Just attended the IFCA Slalom Worlds at Sylt from the 7th till the 12th of May. We went for four full rounds and got one discard. I had a slow start as I had no training on Slalom gear for many months. My new sails just arrived two weeks before the event start. But got tuned in better and better longer the event was on. We had very nice conditions with wind in between 10 and 25 knots and relatively flat water to choppy and wavy North Sea conditions. A great mix of all in chilly conditions.
Landing out of space at the Slalom Worlds on Sylt. It needed a few days to find the racing rhytm (Pic: Kerstin Reiger).
I registered my brand new Reflex 4 in 9,2/8,6/ 7,8 and 7,0 plus my 2012 iSonics 117 wide and 107. The gear worked great and I was able to cover all conditions with the 42 rule. Good old days .It seems like the 8,6 is much more powerful compared to 2012 version and I can go in less wind as I lost a few kilos, too. A perfect sail for many board sizes. It works great on 117, 110, 107. For sure on 127, too.
Warm up day at Sylt at day 1 of the competition. On my 9,2 with 117wide. Carsten Naumann on the boat with the cam (Pic: Stevie Bootz/Choppy Water).
We saw the first 2 eliminations on day 2 and I definitely struggled a bit. In the first elimination I missed the top 16 very close. A slow start and no speed on the first leg caused a fifth place in round 2. In elimination 2 I went too big in round one, was third for a while, but then crashed at a mark.
On day 4 and five we saw two more rounds. I felt fast on 8,6 with 117 wide and qualified for the winners final in round 3. Was fighting for place 6, but lost ground at the last mark and finished 8th in this final. But was really cool to sail with the top guys in a final.
Round 4 started great despite I was extremely overpowered on 8,6 and 117 wide. A little cold front was on the course. I switched to 7,8 mand 107. That was a big fault. The wind dropped by 10 knots or more. I had no chance to change gear as the start was far outside on the ocean and I only was able to cruise over the course finishing in 6th. Not enough for the top 16. A disappointing moment, but that’s racing. I should have stayed on the big gear no matter how windy it is. The wind is so shifty and can change a lot at Sylt, when it’s blowing onshore. Within 5 minutes strong gusts can loose all the power and you need the 80 cm width underneath your feet combined with a big sail. I really don’t know why I didn’t stay with 8,6 as I was able to hold it in 25 knots still in the first round. Go big or go home. That’s definitely an important rule for Sylt!
In qualifying position for the final during the 3rd elimination (Pic: Stevie Bootz/Choppy Water).
But I definitely felt the fire again. My body was full of adrenalin. Wow, racing can be so much fun. It’s my 9th season now after I started with this discipline, when I turned into 30 a few years ago. After a long winter break I am extremely hungry for the upcoming season. I want to go faster and more aggressive at the starts and jibes again. This was just the first event and much can happen during the season. The new boards should arrive during this week and there are three more weeks left for intense training till the next event, the Croatian Slalom championships in Bol, Brac. I feel it’s easier for me to choose the right gear. I easily can go with 8,6 in the lighter wind, but can hold this size pretty long. Now I need to tune my 7,8 a bit more and test all my 460ty masts to select the ideal ones.
My plan is to register the iSonics 97/107 and 117 for the PWA tour as we will not race in real high wind conditions like we had in the past at Sotavento. What a pity that we will not see a racing event at Sotavento. But let’s check how the forecast for Costa Brava will look like. Perhaps we will get strong Tramontana like two years ago and I am going to register a small Slalom board, too!!
What’s the resume about Sylt: The IFCA Worlds gave me the chance to test the Reflex 4 sails and get some excellent training at starts and marks. It was definitely worth to travel there as the conditions were nice and the racecrew on the water tried everything to run races. On the second last day they tried to run heats at eight in the evening, but the wind died in the end. It was cool to race with all the young hotshots and the best German Cuppers. Really hope to do better at the next event on Sylt, the PWA final in the end of September.
Rough conditions for the boat crew this time. 7 degrees air, 10 degrees water. Was an ok start. (Pic: Stevie Bootz/Choppy Water).
The level was excellent. A lot of young guys are sailing fast and tactically very well! 34 year old Gunnar Asmussen from Flensburg, one of the most experienced slalom racers of the whole fleet, had impressive speed and the will to win. He deserves the title as he prepared several months in Western Australia training with Patrik Diethelm. Vincent Langer sailed very solid and showed great jibing. He challenged Gunnar a lot. Big congrats to Jordy Vonk, who impressed everyone taking the third place. He improved a lot during the winter months But many sailors improved a lot during the winter months. It doesn’t matter, if they are young or masters already. Sebastian Kornum, Maciek Rutkowski, Andrea Rosati, Casper Boumann, Jean Floch or Ethan Westera were sailing very well.
I finished 22nd overall, but was happy to qualify for one winners final. Have a look on the full result here! Big thanks to my girlfriend, who supported me very well at the beach despite the temperatures were really low and some squalls with massive rain went over the event site during the event. See you on the water!
Tuning my gear at the beach. Sylt was worth the trip !! (Pic: Kerstin Reiger).
© Stevie Bootz/Choppy Water, Kerstin Reiger 2013