A day of teasing winds - despite an unfavorable forecast - on the fifth day of the Ulsan PWA World Cup saw the sailors experience a long day on hold, but ultimately the wind never quite materialized enough to allow the competition to resume.
However, the glorious sunshine returned allowing the competitors and crowds to relax on the beach. The sailors were eventually released at 4:45pm and they will now prepare themselves to battle it out on the last day of racing tomorrow - which should see an action packed day of fully charged slalom.
Whilst still on hold we had a chat with Argentina's sole representative Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails):
PWA: This winter you travelled to Maui to test different combinations of equipment, why did you eventually decide on Starboard and Loft Sails?
GCH: "I chose Starboard because I thought they were the easiest and quickest boards out there. I also feel that they are the most consistent to sail across all of the sizes (small/medium/large). I basically felt the same about the sails too because all of the sails perform brilliantly and they have a great wind range. So overall I now feel a lot more confident about going on the water no matter the conditions."
PWA: Which size of boards and sails have you registered for the season?
GCH: "For the boards I have the 127l, 107l and the 87l Starboard iSonics. With the sails I have registered 9.6m, 8.6m, 7.8m, 7.0m. 6.3m and 5.6m,"
PWA: Did you go anywhere else for training this winter, aside from Maui?
GCH: "In November I was in Maui to test all the equipment. Afterwards I travelled back home to Buenos Aires, before heading to Tarifa in early February until the first event here in South Korea. In Tarifa I was training with Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different) and Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails). This was actually the earliest that I've ever travelled to Europe as I usually spend the winter in Maui. However, with Loft being based in Tarifa it made more sense for me to be based there, so that I could test and tune all of my equipment. Also Benny and Ludo have been training there for the past couple of years and have had good results - so I thought it must be a good place to train."
PWA: You're currently in sixth place, are you happy with how the first event of the season is going?
GCH: "I'm happy, but I made a couple of mistakes in the first two semifinals. In the first semifinal I crashed with Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails), when we were both easily qualifying in second and third place. In the semi-final yesterday I was third on the outside gybe and on course to make the winners' final, but when I was pumping to get back on the plane my front hand slipped off to boom - so that was game over.
"Every heat that I've sailed so far I've been consistently in the top two or three, so I'm a little disappointed that I wasn't able to capitalize on the first two eliminations, but In the third elimination winners' final I finished second, so I'm really happy and I'm currently tied on points with 4/5th, but it's also very close with a couple of guys below me. I feel like last year when I made mistakes I was finishing in 30th, so from my point of view the equipment is better. Also I trained a lot harder - I've gained 5kg in the gym and the training in Tarifa means that I'm a lot more prepared for this season."
PWA: What's your overall aim for the season?
GCH: "I'd love to finish in the top five - I know it is super difficult - but I'd also be very happy with top ten with this being my first year on the new equipment. It takes time to adjust and to learn the perfect settings for competition sailing no matter how good your equipment is."
PWA: You did really well yesterday in the lighter winds, do you think there's a particular reason for this?
GCH: "Not really - all I could say is that I have done a lot of formula windsurfing in the past, so maybe when it's lighter winds and we're on the bigger equipment I am more used to the wider boards and larger sails. There are a lot of guys who train in very windy places so they almost never sail their bigger equipment, so maybe they are not so used to it. In yesterday's second final it was me Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) and Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) first to the first mark on both attempts to run it and we are all used to big kit."
PWA: Favorite slalom conditions?
GCH: "15-25 knots, when we're on middle boards and 7.8s. I would say my worst is when the wind gets to 30 knots and above. Having said that, this winter I found myself matching Benny in 40-45 knots in Tarifa."
PWA: Thanks Gonzalo and good luck in the racing tomorrow.
The forecast looks great for tomorrow with the gradient wind in the correct direction for the local thermal effect to kick in, in full effect. The skippers' meeting has been called for 10:30am with the first possible start at 11am. Don't miss a thing by tuning into the live stream, which is available via the PWA TV @ https://www.pwaworldtour.com/index.php?id=1622