Competition/III Buzios Regatta
For a long time, windsurfing in Brazil, hadn't seen a combined event with so many racing categories sailing together.
Pedro Bulhoes "Chorao", Bruno Marques, Raul Pasqualin and Ricardo Winick "Bimba" decided to take the challenge and make it happen.
The venue couldn't be a better spot, the Buzios Vela Club, located on Manquinhos Beach in Buzios is constantly blessed with great racing conditions and good structure to hold an event of this sort.
During the 5 day event, RS-X, Fomula, Slalom, Bic Techno and Raceboard all had incredible conditions with winds gusting up to +30 knots on some days.
In the Formula races, which ran in the morning together with RS-X, Bic Techno and Raceboard, Paulo dos Reis took an early lead on the first two strong windy days by winning 5 races, followed by Gabriel Browne and Wilhelm Schurmann who shared a few seconds and third.
On the third day, lighter winds prevailed and Gabriel Browne and Nahuel Abran each took a bullet. On the fourth and last day, Wilhelm Schurmann and Paulo dos Reis took bullets and with this ended the Formula Brazilian Nationals.
Paulo dos Reis, who finished 3rd in 2010 Nationals, sailed flawless on the windy days and took back the formula Brazilian National Champion followed by the former 2010 formula national champion Gabriel Browne, currently youth world champion. The third spot went to last year's runner up at the nationals Wilhelm Schurmann, who just made it to the event after travelling 42 hours from the Oceanic championship in Australia.
Nahuel Abran from Argentina proved he can be up there with the top names by wining a race and finishing in fourth overall. Young Mateus Issac settled in Fifth followed by his dad, Alberto Issac who had a close battle and beat Ricardo Conde by one point.
Top 5 Formula.
BRA 3333 Paulo dos Reis
In the afternoons, when the winds were at their strongest, the Slalom action was right close to the beach. With the Slalom South American title in game the action was intense with some incredible wipeouts and jibe action that left the spectators on their toes.
Many of the RS-X top racers like Ivan Pastor from Spain, Ricardo Winick and Alexandre Guyader from France, took part on the slalom and proved to have some serious speed.
However, the battle for the first spot was hotly contested by Gabriel Browne and Wilhelm Schurmann. In one of the finals, Gabriel was pushing so hard to try to pass Wilhelm on the last leg, that when the +30 knots gust hit him, his board lifted and he exploded breaking his mast and providing the most incredible wipeout for the public watching on the beach, fortunately for Gabriel he did not suffer any injury.
While Gabriel missed out on two finals repairing his equipment, Schurmann took over the lead and Juan Marino from Venezuela gained important points to get closer to the podium.
After 10 finals, it all came down to the 11th and last race final, Wilhelm took the final, but Gabriel managed to secure the second spot, with this beating Wilhelm by 1.3 points difference and taking the Slalom South American title, an incredible feat for Gabriel after having missed out on two finals. Wilhelm Schurmann finished second followed by Juan Marino, who also had a close battle for third place and just edged out by 1 point over Guyader Alexander from France in fourth and Ricardo Winick "Bimba" in fifth.
Top 5 Slalom.
1) Gabriel Browne (BRA 50)
After 4 days of action packed racing finalized, the final and fifth day was reserved for the big challenge; O Rei de Buzios "The King of Buzios".
For this grueling long distance race, any equipment is allowed. The course is simple, start from Manquinhos beach, sail upwind around buzios to Geriba beach, round a mark and back to Manquinhos. However simple the course sounds, it's far from easy, as you encounter all kinds of conditions, ranging from 5 to 25 knots winds and boiling seas on the windward coast where the waves hit the cliff walls and bounce back creating a havoc for control on the boards.
Sailors started on a Le mans start with RS-X, Formula and Slalom all lining up. Paulo dos Reis was the first to get clear and started the long upwind with Wilhelm Schurmann right close by, both on 10's and formula boards. At the start, the wind was around 25 knots and after about 50 minutes of upwind, Paulo started going around the point to start the reach to Geriba.
Wilhelm started to reel in Paulo on the reach, and as they got closer to Geriba, the wind started to drop considerable and at one point both sailors dropped of a plane a few meters apart.
Wilhelm managed to get back on a plane after about 20 seconds and started opening the lead on Paulo who floated for another 40 seconds.
The wind picked up again close to the mountains and beach of Geriba, Wilhelm rounded the mark in first and started to head back, with Paulo about 150 meters behind.
Deciding to stay close to the mountains for the strong winds that funneled down, both sailors started an upwind match racing battle until the rounding of the point, in which then, turned into downwind dash to the finish.
Wilhelm Schurmann, who won the first ever edition of the Rei de Buzios in 2003, opened the gap on the downwind and crossed the finish line just over 1 hour and 30 minutes, making him the only sailor to win it twice, followed closely by Paulo dos Reis about 1 minute behind.
Third place went to Nahuel Abran, who had a good come back, after almost missing the beach in Geriba and heading to the beach next to it. In fourth and being the first RS-X was French Alexandre Guyader followed by Nick Dempsey from Great Britain in Fifth.
Top 5 Rei de Buzios "King of Buzios"
1. Wilhelm Schurmann (BRA 999)
Special thanks to all the organizer, race committee, sponsors and, last but not least, to all the international competitors that made the trip from far away to come to the event.