The massive number of competitors is in part a result of the influx of sailors coming from the former Olympic class like gold medallist, Faustine MERRET (FRA) and Mistral World Champions Nicolas HUGUET (FRA) and Blanca MANCHON (ESP). Then the hybrid nature of the board has attracted competitors from the Formula circuit. The Danish team has three windsurfers here, which as National coach Jacob HOLST explains, is a major new step for the nation, 'We haven't done anything in Olympic raceboards for ten years at least, so this is all new, we're starting up again and focussing on windsurfing in an Olympic campaign.'
|Preparing for the start on the marina
The large fleet in Cadiz, is a true reflection of the global nature of windsurfing today, with a lot of success in recent years for sailors from Asia, including a silver medal for China in the last Olympic Games, and of course, Gal FRIDMAN winning Israel's first ever gold medal in Athens. The RS:X can extend the global spread even further, as witnessed by the US Virgin Islands' Michael COMPTON, who is another of the competitors in Cadiz attracted by the potential of the new board, 'I've done course slalom and regular slalom and I've done some Formula board, although I haven't really raced a Formula that much, but I'm very excited to get on this board because it's a little bit of slalom and Formula and the course board like the One-Design Mistral so I'm excited about it.'
Three races are planned for both Saturday and Sunday, with the men split into two fleets for the first five races, before a gold and silver fleet is worked out before the start of the final race six. Meanwhile the women will race as one fleet. The first warning signal is scheduled for 1300 hours local time on both racing days with the race time limit set at 45 minutes with a target time of 20-30 minutes. The racing will take place just off the lighthouse at the marina in Puerto de Santa Marina, affording the spectators a close up view of the action, with the sailors set to race on one of four courses, the M, I, O or W.
As well as the tension and excitement which is building about the on the water action, plenty has been going on behind the scenes in Cadiz. ISAF Vice-President Fiona BARRON (GBR) has joined the officials, coaches and competitors gathered in Cadiz. Along members of the RS:X Management team led by director Rich JEFFRIES (USA), she represented ISAF in question and answer sessions with both the coaches and sailors focussing on the future of the RS:X class association. As she explained, keeping open clear lines of communication is a vital part of her visit, 'My role is to go out and talk to the sailors, talk to the manufacturers, and just make sure any small problems are easily resolved, and make sure that this is a very successful launch for the RS:X.'
www.sailing.org will bring you all the latest from Cadiz as the racing gets underway, as well as more on the coach and sailor meetings, the relaunch of the Neil Pryde RS:X website and the visit to Cadiz of Neil PRYDE himself.