WASZP passes test on San Francisco Bay
Published on March 21st, 2022
The first ever WASZP Americas Championship was held March 17-20 in Richmond, CA. Thirty-one competitors from seven countries took to the iconic San Francisco Bay for windward-leeward and slalom courses in which JP Lattanzi won the 11-race series.
The Slalom event began on the first day, with this innovative format consisting of a solely downwind race in a knockout format. Every sailor was guaranteed at least three races, with the final of the three forming the start of the knockout stages. As the day went on, the breeze stiffened and the sea state picked up, which had even the most experienced sailors fighting to keep their boats under control.
After a lot of sketchy gybes and a few accidental swims, Reed Baldridge emerged the champion of the downwind course from a grand final of 10 sailors. The furthest traveled sailor of the competition, Nick Zeltner of Switzerland, took second place, whilst local WASZP sailor Hoel Menard took third. Massive respect was earned by all of the sailors that sent it at full throttle in the notorious San Francisco chop.
Following the Slalom, competitors had the unique chance to head over to the SailGP tech site ahead of the SailGP Grand Final in San Francisco on March 26-27. Skipper of the French team, Quentin Delapierre, welcomed the WASZP fleet onto the French F50 for an in-depth tour of the boat.
Some of the youngsters in the fleet had their sights set on the SailGP Inspire Grand Final, also taking place alongside the SailGP Season 2 final event. Jaime Framis Harguindey (ESP) and Zac Blomeley (GBR) won their respective home SailGP events and were racing in the Americas in the lead up to Inspire.
The under 21 sailors to represent the USA in the Inspire final were to be decided from the results of the Americas, and Delapierre helped the sailors realize what could be at stake for those hoping to get their foot in the door at the world’s leading professional sailing circuit.
SailGP’s first Inspire WASZP Grand Final – Championship of Champions, will see the top under 21s from around the world (male and female) compete for the overall season podium on March 26-27.
The Americas championship title was decided from three days of classic windward-leeward racing on March 18-20. Weather forecasts and locals regularly disagreed on what they thought might happen with the wind at this very particular venue, but when it was time to hit the water, the sailors received near perfect foiling conditions on the Bay.
Nick Zeltner (SUI), Jaime Framis Harguindey (ESP), Reed Baldridge (USA), and JP Lattanzi (USA) all showed great form in the early stages to position themselves firmly in contention. However, the second and third day of racing saw slightly patchier conditions that punished sailors who dropped off the foils.
Baldridge began to suffer with inconsistency, making it a three-horse race on the final day between the Swiss, Spanish, and Hawaiian sailors aged 20, 19, and 17 respectively. Lattanzi and Zeltner were tied, with Framis Harguindey two points behind. Lattanzi had the best discards so far, so was the mathematical favorite.
Three races were sailed on the final day. The standout performer of the day was Gavin Ball from Hawaii, who scored a second and a first in the final two races to pull himself up to the podium for the Americas sailors. Ross Banham from the UK did enough to sneak ahead of Reed Baldridge to take fourth in the open event.
Zeltner and Framis Harguindey put in impressive performances to keep their title hopes alive, but in the end JP Lattanzi couldn’t be shaken. The 17-year-old continued to score consistent results at the top of the fleet to seal the win in world-class fashion.
The Hawaiians showed what they can do thanks to their hard work and tight training group and JP Lattanzi has sailed himself into the spotlight as one of the USA’s future sailing stars.
JP qualifies for the SailGP Inspire Grand Final in San Francisco alongside his sister Pearl. In 2021, the Lattanzis’ teammate CJ Perez, also a Hawaiian WASZP sailor, earned her spot on the SailGP USA senior team racing on the F50, so the Lattanzi siblings know exactly what is achievable if they show their best performances on the water this week.
The first ever WASZP Americas was a stand-out success in the international calendar and is now set as a foundation for the class to grow in the USA, Canada, and South America. WASZP is delivering the best and most accessible foiling racing for all ages and abilities in the world and is committing to bringing even more events to the Americas in the future.
Source: Marc Ablett, KA Sail