Category Archives: Competition
The PWA just released new rules for the 2013 season in Slalom Racing. Most of the changes are the results of difficulties the sailors or the race crew experienced through out the last season. 10 new rules got added. And if you plan to sail too hard, it can get fairly expensive. Have a look at rule 10. Will be interesting to see how the rules will be executed and if they will influence the idea of “no rules” on the race course. We will have 6 Worldcup Slaloms with a lot of new heats, which will show, if these rules will result any improvements…
It will be interesting, how an offence is judged by the Race commitee and what’s an offence, which has a value of 250 $. A broken sail, a broken board, damaged skin or broken bones..
All in all these new rules make sense to me and hopefully don’t limit the “No Rules” idea, which helped the sport to get more free . There were just a few delays through little discussions sometimes, but big protests by riders were abolished.
Most of these new rules have organizational character and don’t influence the style of sailing at the race course. Still everyone is allowed to choose the best personal line towards the startline, attack hard but fair at the marks and cover or push down direct opponents. But looks like fairness gets a higher value.
I would like to see a rule which guarantees fair wind along the full starting line and all over the triangle towards the first mark. If you choose for instance a boat start tactics and the wind totally drops in the upwind section of the line and on the following upwind section of the first reach, the race crew should take that fact in consideration. I personally found it really hard at Fuerte last year, when the wind suddenly dropped on the first reach a lot.
Out of my view it can be really tough as well, when the wind suddenly picks up by 10 knots and you are on the wrong gear completely overpowered. There should be a chance to change kit, like an extra time extension. But you should have prepared your gear already at the beach.
1. Race Directors will be advised to take notice of significant amounts of debris in the water. Small natural debris, such as seaweed, should not be considered significant, but if there are frequent, large items of human debris, such as furniture or similar, the Race Director should consider whether it is safe to race. This does not necessarily mean that races will be abandoned or postponed, unless debris is considered to be an unavoidable risk to safety.
2. Heats shall not be cancelled due to wake created by boats coming through the course. If the boat is physically in the way of sailors forcing them to change course, then the heat may be abandoned, but if it is just the wake of the boat on the water then the heat will not be cancelled.
3. If the wind drops below 7 knots when the sailors are nowhere near then the heat should not be abandoned.
4. Once everyone has crossed the finish line then the heat cannot be abandoned.
5. Heats cannot be cancelled due to wind strength unless:
i. Wind drops below 7 knots where it is measured whilst sailors are nearby
ii. At least 6 sailors out of 8 stop planning for at least 10 seconds.
6. Sailors will be instructed to stay clear of the starting area and must remain upwind of start boat during a running sequence unless competing in that heat. Sailors who are judged to be interfering or potentially causing a genuine distraction at the start by being in the vicinity of the starting fleet may be disqualified.
7. No changes to will be made to the course between the Start Boat, Start Mark and Gybe 1, after the red flag.
8. Race Directors will be instructed to use more varied courses where possible. Sailors are invited to suggest course ideas and a selection of suitable courses shall be chosen by a subcommittee of Racers / Sailor Reps.
9. Where possible, more regular equipment measurement checks will be performed to try and ensure that equipment registration rules are being adhered to.
10. If racing incidents are proven or judged to be dangerous sailing by the Race Committee, the competitors judged to have acted dangerously will be penalised by the following hierarchy of penalties at each event:
i. 1st offence = €250 fine
ii. 2nd offence = €250 fine plus DSQ from that race
iii. 3rd offence = €250 fine plus DSQ from the event
© PWA Worldtour 2013
It was one of the most exciting and windy Sylt finals since I participated in the event at the North Sea for the first time in 2005. It was the 8th time competing on the island, where Jürgen Hönscheid, the former German waveking, grew up and where more than 10.000 spectators show up every year.
It´s great to compete there, even to rig a sail as people show up, talk to you, ask for signatures, analyse your results. That´s definitely an event, where the contact to fans and other windsurfers is quite high.
And in between all this positive vibes I made a big fault in my first race. I was placed in a good third position after the final mark. Antoine Albeau was behind me as he crashed very hard on the third leg. Looked like he hit anything in the water. Andrea Rosati and Ludo Jossin passed the last mark on the left hand side. I almost was over the finish line, but was convinced that both of them went on the wrong side. I had the words from the skippersmeeting in my mind: “You must jibe around the last mark .” And that was what I did.
And that was wrong. The racecrew decided to change the course, while I was out on the water getting ready, testing a new fin and prepare on the water for my start. Nobody told me, that the crew had changed the course. What a bummer! There was just a meter and 50 cm in between right and wrong. I did not have any advantage due to the fact that I passed the line windwards. But within a part of a second I felt that something was very wrong, when my nose of the board spotted outside the North Sea . It was a horrible moment as I knew how close the fight for the worldtitle was. The boat of the racecrew was parked relatively close on the upwind side of the mark, what confused me too. And I was not able to spot the leeward placed finishing flag at the shore as this flag was placed really far upwind. I got disqualified. And Antoine made it up into the second round, what was extremely necessary for him to win the title. We only had two valid eliminations in the end of the event and it was not possible to correct the mistake.
“As the sailors headed down the final straight Antoine Albeau found himself outside of the qualifying places in fifth. However the Frenchman received an early Christmas present, due to Chris Pressler (Starboard/Severne) crossing the finish line on the wrong side of the buoy and being disqualified as he missed the fact that a new course had been set. This resulted in Albeau moving up to fourth place, before going on to win the entire elimination.” (quote of Chris Yates, PWA Press officer)
After a fault like this you quarrel with fate for a long time. That´s the reason I now updated my blog with the report about this mistake, not earlier after the event. Arnon Dagan told me staright after my fault: “Pack your gear and travel back home!” At this moment I didn´t believe it that I went wrong! Straight after the mistake had happened I had to explain what happened to Ben Proffitt, who was the moderator at the livestream. He thought that a wave pushed me up. But that wasn´t the reason as we had reallly small waves compared to other races in previous years.
I understood that faults can happen, but was extremely disappointed. I tried to give it all in the following two rounds and made it up in the third elimination into the second round. But afterwards the wind did play a crazy game. The seabreeze always showed up an hour before sunset. The boats of the racecrew had to leave back to the harbour, which is located one hour away from the Westerland beach. The final day saw awesome wind, but big waves and a lot of current. There was no chance to get the boats out and it would have been hard to guarantee the safety.
Overall the action was great at Sylt with a full double elimination in Wave for women and men, a full double elimination in Freestyle, an explosive Night Session, a nice Filmfestival and two rounds of Slalom. Let´s hope that 2013 will see more Slalom racing again. Thanks to everyone, who supported me in 2012!
Now, back at my homespot Lake Neusiedl, I had some really nice sunset sessions with the sun setting behind the soft hills. It´s amazing how beautiful the conditions are in late fall. Just a few guys are out there with their sailboats, kites or windsurfing boards…and me.
I am looking forward to get prepared very well for 2013. No tourplan got released until now, but we can expect races in South Korea, Spain, Canary Islands, perhaps France, Turkey, Holland and Germany. Perhaps we will see an early start of the racing season in the first week of March 2013 at Mui Ne, Vietnam. In 2011 we had an exciting PWA Worldcup there.
And I really hope to have some nice waveriding sessions during the wintermonths. That´s what I´ve been missing for quite a long time already.
Finally I got the chance to compete in the Austrian championships in 2012 as the Sylt Worldcup final got moved more towards October. Unfortunately we had not enough wind to run any races during the three days from the 21st till 23rd of September. But all in all it was a nice weekend meeting several friends of the Austrian and Hungarian racing scene. We had 28 racers on the starting list and some famous names in Austria like Gonzalo Costa Hoevel, who recently won the IFCA Slalom Worldtitle on Paros, Greece, Markus Pöltenstein, Marco Lang, Manuel Zugsbratl or Gábor Koszti. It definitely would have been an exciting race. The plan was to do a long distance race and a downwind Slalom. Friday saw some light gusts, but the wind was too unsteady. Even the kite racers were unable to finish their competition and they told us that they can easily go in 4-5 knots. At Saturday morning we met at 8.00 for an early skippermeeting, but the wind from the night was gone.
Instead of racing I had the chance to test the new inflatable Windsups. All in all it was an excellent organised event by Stylehunters. See you next year from the 20th of September on in Podersdorf.
Now it´s time to prepare everything for the Worldcup final on Sylt, which will be started on the 28th of September and last till the 7th of October. It´s the longest worldcup of the season.