The event started better than the championship in Argentina as the airline didn’t loose my equipment.
The drive from the airport to the race site was quite incredible. The road took us from the international airport to Araruama via Favelas (slums), the harbour, busy city areas and nice country side. I knew Ayrton Senna were very popular in Brasil. There is no doubt our driver also thought he would be a good race driver judging by his pace. My wife and mother were petrified. Despite the speed we enjoyed the sightseeing. The highlight of the trip was to stop in a farm shop to try all the nice cheeses, honey and traditional Brazilian sweets.
We arrived at the race site and unloaded the kit. The location of the windsurfing club Up Wind was perfect with a large club house, nice grass to rig up, nice sandy batch to launch from without shore break. The race site was a huge lagoon. I was quite tempted to go out that day but the wind dropped.
The next stop was the B&B. They are called Pousadas in Brasil. My wife had spent a lot of time on the Internet to find a nice place for all of us to stay comfortably.
Unfortunately the place turned up to be a nightmare with cockroaches in the bathroom and crawling creatures on the bed. I was glad my wife was Brazilian so she could give the landlord a piece of her mind. The landlord gave us a new bedroom for the night. The next day Lyrah found another pousada and we moved there taking a couple of customers with us, Anders and Gun may from Finland.
On the second day I managed to go out with the 10.7 nicely powered up. I asked a few people what kind of wind they had so far. Majcek said usually they had 10.7 weather on that basis I registered a 12.0, 10.7 and 9.5.
On the first day of racing I sailed consistently to finish the day in first place in the Masters. Paulo dos Reis and Gabriel Browne were solidly in front overall. On the second day of racing Matias Pinheiro was going well, but I still managed to win some races. The wind was quite strong even for the 9.5 in hindsight I should have registered the 9.0 instead of the 9.5. I am getting wiser as I am getting older!I had a bad crash on the third day of the regatta. There was some confusion going downwind and a Peruvian girl hit me on the left leg with the nose of her board. My left thigh was black and blue for weeks and I was limping around. Nevertheless with a good quantity of painkillers and powerful Brazilian medicines I carried on racing. From then on Matias had the advantage in strong winds. Although I managed to win a few races occasionally. Until the last day of the regatta I could of win the championship. It was a nail biting contest.
The rest day gave us a chance to sample what Brasil had to offer. We went on a boat trip to a paradise island off the coast of Arraial do Cabo. The boat left from a fishing harbour and we had a chance to take a look at the fisherman’s catch before sailing. The boat trip was very enjoyable with lots of music and free drinks.
It was great to see the whole family having fun...
On the last day we rigged up the 12 metres and I was doing well initially just behind Paulo and ahead of Matias. However Paulo slowed down and let Matias through. At that point I could not win the regatta anymore. However Matias won the last few races in light winds showing that he was the championship winner.
2010 Formula World Championship / ARGENTINA – Potrerillos - Mendoza
The trip to Argentina was originally planed well in advance. The plan was to go from South Africa to Argentina for 1 or 2 weeks in advance to practice for the Worlds. However the plan changed due to a business trip to Los Angeles and Japan just before the championship. Things got worse when DELTA Airline lost all my kit on the way to the championship after charging me US$800. Ross Williams kindly lent me a Gaastra board, Gonzalo spared a Maui sail and Steve Allen a fin for the fist day of the regatta. Many thanks to those guys who helped me out. It made me realize how helpful some people are on the Formula circuit. I finished the first day around 20th with the borrowed kit. That put a big smile on my face!
The Argentinians were very nice and helpful to find my kit. Someone took me back to the airport and everything was there albeit one day late. Things are always easier when you sail your own kit. From then on, there was no excuse, I just had to sail properly.
The lake was beautiful. The wind always came up everyday. It was coming up in a strange fashion. It would go from a flat calm to super windy in a matter of minutes. The upwind legs were quite tactical with strong gusts and wind shifts. Every night the Argentinians would take me back to Mendoza. It was about 40 minutes drive away from the lake.
In the end I finished 23rd overall which was my best result so far in a worlds championship.
It was a nice surprise half way through the championship to see my cousin who came to the lake with his family to see me. I hadn’t seen him for several years. He’d moved to Mendoza many years ago. The Argentinians went out of their way to make us fell welcome.
It was nice to see Ross Williams in good shape finishing in 3rd. Frenchman Antoine Albeau won with a comfortable lead.
The bikini competition was very popular!
2009 Formula World Championship / Santa Pola - Spain
The GBR riders were well represented at the Formula Worlds in Santa Pola (Spain) this year with 7 people (Ross Williams, yours truly - Xavier Ferlet, Richard Jones, James Briggs, David Coles, Liam Round & Jason Clarke).
Arguably, Santa Pola has some of the best Formula conditions in the world. Even when there's 30 knots, the shore break is just non existent which is pretty amazing! The conditions ranged from 10 to 30
knots with about 14 knots average so that was perfect for Formula.
These Formula Worlds were the best organised I've ever seen. The space formula kit takes is always an issue. We had huge racks to store the kit, hoses to rinse the gear, massive tents to provide shade and shelter, lines to hang rigged sails to the ceiling and believe it or not, artificial grass to rig up! Any rider knows that these conditions are perfect to keep the kit in tip top conditions.
The results before the last day are as follow. Ross recovered from a bad start of the event to stand 6th before the last day. Yours truly didn't perform quite as well as last year but still came 34th. Richard beat me in one race and stands in 51st at the moment. James Briggs, David Coles, Liam Round and Jason Clarke are closely grouped in 67th, 70th, 71st and 73rd respectively.
Next year the Formula World Championships are at Mendoza in Argentina in March.
I hope to see many GBR riders making the trip.
Hopefully I'll do better!
2008 Formula World Championship / Ancon - Peru
After four days of waiting for the wind, the organisers made the decision to move to a new location for day 5 (Fri 2 Jan). It was a very brave decision that paid off. El Paraiso, 60 miles North of Ancon was indeed windy.
After a 6.30am start from home base at Ancon, competitors were met by an offshore 16 knot wind with flat water in the middle of the desert. We did four races at El Paraiso.
I found it difficult to get used to the shifty conditions at first and finished the first two races 5th and 2nd overall and 2nd Master in both. Riszard Pikul from Poland already beat me two years ago in Belgium also for the Youth and Masters.
It seemed he had retained his advantage.
In the third race, I finished about 5th overall but made sure I covered Riszard so I got 1st place in the Masters. In the fourth race, I finally found speed in stronger winds and led the whole fleet by a good margin. In the last downwind, I just left one of the Youths slip past by playing safe.
Richard Jones posted 8th, 8th, 9th, 9th in the Youths with a slightly unfortunate change up to 10.7 in the last race as the wind picked up.
Ian Jones got a respectable 7th and 10th in the Masters but afterwards, he decided the wind was too shifty and the sun a bit too strong. He went for the photographer’s option on the shore.
Day 6 - After validating the championship with 4 races at el Paraiso, it was decided to stay at the original location of Ancon for the final day (day 6).
The decision paid off as the wind picked up to a steady 15 knots. Steadier wind was more to my liking and I won all 4 races on the final day not only in the Masters but also ahead of the Youths & Seniors. That was particularly rewarding after finishing 5th two years ago in Belgium and 2nd last year in Estonia. Richard Jones was consistent with 10th, 9th, 10th & 11th in the Youths. Ian Jones had a problem with his cam and didn’t finish on the last day.
Xavier Ferlet - 1st Master (2008 Masters Formula Windsurfing World Champion)
Richard Jones - 9th Youth
Ian Jones - 3rd Grand Master
The organisation was amazing and the Peruvians went out of their way to make the event outstanding.