16th of August 2004

Formula Worlds for fomulawindsurfing.org

by Micah
Leba has been a good place for me, first place last year and second the year before, not certain if it is the food or the conditions. Whatever it was I was certainly looking forward to the worlds in Leba because I knew the spot and enjoyed the sailing so much. I decided to do it a little differently this year, rather than show up a week early for training I planned to show up two days early. Just enough time to get settled but not become stagnant. From all the news I heard this was the right call because it had been a very light previous week but we had two perfect days to get reacquainted with Leba.

The wind didn't last long though and we spent the next three days on edge waiting for the wind then going out and having it die on us. All than was accomplished in the first three days was one race for both the mens fleets and a lot of sun tanning. Both of these races were very light and could have gone either way, being valid or cancelled. It was desperate though and things were pushed through, much better to have a result than a zero especially looking at the forecast.

Friday looked like another long day when I arrived at the beach, glassy smooth on the water. Around lunch time though the wind began to freshen and looked like we would finally get to do some good racing, light but steady and a good direction. I was feeling pretty good for this event, even though I had a poor showing at the Europeans, I picked it up for the US Open, one more notch for the US Nationals and ready for full speed at the worlds. In the first race of the event I barely managed a 13th, but Friday was all mine. I had good speed and felt very relaxed on the water, three firsts and a very close fight for second with Wjotek it was a very good day.

Saturday again looked like another long waiting day, especially for me as I was in the lead for the event. I had a fairly comfortable lead and with my gear feeling as good as it was I could relax a bit. But I was still on edge. Around lunch time the wind came in again, we only had to do one more race to split the fleets into silver and gold so it would be one race and then a long break. I had a good start in the race and thought I had prepared enough before the start in choosing the right side to go to off the line. However the wind switched inside the start sequence and I kept to my game plan but was the wrong side to go to. I fought my way back into fourth place which was enough to stay in the lead but not where I wanted to be.

After the break it was back on the water in the gold fleet, where finally all the top guys would race each other. Again I had a good start and thought that my choice in tactics was right but I lost out again, I managed to get a fifth but was not doing what I wanted to do, put space between me and second, I was letting them back in the game. At this point I wasn't really watching the results I just wanted to get one more top result and I new I would have it. Unfortunately I had the worst start of the regatta and had to duck a couple guys on the first upwind. I rounded back in about 10th but made up some ground on the downwind and the second upwind. I rounded the second upwind in about 7th and was close to three guys in front of me that I knew I could pass. One of them was Wjotek and as I started to pull even on him he came up on me hard and started to push me upwind and off the proper course. He sailed both of us quite a ways of course by the time I was able to get past him and the two other guys were out of my reach and one more guy passed me on the inside. Needless to say the lack of sportsmanship from Wjotek, who was out of the running for the title already, cost me a few spots and I new it was going to be close. When I got back to the beach I found out that if Steve would have won he would have beaten me by .8 of a point but thanks to Gonazlo winning I won by .4 of a point.

I did not have a very good start again this year in Leba but was able to turn it around once the wind picked up a bit and win for the second year in a row. Being that it was the World Championships made it that much better! This was my first Formula Worlds title and it surprised a lot of people that I did it in such light winds but I knew all my gear was ready no matter what the wind would be. Many thanks to North Sails for all their support in helping me get here, thanks also to Mistral for having the confidence in me. I will now go to Gran Canaria to try and regain my PWA Racing World Title, where I will be racing with the backing of F2 boards who have a great line up of boards for me, I have all the confidence in their boards and am very excited to go with them in their new direction, we will be dominating the racing scene for years to come!!!!