In a true celebration of all things windsurfing, the RS:X Windsurfing South American Championships kick off today as racing in the Techno and RS:X Classes begin under perfect conditions in the town of Paracas, Peru. The RS:X Windsurfing Championships forms the second half of the event with the Techno 293Plus concluding their racing today in a slalom format, which will be used for the first time in the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires later this year.
The RS:X Class has gone from strength to strength in South America with 8 different nations represented across the Men's, Women's and Youth divisions of racing. The RS:X has been supported in its growth by the Techno Class and this event provides an inspirational environment for the junior sailors competing, as they launch and race alongside their senior heroes.
At the same time, the event provides an opportunity for each country's rising stars to stake their claim for a spot at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in just over two years' time.
In the Men's fleet, Columbian Daniel Flores will be looking to build on his Rio 2016 experiences and show a clean transom to his competitors. The depth of talent in the fleet is impressive in that there are some strong contenders who will be looking to challenge Flores for the title including three time Olympian Mariano Reutemann from Argentina who will be looking to use his immense experience, despite being the oldest competitor in the fleet, to good use. Allesio Botteri will be one of a number of sailors from the host country, Peru, who will also be wanting to put in a strong performance on home waters. Steve Cramer from the United States is a newcomer to the senior fleet and will be pushing the old guard hard in a sport where fitness and power is equal to age and experience.
The Women's fleet is smaller, but equally as competitive and it will be Brazils Bruna Mello who is the form sailor to beat. The other spots on the podium are hard to predict at this stage but it will be a fascinating battle to watch unfold but there are a number of sailors who will not only be wanting to claim a medal but also to stand on the top step. For both the Men and Women fleets, the added pressure comes in the form of qualification for the PANAM Games in 2019 which is the region's major regatta.
The Youth fleet is again very competitive and with this being the first major event for the RS:X Youth sailors since the World Sailing Youth World Championships in Sanya last year, it will be a case of who has done the most winter training to come out on top by Sunday. Larissa Schenker from Brazil came 11th at that event in Sanya and will be hoping to use that as a platform to take home the title.
Racing starts tomorrow and will conclude on Sunday 4th March with up to 15 races scheduled. It will be an intense competition on a number of different levels as each sailor looks to show off their skills and the fantastic racing that is abundant in the RS:X Class.
Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class
Photo: Robert Hajduk / Shuttersail.com
2018 RS:X Windsurfing South American Championships and the 2018 Techno 293 Windsurfing South American Championships are organised by Asociacion Peruana de Tabla a Vela Olimpica in co-operation with the International RS:X Class Association and the International Windsurfing Association on March 1st to 4th 2018 in Paracas, Peru.