Six race wins, four seconds and two thirds netted Antoine Albeau a 22 point lead at the end of the 2011 Puerto Rico Formula Windsurfing Championships and he retains the title of men’s Formula Windsurfing Champion.
Arnon Dagan, taking 3 bullets from 4 starts on the last day finally showed us the dominating speed he had whilst we were testing the week before the event. Arnon dragged back 2nd overall after today (his best result in a FW World Championships) knocking out the super consistent Gabriel Browne, who had a couple of 4th’s and a 7th on the final day to keep on the podium in 3rd overall.
Marion Lepert, USA-143, was first lady in 9 of the races and took top spot ahead of Morane Demont, FRA-59, pushing her hard with six race wins – so just three points in it. Ana Sofia Cardoso from Brazil took third place.
The organisers have done a great job here in Puerto Rico, definitely put on a great event and the conditions during the week were very conducive of great racing. Particular thanks to the locals who took that extra step to help out a lot of us sailors with all sorts of non-racing related requests we had too!
And to round off proceedings, a fabulous prizegiving ceremony in Old San Juan.
A big thank you to the main sponsors of the event – Municipio de San Juan, Ruerto Rico Tourism, Department of Recreation and Sports, and Corona . . .
. . . and thanks to some other sponsors – Ciclon Energy Drinks, JC Modeling, Hosteria del Mar, Kitesurf PR, Sambazon, Liquid Surf & Sail, and the WindsurfingTour.
DAY BY DAY RACE ROUND-UP
“This could be the closest fought world championships since the start of FW. Previous champions are determined to regain the crown from Antoine and all but one of the top 10 ranked sailors are here so the pressure is on! ”
Race 1 kicked off on the scheduled start of 2pm, the wind was around 22-25 knots with a viscous chop/swell running through the course over the various reefs. It picked up to around 27 knots for the second race dropping off a TINY bit for race three but still up to 25 knots in the gusts. The start line was port biased resulting in sickening crashes at each start – good for the spectators, if not for the competitors! After three races on day one, Antoine Albeau topped the leaderboard with two bullets and a third, Jesper Vesterstrom was second and Arnon Dagan, who took the second race, was third. However, it was anybody’s competition at this stage and once discards came into play the scoreboard could look very different – Paolo dos Reis came second in two of the races but was currently carrying a 12th for the first race.
Day two – at the 11.30am start time it was obvious it was going to be another windy day with more port starters, more crashes, a shortened course compared to yesterday with a starboard rounding top mark. During race 2 half way through the first lap a big dark rain cloud that had been looming over the course finally unleashed and pelted everyone with stinging rain, killing the visibility on the course and the wind dropped down to around 12-14 knots. By the afternoon’s third race the sun was back out and the wind was back up, everyone had figured out the reefs and the best way around the course so the racing was starting to get pretty tough. Big Brasilian Paulo Dos Reis took his first race win. And so the day ended with Antoine firmly established at the top after 7 races with Paolo dos Reis in second and Arnon Dagan in third.
No racing on day three because of the poor weather conditions. First start was delayed until 1.30 by which time there was a little wind building but also ominous storm clouds on the horizon fronted by a big squall. Time out for the competitors and an interesting AGM that evening.
Four races on day four and Antoine Albeau ended firmly in place at the top with a 16 point lead over his nearest rival, young Brazilian Gabriel Browne, who shot up into second place nudging Paolo dos Reis and Arnon Dagan into third and fourth respectively. Whilst the early forecast wasn’t particularly good, the 11.30am start brought lighter winds around 12-16 knots, and bright sun. A very good day for some – Young Gabriel Brown took the first bullet, Micah Buzianis took the bullet in race 9 – as the wind gradually built to around 18 knots creating a real spectacle from the beach with fast tactical racing, wipeouts and crashes…
…not such a good day for others – On the down side, Dennis Little had to be taken to hospital for a knee injury – on the lighter side: “I don’t really want to blame Arnon for taking the last of the milk this morning so I had to eat toast instead of the awesome Honey Oat Crunch cereal we bought, but something REALLY cursed me today; I safely managed to get all my 3 discards in one day. Blarrrghhhhh!!!” Sean O’Brien
4 races scheduled for the Final Day in winds around 10-12 knots for the first race but building up to 18 knots by the end of the day. Taking 3 bullets from 4 starts today Arnon Dagan finally showed us the dominating speed he had whilst we were testing the week before the event. Arnon dragged back 2nd overall after today (his best result in a FW World Championships) and knocking out the super consistent Gabriel Browne, who had a couple of 4th’s and a 7th today to keep on the podium in 3rd overall. Gonzalo, Steve and Jesper also had a solid day today, making up 5th, 6th and 7th overall with big man Paulo Dos Reis finishing ahead of them in 4th.