Algarve windsurfer Miguel Martinho (Clube Naval de Portimao) was awarded the European Formula Windsurfing Masters Champion title, this Sunday May 22, after winning the 12 championship races held over five days off the Praia da Rocha, Portimao. Vasco Chaveca also from the Algarve and representing CNPortimao played a thrilling final day, losing the 2nd place overall and Masters in the last race, in which he did not participate due to an asthma attack on the water.
"No championship is easy. I'm in a good moment and that made it seem easy." Miguel Martinho won all championship races, always with great advantage over the other contenders and in different wind conditions weak to moderate on some days and stronger on Saturday. It was a perfect display, domineering, which earned him the European title that he had won three years ago, in the Azores.
"Winning at home is always good. I'm able to share the victory with friends and people with whom I am every day," said the European Champion, to Swell-Algarve. "I dedicate this title to my godfather. Unfortunately, is no longer with us, but it was him who put me in the world of windsurfing”, said Miguel Martinho, with emotion, referring to Francisco Florencio, influential man in the public life of Portimao, who died last year.
Having won the first trophy of the season, Miguel Martinho is already thinking about the next challenges, where he wants to score more good results: National Formula Windsurfing tour event in Peniche, in June; the European Open in Latvia, in August; and the Worlds Open in the Azores, in November.
The European Festival Championship Formula Windsurfing Masters, Youth and Women 2016 joined 26 athletes from 7 countries in Portimao. The event was organized by the Clube Naval de Portimao. "A European Championship is always prestige for the club and the city. Athletes loved the conditions and have asked us if we will organize more international events for them to return," said Luis Fonseca, sports director at CNPortimao and also an athlete at the event (14th overall, 9th Master).
The championship had a total of 12 races held in different wind conditions, which increased the level of challenge for athletes at the festival. Emotions in the fleet flared on Saturday because of late regattas in rough sea and with strong winds. The fight for the podium below the leader domain was running high and some decisions of the Race Committee, concerning the running of time and not taking breaks to change sail in very unstable conditions were criticized by athletes.
Miguel Martinho dominated the championship and made a solitary race. But in the remaining fleet there was intense competition and in this battle the greatest figure was the Algarve windsurfer Vasco Chaveca. President of the Portuguese Association Formula Windsurfing and athlete representing CN Portimao, Chaveca was runner-up (overall and Masters) since Day 1 and performed a brilliant championship … with an inglorious outcome.
"I had a asthma attack, which prevented me to compete in the last race. It's inglorious. I am frustrated by not being able to fight to the end," said Chaveca, visibly battered, after the event was over. He was defending this last day a runner-up place on the podium under strong pressure from the Polish Pawel Dittich and the Lithuanian Giedrius Liutkus. The windsurfer from the Algarve started with a good defense of his position, making 3rd place in the first race on Sunday. But once the race was over, Vasco Chaveca felt sick and had to leave the race field, accompanied by support boat.The two last races of the championship were held on Sunday, today. The athletes went in the water at about 3pm and made a first start without effect. The race was canceled due to low wind and the sailors returned to the beach. Towards 17h00, with perfect Northwest wind, the windsurfers returned to the sea and held two races under excellent conditions.
The scores were so close that the forced leave had tremendous effect on Vasco Chaveca's outcome: he dropped from 2nd to 4th in the overall standings and from 2nd to 3rd in the Masters standings. He missed the overall podium by only 3 points.
The Championship in Portimao awarded European title only in Masters. For the Youth and Women groups the European titles were not at stake because there were not enough athletes. The only youth and lady present, respectively Pedro Pinheiro and Margarida Gil Morais (CNPortimao) received a participation award. There were also podiums for overall standings and Grandmasters and an award for the only veteran.