Tight at top of International WASZP Games

Published on August 3rd, 2017

Campione, Italy (August 3, 2017) – The second day of the inaugural International WASZP Games was blessed by perfect sailing conditions as the afternoon Ora filled in bang on time at around 1400 hrs on Lake Garda.

The first race of the afternoon, race 4 of the Championship Series, was started around 1530 hrs in a light to moderate 12 to 14 knot breeze from the South. A three lap trapezoid course was set with the marks brought in a bit to create shorter laps.

The majority of the 53 strong fleet crowded the committee boat end of the start in order to get up on the foils as the start gun went. Several of the top sailors managed to reach down the line be-fore pushing the go button heading out into the middle of the lake. However, most headed back to the mountain shore line for the breeze that sucks up the Western shore.

Three Australians lead a close pack around lap 1, Harry Mighell from Sorrento in Victoria, followed by Kohei Kajimoto from Black Rock SC in Victoria, and Dean Souter from Port Kembla SC in NSW. Bruce Curson from Wakatere BC in New Zealand was well up with the front runners as was championship leader Reed Baldridge (USA).

There were many place changes mid fleet as the skill sets are so varied and also several private battles taking place between groups of WASZP’s from the same nation or club.

At the front end, Harry Mighell gradually broke away on lap 2 and 3 to score his first bullet of the championship by quite a margin from Kohei Kajimoto and Reed Baldridge taking places to finish in third. Joan Costa (ESP) sailed a great race for fourth and Bruce Curson an excellent fifth.

The breeze just perked up a notch to an ideal 15 knots for race 5, still from a similar direction but with enough of a swing to challenge the leaders on their first upwind strategy. At the start another crowded committee boat end got caught out by at least two port tack flyers, taking off from the pin and crossing the fleet to sail straight for the Western shore, where the greatest pressure gathers along the cliff face.

The starboard tackers on the start line reached down the line, started just before the pin, only to tack and port tack almost the same distance back again, ultimately losing out to the starters on port, even if they had to duck a number of transoms. One of the port tack starters, Dean Souter comfortably led lap 1, Reed Baldridge rounded the bottom mark in second but just dropped off the foils to allow Stefano Ferrighi of Italy through. The usual suspects, Kohei Kajimoto and Harry Mighell foiling past at good speeds.

On the final lap, Dean Souter held off a rapidly finishing Harry Mighell for the gun. A way back in third was Reed Baldridge with Kohei Kajimoto dropping to fourth. Stefano Ferrighi just squeezed over the finish line lowriding for fifth.

Race 6 was shortened to 2 laps as a number of the younger and older competitors started to find their energy sources running low. The WASZP is a technical boat and demanding to sail, but seriously good fun as Sara Winther, a former Olympic sailor from New Zealand explains.

“I got a WASZP primarily to learn the new skill of foiling and going fast and obviously it was single handed which made life pretty easy for me, and it is reasonably affordable, so I wanted to give it a whirl.

“The fleet is awesome in New Zealand, a bit similar to the fleet here, that was part of the attraction. I was guaranteed good racing and lots of people to learn from.

“Compared to the Laser Radial, it is quite a physical boat, it is the perfect boat for the Laser girls to move to a high performance foiling boat. I come from Lasers so I love the fact that it is one design.”

The breeze was still quite shifty across the course for the final race of the day. Another clear start and this time a number of port tackers try to duck sterns to copy the tactic employed by the winner of the last race. This time however Harry Mighell who started at the pin on starboard, played the shifts well to lead around lap 1 from Kohei Kajimoto, Reed Baldridge and Dean Souter (who went for the port tack start again).

The front three were never really challenged finishing in the same order, Dean Souter having a solid day with fourth and a close finish for fifth and sixth between Joan Costa from Club Vela Pelamos and Bruce Curson from Wakatere.

The WASZP fleet run a similar system to the Moth fleet racing. When there is a 3 lap race and a competitor is lapped, the lapped sailor finishes their current lap to get a finish place. This system, sometimes called the grand prix system, after its use in F1 motor racing, is particularly good for a regatta with a diverse mix of ages, skills and levels of sailing experience.

Some of the competitors at this inaugural WASZP Games are on in their teens and come directly from Optimists. One such competitor is Max Wallenburg from Switzerland who was Optimist World Champion in 2016 and a very promising future WASZP champion.

“I also sail a Nacra 15 competitively but this is my first regatta in a foiling monohull. To sail the WASZP you need to have a lot of technique, a lot of feeling, if you don’t have that basically you cannot foil.”

Max was only able to finish one race on day 1 of the championship due to a breakage but today he finished mid fleet and got a lot closer to some of the top riders.

The WASZP has two rigs to suit all ages and weights of sailor. Both rigs sail in the same fleet and are scored together. One of the Optimist sailors from the Foiling Norway group, 15 year old Nicolai Jacobsen, leads the smaller 6.9m rig group. Nicolai finished day 2 of the championship in 19th place overall.

With six races and a discard coming in to play, Harry Mighell has taken the lead with a good score of 1,2,1 for the day, to sit one point ahead of Reed Baldridge (USA) on 10 points and Kohei Kajimoto in third on 19 points.

The first of the young guns, Joan Costa, a 17 year old from Club Vela Pelamos, sits in a very impressive 4th place overall and Stefano Ferrighi from Italy slips two places to 5th. Kiwi Bruce Curson sailed a great day to move up into sixth overall and Stuart Appleby from Weymouth also moved up into the top 10.

The GPS Speed Challenge winner of the day was French Olympic sailor Pierre Leboucher with a peak speed of 21 knots.

The schedule for Friday is for some Slalom Racing in the morning followed by Championship Racing in the afternoon.

The schedule for the International WASZP Games extends from August 2 to 5.


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Source: Jonny Fullerton

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