics.
My heat had a few over earlies before we settled in and I had a cracking start leading to the first mark before Antoine Albeau pipped me inside to gybe first. I was later run over by Arnon Dagan but easily hung on to my 3rd place to qualify for the next round ahead of Patrik Diethelm.
With the water fairly cold but the sun on the beach blazing super hot, most of us sailed in boardshorts, however shortly in to the start of the quarter finals, after Dunkerbeck had easily slaughtered the field in Heat 9, the wind shifted and shifted and shifted till it was almost side-shore and then dropped, leaving most of us out on the water barely a puff to make it back to the beach and the temperatures dropping down to long-leg wetsuit weather! As always in PWA event style, we were kept on stand-by TO THE DEATH (2 hours later) despite the wind never rising above 5 knots for the remainder of the afternoon. So, as it stands after Day 1, we have only one quarter final run and will kick start tomorrow at 9.30am for Heat 10 and it was back to the jersey shore hut for some coffee and a chance to watch the Czech’s BARELY scrape in against Greece with their 2-1 win in the Euro 2012 Championship.
Tune in same time tomorrow for more of the action.