Report from Sean O’Brien after the registration day in Turkey…
This year’s Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup in Alacati, Turkey is at a much later date in August this year, starting on the 27th which is outside of the Turkish holiday period and nearing the end of Ramadan, which might be a bit easier on our Muslim sailors in the fleet J
The date change also meant the racing started with only one day’s gap between the Formula Windsurfing World Championships which were in Liepaja, Latvia, with nie people in the fleet competing in both. I had the easiest flight of all, driving three hours to Riga, Latvia and taking my flight to Turkey with Micah Buzianis, but newly crowned FW World Champion Ross Williams, had a flight booked from Liepzig, Germany which is around a 16 hour drive from Latvia, at 12pm the next day. So, no celebrations for Ross as he literally had to take his big novelty cheque and trophy, jump in to the van with his girl and drive with ZERO STOPS straight to the airport. The rest of the Polish sailors flew from Warsaw and Berlin, suckers for long distance drives after events. All of us arrived on the same connection in Izmir at midnight, ready for our two hour drive to the event site the night before racing started…urgghh.
On the plane from Istanbul to Izmir with Micah, I heard the most ridiculous story from his American teammate, Josh Angulo. Josh had been tuning up in Turkey a week early, but on arrival at the event site realised that he had left his entire bag of fins at home in Boston, USA. Ouch! So Josh made the brutal decision to fly home and get the fins, and if you’ve ever tried to get from Turkey to the USA, you will know that it’s a freaking BRUTAL list of connections. First, from Izmir to Istanbul, then to Frankfurt in Germany, Josh decided to hammer a few sleeping aids in the lounge waiting for his next flight, only to peak too soon and fall asleep in a chair at the gate, waking up to an empty gate with the plane ALREADY HAVING LEFT. Uh-oh!! Eventually he was able to find another connection, land in Boston, take the fin bag and check straight back in after only touching down for less than an hour to start the brutal flight back to Turkey ONCE AGAIN.
Luckily for Josh, and the sailors competing at the FW Worlds who arrived so late, we had a full day of sitting around here in Alacati, not a breath of wind all day! The event site this year has stepped up another level. It’s an amazing array of tents with beautiful grass for rigging then an entertainment area with two stages, a plethora of beanbags under umbrellas, cafes, food stalls, DJ booths, bars, beer taps and rows upon rows of Pegasus Airlines paraphernalia. Wind or no wind, the sailors had a great day as this is an event that’s entertaining both on and off the water, with perfect sun and warm temperatures for the entire day.
There seems to be a larger women’s fleet than I’ve ever seen, which is super encouraging, and in the men’s we have the full quota of 64. Bjorn Dunkberbeck sealed his 2011 World Title with the event win here in Turkey, so he’ll be looking to do well at this event once again. We have another radical forecast of possibly over 30 knots in the next two days, which is unusual for this location despite the fact we had a radical 35 knot day last year here in Alacati.
I don’t have my small board however I’ve got sails down to 6.3m so I’m ready for some radical winds, as those who watched me trash a 10m rig in 30 knots and 3m breaking waves in Latvia last week will attest to – I don’t mind the strong winds so much !!
This year the event will be live-streamed with Ben Proffitt, the fantastic, on the microphones during the week. I will try to jump on if there’s an opportunity as well just to mix up the accents a little. Stay tuned for the first day of ‘actual’ racing!