Following yesterday's storms, today, the final day of the regatta, dawned flat calm, and stayed that way until past the point when it was possible to launch any racing. But given the effort all the young sailors have put in over 5 days in very mixed and at times testing conditions, they deserved a day off, even if they would have prefered to sail.
Big up to everyone, competitors, coaches, organisers, volunteers, race committee, jury and everyone else who made the effort to come, they have been rewarded with an excellent week, showcasing everything that is best about windsurfing and the Techno classes. Serious competition, great skills, close results, and a fantastic spirit among everyone present. No wonder it's one of the most dynamic classes in the sport today.
There’s not enough space to congratulate everyone individually, but our new champions, 2018 vintage, deserve a mention, as they make their journies home with their gold medals. So with no racing today, it's as-you-were from the overnight standings, meaning that Israel and Italy now have pretty much equal claim to the Techno crown.
Congratulations to our new Techno World Champions:
Mika Kafir, ISR Junior Female
Alessandro Graciotti, ITA Junior Male
Naama Greenberg, ISR Youth Female
Daniel Basik-Tashtash, ISR Youth Male
Giorgia Speciale, ITA Youth Plus Female
Nicolo Renna, ITA Youth Plus Male
Nene Sugimoto, JPN Open Plus Female
Yuta Iwasaki, JPN Open Plus Male
But mostly, well done to all the young sailors, you gave us a great week, winner or not. Have a fantastic sailing year, see you in Varkiza at the Europeans.
This was the last full day of racing in Liepaja, as the Race Committee wanted to run enough races today for all fleets to leave just 1 more race tomorrow to close the proceedings. Nerves were jangling, for the competitors because that meant an intense session that could decide everything, and for the Committee because the forecast was for thunder storms!
And with a window of just 3 hours between the last storm in the morning and the next forecast storm blowing in, they nearly pulled it off. In the ends the two Techno Plus fleets were called back in as the afternoon storm began to break. Otherwise, all went according to plan, leaving everything set for a grand finale and medals ceremony tomorrow, when we will crown the 2018 Techno293 World Champions.
As for who might win, it’s looking good if you’re from a country beginning with the letter “I”. In T293 OD, Israel is still dominating, with Mika Kafir (Junior Female), Naam Greenberg (Youth Female) and Daniel Basik TashTash (Youth Male, Gold Fleet) leading their classes for now, and Italy’s Alessandro Graciotti (Junior Male) preventing a clean sweep. But some of the classes are very tight, and even just one race could make a big difference tomorrow. It’s more clear cut in Techno Plus, where the Youth racers are also topping the leader boards in the Open class. Italy’s Nicolo Renna and Giorgia Speciale currently occupy top spots and it will take something special to dislodge them.
An incredibly enjoyable day for everyone today, with perfect side-shore conditions, peaking at about 20 knots during the morning session, then calming down to a steady 11 knots as the day’s full-on racing came to a conclusion.
Racing was split over two areas, both on an “M” course for the most part, and all the young competitors rose to the occasion and conditions, with some intense action on the slalom sections, always great sport in the right conditions.
There were 3 Techno Plus races today, and 2 for the other fleets. The rankings are taking shape and although there are only 2 days of racing left there are still lots of vital points to be won or lost. Israeli sailors still hold a lot of of the boss cards, but it was a good day for Italy, with Giorgia Speciale and Nicolo Renna standing on top step of the podium overnight in their respective classes, and for Britain’s Finn Hawkins, his 2 wins today jumping him up to 3rd in the Youth Male fleet.
It’s always interesting to hear someone else’s point of view, so check this interview with the national coach of Poland Maciej Dziemiańczuk:
“The place is a dream and today was warm and windy, tomorrow another great day in the forecast, what can you want more. The competitors are happy with the races today, there can always be mistakes, but today we can’t complain. Well, maybe except for the results, as our team was hoping for more and not all faces were smiling. We need to do more training on the Techno293Plus before heading off for the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires.”
Over 300 young competitors from all over the world have made the journey to Liepaja, Latvia, with entrants from as far afield as Japan, Peru, Oman, Hong Kong, Australia, Brazil, Singapore, Argentina, America and China, as well as a large number of European countries.
Competition has been continuous for 3 days now and the conditions have been near-perfect for racing, with 12 – 16 knot winds and bright sunshine sweeping across the wide sandy beaches of this Baltic coast. All the classes have seen action every day. We’re at the half-way stage of the regatta, and the leader boards are beginning to take shape. There’s been a strong showing by Israeli racers, who are dominating proceedings and are currently lying 1st in 6 of the 8 categories, with a provisional 1-2-3 in Junior Female, Junior Male and Youth Female! With over 80 entrants, the Youth Male class has been split into 2 fleets, Gold and Silver, with a final series started yesterday including the best ranked racers from both fleets. Only France’s Manon Pianazza (Youth Plus Female) and Hong Kong’s Tang Chi-Long (Youth Male – Silver Fleet) are preventing a clean-sweep of the gold medal positions for Israel at the competition’s mid point.
The wind forecast is good and it should be a fascinating 3 days of racing to come before the medals can be awarded and our 2018 Techno world champions crowned.
Meanwhile, this week sees the end of an era, with Italy’s Ezio Ferin standing down from the Techno International Committee after years of service to the cause, although he won’t be stepping aside completely, if anything, he’s making more time to get involved in other work closer to home. But he was there at the beginning, from the Aloha days that preceded the decision to switch to the Techno board, a decision which he identifies as having been crucial to establishing this class as the most dynamic in the whole of world-wide windsurfing. Thanks Ezio, from everyone involved in Techno, and good luck with your future projects.
The Championship got underway today in good winds of 15-18 knots. After yesterday’s test session and given the forecast the organisers decided to hold all the racing in one area, rather than two.
Racing was continuous, but the onshore conditions were challenging, for the competitors and for the race committee!
All the same, racing started early and carried on ‘til late, you never know what tomorrow might bring! 16 races were run across all the categories, so everyone saw some action during the day.
It was a great show, and a fantastic advert for everything that is best about windsurfing as a beach sport, for the crowd and for the competitors. (Isn’t that what the IOC are asking for from their sailing events?)
Big thanks to all the race committee, especially
- Race Director Janis Jekabsons
- Principal Race Officer Rui Raimundo from Portugal
Events like this cannot happen without full co-operation and effort of many volunteers… and the International team are exactly that, volunteers serving the sport they love. The Techno293 class has a team that is there to make every competitor’s experience the best it can possibly be. They aim to ensure “fair play” according to the rules of our sport. There will always be winners medals, but it’s not all about where you finished, it’s whether you enjoyed the experience. Enough to come back next year and try again?
Following on from the previous evenings fun-filled parade and opening ceremony 314 competitors faced challenging conditions for Sunday's practice race.
A thunderstorm delayed proceedings before the race committees could leave the harbour and set their courses.
Once it was time to call out the competitors from the beach the 15 knot onshore breeze had picked up and created a lot of waves for them to master before reaching their starting area.
Even on the start line the surfers needed to be wary of the odd “rogue” wave..!
Liepaja – “City where the wind is born” – did not disappoint all assembled on the shoreline