Scorching sunshine and light breezes were the name of the game on the first day of official competition at the PWA, Catalunya, Costa Brava, Super X World Cup.
After a tense waiting game this morning with the winds hovering around five knots, the shimmering Mediterranean eventually turned to white caps…the signal for the race crew to take to the water, leaving the sailors waiting anxiously for the first possible start. At 4.30pm the wind finally locked in around 15 knots and it looked like we were in for a mouth watering feast of intense Super X action.
The very first race of the 2004 Costa Brava Super X saw major drama. Robby SWIFT (JP, Neil Pryde), Julien TABOULET (JP, Neil Pryde) and Remko DE WEERD (Gaastra, Fanatic) were all called 'over early' on the start line, causing race director Klaus MICHAEL to raise the general recall flag and re start the heat. With five remaining sailors left in the game and four set to advance, the battle turned into a dog fight to avoid last place. Despite marginal conditions, Greg ALLAWAY (Mistral, North) of Australia sailed a blinder and took the bullet, ahead of Mariano ESTIVILL (F2, Arrows), Jonas CEBALLOS (Gaastra, Fanatic) and Jose PINANA, leaving Benoit MOUSSILMANI of France the disappointed loser.
With most sailors using 6-7m sails and large boards, today's course was adapted to suit the light wind conditions with a boat start, longer legs and small jump obstacles. Matt PRITCHARD (Gaastra), currently number two in the Super X rankings, was on fire in today's second heat, storming into a clear lead ahead of the chasing pack, but to Pritchard's dismay, the heat was abandoned just as he crossed the finish line nearly a leg ahead. The wind then refused to play ball and failed to reach the level required for any further official competition.
With the wind on the borderline for most sailors today, the likes of Douglas DIAZ (North, Fanatic) and Jose ESTREDO (North) of Venezuela, both took advantage of their slighter frames, keeping the crowds entertained with a string of stunning freestyle maneuvers while the racing was on hold.
The forecast for tomorrow is extremely promising with stronger thermal breezes predicted during the afternoon, which hopefully will be enough for some higher wind and higher octane racing!