[02.03] Albeau wins race one.

Winds today as predicted picked up to 25 knots and as the day grew on the winds increased to 35 knots a few minutes after the start of the first race.

120 racers prepared for the first race of the event at 11.45 am, but as the winds picked up most found themselves back at the beach early to change sails or retire from the race. All the top dogs were out on the course feeling comfortable in the strong winds. Kevin Pritchard lead at the first mark coming in on port tack while Albeau tack off after the start came in from the right side of the course, McGain rounded close behind in 3rd with Buzianis and Diaz in 4th and 5th.

Pritchard lead at the bottom mark, but it was Albeau now who was looking in control as winds picked up to 35knots. At this time most competitors were struggling to complete the course so decided to head back to the beach anyway they could.

By the top mark Albeau looking strong had passed Pritchard, was well on his way to the first place victory. Pritchard finished in second, while McGain finished in 3rd ahead of Buzianis, Diaz, Matt Pritchard and Brian Rogild in 7th.

As the top sailors came into the beach it was apparent that most sailors were floundering in the ballistic winds on the race course trying to guide there big boards back to the beach.

Race officials had there hands full trying to rescue the other sailors still on the water, decided it was unsafe and not practical to run anymore races today.

Winds are forecast to remain strong for the final day on Sunday.

Dorota stormed the fleet today in the womens division with Lucy Horwood
close behind in 2nd. Dorota said after the race, “thats the windiest
race I have done with my 9.8, I don’t know how I was able to finish”.

[01.03] Day 1 – Practice Race.

Winds 10-20 knots. Small chop. At 3.30 pm a practice race was held for the Formula Class at the Midwinter Festival.

With a course close to the beach the competitors all got a clean start and moved upwind to the first mark. Kevin Pritchard rounded in first followed by Antione Albeau with Phil McGain close behind in 3rd. The race was eventually won by Pritchard, with McGain in second and Micah Buzianis moving up to third.

World Champion Dorota and runner up Lucy decided to stay on the beach and work on new concepts to get women into Formula racing.

Winds are forecast to stay between 10-20 knots tomorrow for the first official day of competition.

Final numbers on entries is well over 200 competitors.

Stay tuned.

[28.02] Pre Race Press Release

With winter not yet over in the Northern Hemisphere the first USWA Formula event is due to commence at Merritt Island, Florida. Local organizer Tinho Dornellas has done a great job building the event up for the past 15 years and now has been sanctioned as the first event on the USWA National Formula Tour 2002.

Top sailors to make the trip includes Current World Champion and local favourite, Kevin Pritchard and Brother Matt Pritchard, Micah Buzianis, Phil McGain, Jimmy Diaz, Brian Rogild and French champion Antoine Albeau. In the women’s division #1 and #2 in the World Dorota Staszewska and Lucy Horwood are set to do battle once again. These sailors will join another 180 competitors to compete in a 3 day regatta which includes IMCO North Americans, Freestyle and Formula.

Winds forecast for 15-20 knots on the weekend sets the scene for an exciting few days of competing.

All eyes are watching to see who will show the skills necessary to take the win. The pressure is on as manufacturers are just releasing there new boards and sails and it will be a dogfight out there to see who has done there homework.

The event is one of the most popular events in the United States with over 200 competitors expected. Formula racing is now full endorsed by the USWA, with over 7 events on the USWA tour this year, organizers are expecting big growth in 2002.

Catch all the Formula action from around the World on the recently launched website at www.formulawindsurfing.org.

Stay tuned for the report from the practice race on Friday and official racing starting on Saturday.

Phil McGain