Freestyle Sailing Championship
The first ever EUROSAF Freestyle Sailing Championship took place at the Yacht Club Acquafresca at Brenzone, near Verona, over the weekend of 16-17 July.
This original and innovative championship was created with the objective of being spectacular for the sailors and yet simple to follow by spectators. The event introduced new courses, new scoring systems and new race rankings, all designed to thrill not only practitioners, but also all lovers of sailing.
In the Junior/Youth event racing took place in RS Feva dinghies and the Senior event used the RS 100 single-handed dinghy. These boats were generously provided by BoatTech srl, the Racing Sailboats distributor in the area. Racing in the Junior/Youth Fleet took place on the Saturday, as was the elimination series in the Senior Fleet. The latter fleet concluded their series with semi-finals and finals held on the Sunday.
Conditions were ideal for such an event, with a breeze from the south – a wind called Ora in the Lake Garda area – of about 10-12 knots, which blew until late in the afternoon on both days of competition.
The crew of Matteo Pilati and Mattia Duchi (ITA) won the Junior/Youth event, after an exciting final race against Andrea Dall’Ora and Gianluca Virgenti (also ITA), who won the Italian RS Feva Championship only the week before. The final was raced on a one against one basis, over a parallel slalom course, the result of which determined the overall winner. “Sailing downwind in the fleet race was a lot of fun” said Matteo Pilati, at the helm of the RS Feva winning the under 18 class. “It was so exciting racing the parallel slalom,” added his crew Mattia Duchi.
In the Senior fleet Karlo Hmeljak from Slovenia won the regatta. “I’m very happy to take part in such an innovative event” he said. “I think the new course and new scoring systems are a good solution to promote sailing and I never saw so many spectators watching sailing races before!”. Marcelo Saguier from Argentina took second place, while Paul Childs (United Kingdom) finished third. “An interesting course. The RS 100 is a fast boat and I had a lot of fun, especially sailing downwind, as it was so speedy” said Paul Childs after an exciting semi-final race against Marcelo Saguier.
For logging a speed of 14.6 knots, Paul Childs received a special 'Top Speed' award, while Italian Giovanni Canazza recorded a slightly lower speed of 14.3 knots. “Very exhilarating” said Giovanni. Sailors from four different countries competed in the semi-finals of the Senior fleet, which was exciting for sailing as a whole.
All the sailors competing in both fleets found this innovative and different event different, enjoyable and very interesting. “I think it was exciting for the spectators as well” said Luca Bursic” who could watch boats tacking and jibing from a very short distance. I hope similar races will be organised in the future” commented the Italian, who raced against Paul Childs for the third and fourth place.
“We’re keen to introduce new and innovative events to sailing, events which are enjoyable for sailors of all ages, yet make it easy for the non-sailing spectator to understand what is going on. The EUROSAF Freestyle Sailing Championship is such an event and was a great success with the sailors and spectators alike. We are extremely pleased with the outcome and this encourages us to look for more innovation and development of new style sailing events in the future. Indeed, our next new and different event is the High Performance Sailing Grand Prix, for invited classes, which takes place over 13-16 October, in Murcia, Spain. This will be another first for EUROSAF,” said Marco Predieri EUROSAF President.
The EUROSAF Freestyle Championships was organised jointly by EUROSAF, the Yacht Club Acquafresca at Brenzone and the Italian Sailing Federation. It was sponsored by Marine Pool, with the generous support of RS Sailing and BoatTech, who provide all the equipment. The event will be repeated in 2012, at a venue and on a date to be agreed. EUROSAF are keen to speak to any potential sponsors of this different type of sailing event, an event at the centre of the future of sailing.