Campione – The first day of racing at the International WASZP Games just happened to be one of the hottest days of the summer in the region of Lombardia this year. The heat and the haze kept the breeze still until late afternoon before the Championship Racing could get started.
To fill the morning the WASZP team arranged workshops to guide new WASZP owners through building, rigging and tuning of their new boats. At midday some sailors cooled down with a swim, an early lunch in the shade or just relaxed until the afternoon breeze cleared the stifling air.
Some eager WASZP sailors left the shore about 1600hrs but setting a course in the busy area of the lake off Campione was not easy with flocks of kites, other dinghies, pleasure boats and all the motor vessels that go out on the water in the middle of summer. The race committee set up for a trapezium type course of two laps flowing in a clockwise direction.
The afternoon Ora was very patchy for the first race and most of the fleet struggled to get up on the foils at the start. It took a couple of hundred metres before the lead boat popped up as the majority of the fleet hit the Western shore of the lake beneath the sheer cliffs.
Reed Baldridge from the College of Charleston Yacht Club in the USA sprung out in the lead and stayed there for the duration of the two laps crossing the finish line to take the first ever win in an International WASZP Games regatta. Gus Ekberg from Black Rock SC in Victoria, Australia was second to cross just ahead of Stefano Ferrighi, a local from Lake Garda. Moth guru Harry Mighell from Australia was fourth and Joan Costa, a young 17 year old sailor who races with a team of WASZP sailors from Palamos in Spain, was fifth.
For the second race the breeze swung left to be blowing straight down the lake from the South, just a hint of an Ora! It did mean a slight adjustment to the course resulting in a bit less tendancy to tack straight after the start to hit the rocks on the shore before the long leg out to the windward mark. There was a big bunch at the committee boat end and a few sailors managed to get up on foils and reach down the line to get up to speed at the gun.
At the top of the course it was the same smiling face of Reed Baldridge leading the fleet round. Reed won one of the first WASZP regattas ever held, the Atlantic Coast Championship, and has competed in the Youth Americas Cup so was a tip to be quick here in Lake Garda. Harry Mighell was the only sailor to really threaten Reed’s lead providing he stayed on the foils. He did so to take a second gun of the regatta and set tongues wagging. Again Stefano Ferrighi was in his consistent third spot and the young Spaniard Joan Costa in fourth. Another sailor to join the top end was Tristan Brown finishing fifth. Tristan is a previous Laser Radial World Champion sailing for Royal Freshwater Bay YC in Perth, Western Australia.
Keen to take advantage of the afternoon breeze the local Race Committee got race 3 started as the sun began to dip behind the mountains at 1800hrs. With a breeze still in the 12 – 14 knots range, it was another quick two lap race for the faster fleet. Another packed start at the committee boat end resulted in the majority of the fleet heading off on starboard tack for a hundred metres of so. The top group tacked quite early on to port to head for the mountain shore as per race 1.
On lap 1 a new face appeared at the front in the shape of Dean Souter from Sorrento in Australia who led Reed Baldridge who tried desperately to squeeze round the bottom mark falling off the foils momentarily allowing Harry Mighell to catch him. Stefano Ferrighi was in his customary top four position. Dean Souter managed to hold onto his lead crossing a few seconds in front of Reed Balridge and Harry Mighell a few seconds back in third. Stefano Ferrighi finished a way back in 4th and Kohei Kajimoto in fifth.
So after day 1, Reed Baldridge (USA) has an impressive start to the championship with two wins and a 2nd. He leads Harry Mighell (AUS) by 5 points from Stefano Ferrighi (ITA) in third. Kohei Kajimoto (JPN/AUS) sits in 4th overall and the French former Olympic 470 sailor Pierre Leboucher had a good day with results of 7,9,7 to sit in fifth overall.
Reed summarises his day: “It was good to get going once the breeze filled in, the boat felt really good today and I made minimal mistakes. I was keeping pace with a lot of the top guys.”
“I have had my boat for a little over a year and been racing a couple of times in Key Lago with the US fleet and we just finished up with the Atlantic Coast Championship which I won.”
Rory Rose a 17 year old WASZP sailor from Aberdeen & Stonehaven YC in Scotland had an impressive day with 10,14,16 results, to sit in 10th place overall.
Erik Karlsen from Norway recorded the peak speed of the day at 20.2 knots and a 10 second average of 19.5 knots. Erik is a 16 year old WASZP sailor who weighs in at around 62 kilos.
A fleet of weary but happy WASZP sailors came ashore as the sun set for a stomach full of pasta, a long shower and an early sleep to get ready for day 2 of racing on Thursday.
Designer and builder of the WASZP, Andrew ‘Amac’ McDougall went out in a rib to video sailors and advise them on boat set – up and tips on making the boat go faster. He was reported to have a bit of a tear in his eye looking at over 50 of the most popular one design foilers in the world racing in their first ever international regatta.
Provisional Results (Top 10 boats after 3 races)
1 USA 2383 Reed Baldridge – 1,1,2 = 4pts
2 AUS 238 Harry Mighell – 4,2,3 = 9pts
3 ITA 88 Stefano Ferrighi – 3,3,4 = 10pts
4 AUS 2380 Kohei Kajimoto – 11,6,5 = 22pts
5 FRA 44 Pierre Leboucher – 7,9,7 = 23pts
6 AUS 2389 Gus Ekberg – 2,11,11 = 24pts
7 NZL 2382 Bruce Curson – 14,8,6 = 28pts
8 GBR 2078 Stuart Appleby – 8,7,15 = 30pts
9 AUS 2395 Tristan Brown – 20,5,9 = 34pts
10 GBR 2242 Rory Rose – 10,14,16 = 40pts