The weathermen must be in conspiracy with Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra)! Antoine Albeau (AHD/Neil Pryde) must be thinking, “What else do I have to do, make a sacrifice to the wind gods?“
Antoine sailed an impeccable regatta with no premature starts, no disqualifications, three first places, one second, third and fourth, and two fifths. His discards were two 7th's and a 12th, his only result outside the top ten. An impressive tally at any event, let alone the Formula Windsurfing Class Association World championship, competing against 95 opponents including the current world champion and PWA racing world champion, 15 or so National champions, and a brace of the most experienced racers gathered together since 2000. Antoine led the competition from the total survival conditions of day one right up to the penultimate race yesterday, Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra) finally reeled the Frenchman in and sneaked into the top slot. This weeks racing could not have been more varied, seven different courses were used over the six days of on water competition, in wind strengths ranging from 7 to 35 knots. Kevin kept everything tight; equaling Antoine's tally of first places yesterday, and also avoided any disqualifications or retirements.
"It's just typical, as soon as Barry turns up I win the next two races so he thinks his job has been done perfectly, typical! But seriously I am so happy to defend my formula world title successfully. I think it's easier to come from behind sometimes but, there could have been waves, or absolutely no wind, and the title would have been Antoine's. I have to get my head into waves now for Ireland. I really want to win the wave title because it will really put the pressure on my brother to win the freestyle!"
Obviously Kevin was in pretty good humour having found his form just when it mattered most, but many of the top sail and board designers could be seen on the beach, welded to binoculars, watching their creations in their intended environment. Many of the new Formula board designs have been briefly glimpsing the light of the day in the pit area including the new ultra-short Starboard, and the radically tailed new Fanatic. Formula Racing is definitely looking healthy right now.
Third placed man Wojtek Brzozowski (Starboard/Neil Pryde) also found his best form in the last two days but suffered one disqualification in race 5 and only managed two victories. He must now have his sights firmly fixed on challenging for the PWA racing title for 2002, with one event to go he is placed close behind current leader Steve Allen (Fanatic). Who continued his fine form from Poland by placing a very respectable fourth place and can't wait to get to Brazil for the final.
Apart from the slight hiccups in race one and eight, it was a perfect score of 5.6 points for reigning and now undefeated women's formula class world champion Dorota Staszewska POL (Starboard/Neil Pryde). Dorota once again showed both technical and tactical superiority in all but the wildest of conditions. The strongest challenges to Dorota's supremacy came from the two British sailors Lucy Horwood (AHD/Gaastra) and Christine Johnston (Starboard/Neil Pryde) who filled the number two and three spots. Lucy started the event with a bullet on the first and roughest day but only found her best form once more although placing second for the majority of other races can hardly be considered a poor performance! Christine Johnston's arrival proved successful and her consistent performance logged four second places. Perhaps training with Lucy will improve their level enough to put some serious pressure on Dorota, perhaps we will see at the next event. Another title for the Polish number 1 who works so hard to promote women's competition and is always there to help anybody get into racing.
"I am very happy, but glad to go home now to Warsaw as I am renewing my apartment and starting university on Tuesday to study International Relations. I will have to get away for the last event though!"
There are many competitor's worth of a mention but I don't have the time or space to mention them all, although 19 year old Michael Polanowski's remarkable performance is more than deserving of a few lines. Windsurfing for just four years, Michael's first championships in Thailand 2000 saw him finish 44th, last year in Brazil brought him the youth world title and a 20th place overall. Here in Sylt he finished 8th, the youngest rider in the top ten by four years. Michael is Wojtek's training partner and I wonder how long it will be before the apprentice outstrips the master. Definitely one to watch.
That about wraps things up here in Westerland as the packing continues and the well-rested wave sailors prepare for the trip to Ireland's Dingle peninsula.
MEN'S FINAL RESULTS AFTER 11 RACES AND 3 DISCARDS
1. Kevin Pritchard (Bic/Gaastra)
2. Antoine Albeau (AHD/Neil Pryde)
3. Wojtek Brzozowski (Starboard/Neil Pryde)
4. Steve Allen (Fanatic)
5. Phil McGain (Gaastra)
PWA MEN'S RACING RANKINGS AFTER 2 EVENTS
1. Steve Allen 4101 Pts
2. Antoine Albeau 4068 Pts
2. Wojtek Brzozowski 4068 Pts
2. Kevin Pritchard 4068 Pts
5. Micah Buzianis 4002 Pts (Mistral/North)
WOMEN'S FINAL RESULTS AFTER 10 RACES AND 2 DISCARDS
1. Dorota Staszewska (Starboard/Neil Pryde)
2. Lucy Horwood (AHD/Gaastra)
3. Christine Johnston (Starboard/Neil Pryde)
4. Jenny Le Bihan (Bic/Neil Pryde)
5. Geraldine Jambert (Starboard)
PWA WOMEN'S RACING RANKINGS AFTER 2 EVENTS
1. Dorota Staszewska 4200 Pts
2. Lucy Horwood 4134 Pts
3. Verena Fauster 3939 Pts (Starboard/Gaastra)
4. Margit Germany 3837 Pts (Starboard)
5. Anna Wegrzynek 3573 Pts