Like a Phoenix Rising from the Ashes

Published on May 1st, 2014

Hard to believe, but there was a time when windsurf course racing was dominated by Americans. When the event was first included in the 1984 Olympics, USA stood on the podium. But when windsurfing evolved toward surf and speed sailing, the focus on course racing in the country withered. Lacking a proper youth board, and with clubs focused more on “proper sailing”, not much has changed… until now.

The Junior Sailing Program at Miami Yacht Club used to offer the traditional Opti/420 programming but has been redesigned in recent years. “All the young kids in the program sail more than one class, in order to learn different sets of skills,” noted U.S. Olympic Youth Development Director Leandro Spina, who has been involved with the program. “As they develop their personal preferences, they are given opportunities to race at a higher level on high-performance classes.”

Among the classes offered is windsurfing, and the tree is starting to bear fruit.

The 2014 Techno T293 European Championships held April 20-27 on the majestic and windy Lake Garda in Italy attracted more than 300 athletes aged 13 to 16 years from 27 countries.

Now in its eighth year, this event saw the largest number of windsurfers in the history of the T293 European Championship, with sailors from the Ukraine to Israel to Algeria, from Singapore to Hong Kong, and all over Europe.

Slowly but surely, as the preferred class for youth keeps growing in numbers and in countries participating…so does the competitiveness of the Americans. For the first time, an American took a podium slot in this European championships. Geronimo Nores (USA) was second place in U15.

Five days of racing, with predominant strong winds on the range of 10-18+ knots, made their success much more enjoyable since the Miami sailors are more known for their light wind skills.

“We will have to keep working in all conditions for the Worlds in Brest” said Geronimo Nores. “In France we can expect any wind and rumors say there are more than 550 racers registered… And that will be an even bigger challenge.”

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