Today was day 5, the final showdown of the 2009 IFCA Junior, Youth and Masters Slalom World Championships in sunny Bonaire. After a 10 AM skippers meeting the IFCA committee commenced racing at 11 AM sharp. The Masters Division was a highly competitive group of skilled athletes. Markus Poltenstein earned 1st place sailing for Austria. Markus is a passionate and dedicated sailor who came to win. Thomas Fauster was neck and neck with Markus much of the event but fell in the last lap of the final heat putting in second. Thomas sails for Italy. Sergio Mehl A 21 placed in the 3rd position. This man is a speedy force blasting around the course with his trademark white face thanks to some much needed Zinc Oxide. He was very happy for his place representing Argentina. Bonaire's own former Olympian Constantine Saragoza placed 4th. His island is proud of his efforts. Next he travels to Cabarete to compete.
The Junior Division had many talented competitors. Gutek Kurczewski POL 75 stayed on top throughout the event putting on the top for first place. This highly dedicated young man really earned his top spot as he sailed flawless throughout the course. Following Gutek was 15 year old Luigi Romano ITA 911. Luigi has been a very positive addition to the competitors fleet. He always has a smile and is confidant for a young man. On the water he is tough flying around the buoys and planing to the next round. Morane Demont FRA 59 stayed with the pack placing a well earned 3rd in the Junior Division. She loves racing with the boys and feels she earned her place. She was disappointed she did not place in the 2nd position but is looking forward to future events. Hawaii's champion Connor Baxter US 333 placed 4th and local Amado Vrieswijk placed 5th in U 17 and first in U 15. Nik Van den Erenbeemt ARU96 placed 2nd in U 15 and Jean Patrick Van der Wolde CUR 191 placed 3rd in U 15. Jurgen Saragoza from Bonaire placed 1st in U 13, Mathias Verploeg ARU 20 placed 2nd and Steven Max Lageveen placed 3rd sailing for Curacao.
In the Youth Division Enes Yilmazer TUR 2 stayed on top throughout the event placing him in the well deserved first place. He came to win far from Turkey with many travel woes but made it here and left his mark. German Sebastian Kordel placed second after sailing well during all of his heats. His parents were on site cheering him on throughout the event. Malte Reuscher ITA 7777 won 3rd place. His black Point 7 sail was seen clearly contrasted against the Caribbean blue and his smooth sailing and beautiful jibes earned him this spot in Bonaire. It should be noted 4th place went to Turkish sailor Ege Kurt. He was very proud of his place and hopes to continue slalom course racing.
It was very challenging for the Europeans, Turkish sailors and South American sailors to come to Bonaire. Air travel was costly as well as gear transport. They all persevered lending a part in creating a new piece of Bonaire's history. This was the island's first professional slalom event. The camaraderie amongst the riders was astounding. By day they shared gear as some had missing luggage. They helped each other rig and de rig. Rides were shared in vehicle for the underage competitors. At the parties they danced and sang. There was exuberance in the mood as well as competition. At the end of the day they sailed. Gutek was last seen taking photos of British sailor Richard Jones, a great talent. Enes spent time sharing his windsurf story to me. He wants the world to know about the Turkish windsurf community and share his national pride. Sergio's son Yannick walked side by side with his Dad quite proud. And as always the Bonairean island hospitality shined throughout the event.
The committee that puts together events on island is a full on volunteer group. Many use vacation time to be available to stand in the blazing sun scoring points, setting up and running the various aspects of this huge infrastructure. The committee wishes to thank IFCA for believing in Bonaire and sanctioning the event. Bonaire welcomes everyone back next year for more sailing and beach culture.
Tonight is Taste of Bonaire, a culinary exposition, the closing of the Slalom event and the awards. Tomorrow is the opening of Pro Kids Freestyle. There is two more days of sailing and fun.
What a difference a day makes. The sun was shining brightly and the winds were blowing creating a nice day of sailing. Heats were postponed when I left at 4:30, to change the course. The winds kept shifting creating some challenges the marks. Twice today the committee members moved buoys around. Luigi Romano, from Italy and Nicole Van de Velden, from Aruba both expressed frustration on the course. Nicole also had some gear issues impacting her heats. The winds kept squirrelling around making it a challenge for riders and committe members. The IFCA officials did a great job running the heats for day 4.
In the Master's Division, heat 1, afternoon session, Argentinian Sergio Mehl had a great day of sailing. Diego Domenianni sailing for the US , raced well placing third in this heat of the afternoon. In the heat 2 group, Marcus Poltenstein took first and Italian Thomas Fauster blazed a close second. Former Olympian Patun Saragoza followed a close 3rd. Event organizer Elvis Martinus took to the course after a long day of work and organization.
Enes Yilmazer a Turkish student studying in Corpus Christi continued to reign today in the afternoon heats. Malta Reuscher from Italy commanded the heats and came in second in heat 2 this afternoon. Richard Jones, despite a heavy night of dancing and partying was rising to the occasion placing third. In the other group, Sebastian Kordel from Germany was top sailor in his heat sailing on a 7.8 sail. He was far from the packing leading the way to the finish. Ege Kurt from Turkey placed second and Sara Quita , the shining star of Aruba came in third. Gutek Kerzewski is still on fire dominating his heats.
The Superkids were getting ready to sail as the day came to an end. More results will follow tomorrow. Tonight at Sorobon there is DJ music and dance. Tomorrow is the final day of the Slalom Series. Action photos from Marco Di Gianvito, a free lance photographer are available for purchase. Email email@example.com
A special thanks goes out to all our sponsors and the many volunteers who make this local event happen.
The weather contrast from yesterday to today is vastly different. The winds are well below the wind minimum for racing so heats were postponed. The riders are taking a break from two days of course racing working on email correspondence, listening to music, catching up on windsurf news and tuning gear. Many are taking to the sea to enjoy the Caribbean blue.
In the Master's Division Sergio Mehl A 21 is creeping up to the 3rd spot. Thomas Faust ITA 106 still earns top spot but Markus Poltenstein, AUT 30 knows it's not over yet. In the Youth Division Enes Yilmazer TUR 2 is determined to hold the top spot in his division. He is a confident talent riding for JP Australia and North Sails. Sebastien Kordel GER 220 is focused on remaining in the top 3 positions. Malte Reuscher ITA 7777 is the most easily visible sailor with his black Point 7 sail. He is a worthy opponent to watch in future heats. In the Junior Division Luigi Romano is still on top despite a disqualification. Sail ITA 911 is riding for RRD and Simmer Sails. Gutek Kurzewski POL 75 was resting during todays no wind afternoon in preparation for future heats. He is confident and determined. Morane Demont from France is a driving force staying in the top 3 against her male opponents. Morane rides for Starboard and Severne Sails.
Everyone is gearing up for the big night in Rincon tonight. At 5 PM the Paranda Party Bus leaves Sorobon for an island tour. At 7 the villagers of Rincon will host a night of music and culture at Magazina di Rei. Once the site of grain and food storage in the days of slavery, this is a historic building steeped in history. There will be traditional fire dancing, local food and music.
Last night the freestyle under the stars was phenomenal. This a fun informal event spotlighting local talent. It was a brisk windy night. Judges Ro Mayer, Mac, Jaeger and Elvis coordinated single ladder 3 min heats to see who would be crowned King of the Night. Kiri Thode won the title King of the Night for planing freestyle while Caesar Finies won the title for non planing. There was a lovely chicken BBQ and local music.
Thur.is Day 4 and races are slated to start 11 AM. The evening format is food and culture at Sorobon.
Mother Nature ushered in some heavy duty winds that commenced overnight and continued in to day 2 of the IFCA Bonaire Slalom World Event. The winds were blowing 19-25 mph all day with higher gusts. Everyone rigged down and prepared for an intense day of course racing. The skippers meeting was held at 10 and racing began at 11. In the Masters Division Markus Poltenstein AUT 2 was a driving force along the race course today. On his heels was Thomas Fauster ITA 105 who blasted around the marks sometimes leading the pack. Close behind the tops sailors today was Diego Domenianni USA 05 who tuned his gear to perfection for today's wind.
In the Youth Division Enes Yilmazer TUR 2 dominated the heats blazing his way through the choppy course. The winds created some challenging conditions that did not stop this young talent. Richard Jones GBR 32 donned a helmet cam for some of his heats. He is loving the warm water and is pushing it to the limits to stay in the top of the pack. Sebastian Kordel GER 220 has missing his gear as it was delayed in arriving but today he had his own kit and blasted with the pack through the course.
In the Junior Division Luigi Romano ITA 911 was leading the division until he was disqualified for crossing the starting line too fast. Other overzealous racers were also disqualified throughout the day. Luigi remains confidant he will dominate in later heats. Gutek Kurczewski POL 75 is fast and loves the Bonaire conditions. This soft spoken sailor has much atheletic finess on the race course. Morane Demont FRA 59 rigged a 6.5 sail in today's wild and windy day 2 and held on tight staying in the top 3 during the day. After 3 heats she was exhausted but prepared to continue.
The Superkids are a motivated group including Sam Timmers NB 99, seasoned sailor Esther van Zadelhoff CUR 36 and CUR 1 Mitchell de Palm. They have their own course designed to provide a challenging race experience.
The mood is lively and the competitors are gearing up for a BBQ and music session at Lac Bay. Everyone hopes Mother Nature continues to cooperate.
Today one marked the first day of the premiere IFCA Slalom Event on Bonaire. Windguru, our official weather site predicted winds of about 15 and they were right on. A healthy dose of Caribbean trades kept the sailors happy. Most trained early in the day on 8.0 and higher sails. At the 11 AM skipper's meeting, all eyes were on Bruno de Wannemaeker, the event director from IFCA. He introduced the international jury of judges and his fellow committee members. Bruno outlined the race format, explained the flag sequences and the course details. As of this morning 84 participants registered with 14 representing an international mix of master sailors.
Heats ran from 12:45 past 4 PM. Eric Kling from IFCA kept score under the judging tower. Sailors were quite pleased overall with the course and wind strength. Some complained of lighter winds at the start but by the second and third marks the trades blew down the wind tunnel from the channel to the base of the bay. Some of the leading sailors dominating so far include Luigi Romano, a hot shot 15 year old from Italy. Markus Poultenstein from Austria is a name to watch during this event. One cool site was the black sail owned by Malta Reuscher from Italy. His new Point 7 black sail was visible throughout the race. Very cool brand. Argentinian Sergio Mehl just arrived from Aruba Hi Winds and was ready to compete. He is a clear talent with years of windsurfing experience behind him. Morane Demont, a talented 16 year old from Martinique kept up with her male counterparts in her heats scoring very well. She was on a 7.5 meter Severne sail and a 111 Starboard. Morane hopes to continue to progress in her heats.
Countries represented at the Bonaire event include Turkey, Italy, Germany, the UK, Argentina, USA, France, The ABC islands, Venezuela, Austria, Denmark and The Netherlands.
Elvis Martinue and his team of all volunteers really made it happen in true Bonaire fashion. Each night Sorobon is the site for music and food. DJ Explosion pumps music after the event into the dark.