What an event! The 2019 WASZP European Championship had it all, with 100 boats competing from 18 nations it was an event of scale not seen in the three-year history of the WASZP. This class is on the move big time. With so much interest in the product and in the events themselves, the WASZP has arrived.
Proceedings kicked off with equipment checks to make sure the integrity of the one-design platform was maintained and no-one had an advantage in equipment, which is at the heart of the class. Registration was seamless with all competitors getting some awesome WASZP merch for on-shore and out on the water.
With formalities out of the way it was time to get on the water and check out the action, the SLALOM event started the event with a bang, the LIVE STREAMED element of it was an amazing spectacle and so much fun for the sailors. It was then followed by the official opening ceremony hosted by Fraglia Vela Malcesine in spectacular style.
Day 1 then arrived with so much promise and it delivered with an absolutely classic Lake Garda afternoon with the Ora pumping in at 15-18 knots. With split fleets it was interesting logistically for the race committee however they did a fantastic job to get three races each for two fleets on Day 1 to put us right ahead of schedule.
The day was dominated by two heavyweights of the competition in Alexander Hogheim Dahl and Joan Costa from Spain both with near flawless score cards. Reigning WASZP Games Champion Rory Hunter from Scotland also was not too far away.
Day 2 brought with it some challenges, heavy rain the night before had reset the wind cycle and the race committee tried hard to get racing in but to no avail due to no wind. However with the WASZP Party scheduled for Speck Stube that night it gave competitors a chance to enjoy themselves with an awesome night of food, drink and socialising. Team GBR again were making a strong presence off the water providing the live music entertainment for the night.
Day 3 and it was up early to try and finish qualifying in the morning north wind, so we could begin the final series on schedule. However the wind gods didn’t play the game with three races in the morning before the breeze died, meaning we had to even up the qualifying round with one race in the afternoon before Gold and Silver split fleets.
The Gold fleet then managed to get two races in to put them on schedule going into the final day, these were very tricky races with the unsettled and unfamiliar Garda wind causing snakes and ladders on the race track. Silver fleet also got one race in and the feedback from the silver fleet sailors was that they loved the format, the racing was so tight and lots of individual battles happening within the fleet.
The final day came and everyone was again rigged early to make sure we got all the racing in. The Ora was back and back in a big way, Gold fleet began the first of their three races for the day in a beautiful 12-14 knot breeze, creating an ultra competitive fleet scenario, any one of 20 boats were able to win a heat on their day.
Rory Hunter found his mojo after a difficult third day, claiming a 1,2,2 scorecard to finish the day. However it wasn’t to be with Spaniard Joan Costa proving too good and way too consistent across the wide range of conditions. The final Gold race and the the Silver fleet racing was held in perfect Garda conditions nudging up towards 18 knots and dead flat water. The Silver fleet enjoyed the racing and were also super tight on points with Calle from Sweden winning on a countback from Sarah from Norway.
Overall it was an unbelievable event with everyone looking towards the future. 2019 still has some life left in it, but as we look towards 2020, it will be a massive year particularly in Europe, the formation of a Euro Cup circuit with dates to be confirmed and the International WASZP Games heading for Lake Garda and Malcesine again on the 30 July to the 6th August.
Already a number of competitors have already booked accommodation, so don’t miss out as it will be an amazing event with 170-plus boats. Can the Aussies, the Kiwis or the Americans make an impact in Europe? We will have to wait and see!
Day 1 Video
Day 2 Video
Day 3 Video
Day 4 Video