Ross Williams joins Boardseeker to give a unique look behind the scenes of the PWA in Costa Brava....
The wind in Costa Brava had been playing games with us all week and the last day of racing was no different. The race crew did a great job in managing to finish the 4 rounds of slalom racing in very gusty shifty conditions. I was pretty disappointed in my result overall. I feel I was probably one of the fastest guys but my two big mistakes in the earlier rounds meant I couldn't came back enough to discount them both. I have been doing a lot of sailing back and forth so I was comfortable and fast, but I would of like to have more actual racing practise as that's where I feel I let myself down.
I think most guys were pretty tuned on the equipment. The difference for me was the guys who had been doing race training, this showed in their results.
It wasn't that they were faster, in fact some of the better finishes were not that fast at all, but they know what to do on the course and got the job done and were consisdent in the results.
Slowly we are starting to see more and more of the young sailors coming up. Alot of these guys only have slalom sailing experience and are putting in the hours need to improve. Julien is a very talented sailor and for sure with Antoine as a mentor and training partner would be very good guy to watch for a title in the coming years. For now, I still think Antoine himself holds the edge on the race course and is still very strong in all range of conditions.
"The wind changed pretty quickly yesterday, so everyone was left running around for the smaller gear. I didn’t get a good start to the my semi final but the sea state was pretty choppy so finally it was possible to over take at the gybe marks. I felt my speed was competitive and I was gaining a place at each gybe mark to secure my spot in the final.
I will head into the final pretty confident as I have sailed in a range of conditions in my heats: 9.5m, 8.6m, and 7.9m and both big and medium boards; all combo's seem to be delivering the goods. I will focus on getting a good clean start and bring it on to the rest of the guys.
So far, I think that Antoine F192 has been the most consistent and has the all round package in any winds. Also Alberto ITA 4 has been one of the fastest, Antoine F99 also in the lighter wind has been impressive. I think Maciek Rutkowski has shown that he is coming of age finishing 7th in the first race and now he is in the losers final, if he can continue to put in results like this he should fine himself in the top 10 at the end of the event.
I didn’t touch my equipment settings, as I know I am going fast enough to compete.
Hopefully we will finish this elimination today and also complete another, it’s hard to tell what the sea breeze will do but I think for sure there will be more ups and downs to talk about."
Boardseeker catches up with Matteo Iachino Ita-140, who placed second in the first round of racing in Costa Brava. At just 23 he is much younger than most of the top racers, though he hasn't yet shown the consistency to win an event, surely he is a name to watch both now and in the future?
My best result in a single race has been a 3rd place in Korea this year. My best result out of a complete event has been a 11th in Sylt last year.
This is my 4th year on PWA, but it's just the 2nd year that I'm doing all the events.
My weight is 91kg.
I used F2 SX 2013 82 and 69 in Korea and Challenger Sails Aero+ 9.4, 8.7, 7.9 in Korea and F2 SX 2013 82 and Challenger Aero + 9.4 here in Costa Brava.
This year I have more speed, and more of everything compared to last year due to the hard training I did this winter. My only problem is to be consistent in the results without doing a super good one and then a bad one... But little by little I will do it.. That's what I hope.
The conditions here are really hard, super light wind a bit gusty and onshore. If you make a mistake and you are out. I did really good yesterday but today I got the worst start ever and I went out.
Clarification of the racing rules for 2013, regarding lower wind limits, from the PWA:
The wind needs to be a minimum of 7 knots. But now instead of the race being cancelled when 1 sailor stops planing, there must be at least 6 sailors not planing, from the moment the leader stops planing and within a ten second period. So, sailors need to pump more if needs be rather than just complaining about the wind - we're trying to stop people who aren't qualifying from deliberately stopping planing to try and get the heat cancelled!
The race director doesn't have as much control of deeming suitable conditions anymore, if it's not dropping below 7 knots then the sailors should be racing.
Ross Williams on the first two days of racing:
The conditions for the first 2 days have been pretty light, most of the fleet were sailing on their biggest gear. I think the conditions were on the edge for good racing and maybe some heats could of been abandoned, but generally the race crew did a great job. I was in heat 7 in the first race and the wind died before I got to sail my heat on the first day. So I was one of the first to go onto the race course on the second day. I won my first heat on 9.5m and big board and 46cm fin, pretty sure everyone was using their big stuff. Then for my quarter final I took my 8.6m and big board, but unfortunately i sailed the wrong course like an idiot. I had done the hard work, I got a clean start and was leading the race, but for some reason I decided to gybe the wrong second bouy!!!! At least I know now I have good enough speed, but i just need to find my brain.
Personally I think the conditions were fine to race. I think some of the bigger guys need to trim down a bit, and go sailing more in 7 knots, take the biggest fins and sails possible. When it's windy you don't see the smaller sailors getting any favours, so it shouldn't be that these beasts of 105 to 115 kgs get let off in the lighter winds, when they already have a size advantage when the wind picks up. Antoine always seems to be tuned for every wind strength, so the other should as follow his example.
BS: You didn't compete in Korea, why not?
RW: I had just come back from a broken ankle and was not really ready to go straight into a world tour competition.
BS: What do conditions look like they could be in Costa Brava?
It’s looking pretty light, maybe some sea breezes depending on the temperature. CB can throw anything at you, so it’s best just to be ready for anything even if the forecast isn’t great.
BS: What equipment are you most likely to use?
RW: I would say my 8.6 and big board will be the most used combo.
BS: Who are the names to watch out for at the top? Aside from the big names, who else could sneak a good finish?
RW: Here there are a lot of pretty good guys, I think the Gaastra and Tabou team will put in good performances though.
BS: Do you think Alberto can produce another win?
RW: Sure he can, it will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure. I think he has the gear to win and he is working hard. But on the race course anything can happen.
BS: What finish are you aiming for?
RW: 1st place.
BS: Who's looking the most determined to improve on their previous results? And how much slalom training have you been doing?
RW: Everyone has the fire to do well. A lot of us have been here for 4 or 5 days already so that shows the commitment, I feel I am pretty ready now to race again too. I am fit, my ankle is fine and my gear is fast. I just want to get out there and race.
Make sure you check back soon for more details from the PWA Costa Brava.