9th of August 2004, Poland, FW Era World Champioships

FW Worlds Race Report

by Steve Allen
For the first 6 races we raced in separate fleets so I can only report on the races on my side. I also don’t find this to be a very good system.

Race 1;
My fleet was very unlucky as the other fleet raced one race in perfect 9 -14 knots and when we started the wind began to become lighter and just towards the end of the race the rain came in killing the wind. Ross had won this race with me in second, Micah 3rd and another 6 guys sailed across the finish line in good conditions before the race director had to cancel this race.
Then on another day it was very light and gusty cross offshore wind and they sent us out to start.
Virtually no competitors were able to plane across the start line on Starboard tack and on port tack we were able to just plane riding the swells to the inside. Andrea could not plain to get a good port tack start so tacked off after crossing the line on Port and was by himself as other sailors couldn’t get over on starboard to get to that side of the course. He then got a very good gust and lift from that side of the course giving him a very good lead on the first mark. Then it was Kevin, Devon, Ross then me. The wind was so light on the outside of the course that it was a struggle just to keep planning. I had passed Ross on the down wind and tacked on a good shift to the top mark and pulled back right on Kevin’s tail, just to have the wind completely shut off on me just before the top mark making me jump quickly out of my foot straps struggling not to fall in backwards from the huge wind whole. While Kevin was just ahead enough to stay in the gust and make the mark I stood still in virtually glassy water while watching Ross and other guys coming up on the next gust passing me while I had to pump onto the plane when the gust came to me, knocking me back from top 3 to 6th position with Andrea first Kevin 2nd.
Then at the same time as our fleet was finishing they canceled the race for the other side of the split fleet so they didn’t have to race in this shit as they already had a first race result and made it count for us, which every sailor was pissed with except for the top 3 of course.

Race2;
2nd last day we finally got a more normal sea breeze.
It was Ross to take the good side on the upwind sailing really well taking a lead that was not possible to catch and then myself having a similar lead on the rest of the pack to finish 2nd with Arnon coming in for 3rd.

Race 3;
I had a good start heading all the way out on starboard tack, taking a lead on that side of the fleet. But there were a few guys who tacked off to the inside of the course and caught a huge lift to round the top mark in front of me and the rest of us that took the other side of the course. Then on the down wind those guys over stood the bottom mark while I jibed on a perfect line to just make the mark passing the 6 odd guys ahead of me. This put me into first where I lead the rest of the race to win with Arnon in 2nd also jibing behind me on the down wind and Kevin 3rd.

Race 4;
I tacked through the middle to play it safe while Kevin and Sam got the lift after going that little bit further to the outside leaving me in 3rd but hot on their heals. Sam passed Kevin on the first long reach while I jibed on the inside of Kevin on the down wind just as the rubber slipped off Kevin’s boom head causing him to stop to fix it eventually pulling out of the racing after loosing too much ground. We were now on the outer course that was a very short second lap making it difficult to overtake. But I tried tacking much earlier than Sam for the top mark to almost take the lead before Sam had reached down wind on me to cover me taking my wind just before the mark making me have to slow down and pinch hard just to make it. I then just made the mark but Sam had slipped back by and with the last down wind being very short it was impossible to get another shot to pass him leaving me in 2nd

Race 5;
After Racing the last 3 races almost back to back I was beginning to tier and made some bad mistakes. Starting on the start line trying a port start half way down the line to get to the inside of the course which seemed to be the favored side from the last race, but not this time and making matters worse I had Ross tack right on top of me and Arnon just below. I should have tacked out of there as the guys tacking the outside of the course took the lift this time punishing us. I tried my hardest to fight my way back but with the second lap being so short it was impossible leaving me in a very disappointed 6th position, while Kevin snatched the opportunity to win this race.

Race 6;
The last day, and after mixing the fleets again this would be the last race before we could race gold and silver fleets where all the top guys could finally get to race each other. I was very happy to have Micah in this fleet as he had won most of the races from the other fleet taking a good lead on the point standing and if there would be a chance for me to win I wanted to put him behind me in the points asap.
Then as the gun went for the start I felt my whole championship fall away from me as pushed to leave the start line and just went side ways as my fin broke at this critical moment. This was the first fin I ever broke and my most used and best fin, I was devastated. I began to sadly slide side ways back towards the beach as I watched everyone race away and my chances for holding on to my World Title fall away. Then to my surprise the wind had not filled in properly yet as we were the first to start on the first puffs of wind and the race was abandoned. I then shouted out to Adrian the English coach in the boat and began to beg him to help me get back to the beach so I could change fins to get back out in hopefully enough time to start the next race. Well I owe him big time as I made it back to change to a back up fin that I had not tested since the start of the year and I was a little unsure of how it would be in these conditions. I just made it back to the start line to take the countdown half way through the procedure and ask Gonzalo how the wind is on the course. As everyone who started had the advantage on me to see which side was looking good, so I owe him one also as he told me there was no wind on the outside which has normally been the best. I had a good start more towards the pin end which was not the favored end but I just wanted a clean start and there seemed to be a stronger gust there. I then took this gust out 200m or so and it seemed to look not so bad on the out side but after Gonzalo’s tip I felt I had better tack on this gust before it stops. I then passed just behind Micah a few other guys and then Gonzalo but he was not tacking to follow me, I began to be a little worried, but I felt to be going good and kept on. Fair enough Gonzalo was later disappointed in not taking his own tip and was well behind with Micah and the rest of the guys that went too far to the out side on the gust that had looked good. I managed to pull out a very good lead in this race to take the win ahead of Sam and Andrea in 3rd.

Race 7;
Finally all the top guys all get to race in the one race as we finally split the fleets into Gold and Silver.
I got off to a clean start and tacked through the middle of the course again not to risk too much, as Wojtek and some other top guys went for a port tack start trying for the lift off the beach. But it was the outside of the course that had come good again, although I was still looking good to round the top mark in 2nd or 3rd just as my team mate Pieter tacked on top of me taking some of my wind. When he realized he tried to leave me some room but it was too late causing me to loose that valuable height just before the mark causing me to roll around the top mark and it was almost ok until my fin caught the rope sending me over the front loosing many valuable positions that were impossible to regain. I managed to come back a little but finished in a very disappointed 8th with Gonzalo taking the win ahead of Kevin and Arnon taking valuable points in the overall standings. But with a possible 2 races left I stayed positive that I could still win as I had good speed. It was just this problem with the rope on the mark and if I keep the entire guys close in points behind me I could still win with a possible 2 races left.

Race 8;
I had a good pin end start just above Gonzalo and we went all the way out and tacked for the mark. Gonzalo went a little further than me so I came across first to tack for the mark but I went a bit further than needed so I would be clear of the mark not to have any problem like the race before while Gonzalo came in and tacked right on the mark just getting ahead of me. We then battled it out far ahead of the rest, but I was unable to get passed leaving me in 2nd. I was quite satisfied thinking we would have one more race and a chance to beat all the guys close to me on points once more to hopefully take the win. Then arriving back to the beach they informed us that they would not be able to run the last race due to there being a last possible start time of 6pm and it was 5:50pm. Then to find out that I was 2nd by only 0.3 of a point to Micah made me feel a little disappointed that we couldn’t race the last race and that I didn’t know the race we just had was to be the last. I felt maybe I could have done more as you do when you don’t win. After beating Micah in 3 out of the 4 races that I was able to race in the same fleet as him and only lost to him in the race I caught the rope on the mark, I am now looking forward to the next race on the PWA World Tour now where we race all the top guys together in every race through 4 different contests where I hope to give a hard fight to win there.

Big Thanks to my sponsors;
Benzacne, Fanatic, Neil Pryde, Deboichet, Advertis, Lava.

1st Micah Buzianis
2nd Steve Allen
3rd Arnon Dagon


Best Regards,

Steve

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