This year's Raceboard European Championships were hosted by the Andalucian Sailing Federation Centre, Puerto Sherry, in the beautiful Spanish city of El Puerto de Santa Maria. The 41 sailors from 10 countries could enjoy some of the best sailing conditions the place has to offer, as 14 races for the women and 15 for the men were conducted in winds ranging from 8 to 24 kts and temperatures of around 26o
C. It's no wonder that EL Puerto is the winter training destination for many national windsurfing teams.
The atmosphere of the class can be seen at each event, where families and friends from all around the world are competing together and against each other. The most recognizable of the Raceboard families in El Puerto would be the Manchons, with the Spanish couple Paco Manchon and Maria Antonina Dominguez and the Blinnikkas, having strong representatives in Male, Youth, Senior, G-Master and Female divisions.
It was Aleksandra Blinnikka from Finland, who came on top, winning the European Championship. "It wasn't easy," as she says. "When I saw the entry list at the start of the regatta, I said to myself that it would be good to be in the top 4. The competition was really hard. I'm so happy to have won," she added. Second and third were the local sailors from Spain Maria Antonia Dominguez and Pilar Lamadrid Trueba.
In the men's fleet it was Nicolas Huguet from France, who dominated all the way, winning 14 out of the 15 races. "It was really fun. Especially today with the strong wind," he said. "I had the equipment before the races and I had time to prepare for the event. I could feel I was better with each start," he said after the final race. Just as in the case of the women, the second and third places in the overall men classification went to the Spanish windsurfers. Toni Coloma was second and Alex Buchau third.
Next up for the Raceboard class is the Masters World Championships in Cagliari in October. The regatta will be held alongside the Techno293 Worlds, which will make this combined event one of the biggest held this year, with as many as 500 windsurfers expected to show up.
Results: Men / Women
Waiting is part of the game
Conditions play a vital role in windsurfing and anybody, who has ever raced knows that waiting is part of the game. Today was one of those days. The forecast showed the wind dropping and the Race Committee led by Luky Serrano decided to start the races with no delay. This decision proved right and two races were conducted before the sailors were sent ashore to wait. The next race was not planned before 16:00. And we waited.
"Pedro Corte Moura spent his time ashore writing a short report. "While we wait for a 2nd round of races, I leave you a short report of the 1st part of the day, which began very early. We had to start early because the wind was expected to fall late in the morning ... and it did. So after two races, we are now waiting on shore the wind back to make 2 more. Now we eat something, do stretches and rest-hands a bit.
"The first race was with some offshore gusty wind, and I was able to get good speed.
The second race was with much less wind, and on this one I was with good speed, but unfortunately, I have been totally blocked by other competitors in starting line. I was at that moment almost last, but I have made a very good recovery till 10."
We had one race after the break. Pedro was 7th staying in 5th place overall.
While waiting Juha Blinnikka said he never lets his son win, but he is happy when Daniel does well. Daniel didn't think too much about his father's kind words and came in third. The second discard however means they are still on equal points on 6th and 7th.
The leaderboard hasn't changed much with Nicolas Huguet firmly in front having won all three of today's races. The fight for the second place will be between the two Spanish sailors Toni Colomar Torres and Alejandro Buchau.
Aleksandra Blinnikka is leading in the ladies' fleet followed by Maria Antonia Dominguez and Ilona Grinberga.
Tomorrow we plan three more races with strong winds up to 20 kts as the "Viento de Levante" approaches.