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Image: Shane Baker

Home from the Worlds!!

US Sailors Compete at the 2023 Windsurfer World Championships in Perth, Australia

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Brett (USA 13) charging out at the pin end                   Photo: Shane Baker

Way to go Lanee Beashel, Mark Powell, Brett Davis, and Jaime Malm!  These seasoned windsurfers, hailing from various parts of the US, recently competed in the 2023 MPS Windsurfer World Championships hosted by the South of Perth Yacht Club in Australia. They became part of a huge fleet comprised of international participants and a hefty number of talented Aussies hungry to represent their home country.

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All smiles before the races: Jaime, Mark, Brett

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Homage to the hometown club

Jaime and Brett staying cool in the shade

The event opened with two days of course racing.  On Day 1 conditions on the Swan River were “light and shifty”. Day 2 got “super sporty” as Brett described it, with the Freemantle Doctor kicking in in the afternoon bringing gusts to the mid twenties. 

Photos: Shane Baker

The marathon was held in a solid 18-24 knot breeze on the afternoon of day 3. From the photos and drone footage, it looked as if the start line of colorful sails stretched on for miles! It proved to be a tough race, putting competitors to the test on screaming reaches with big gusts and spray flying off the boards. 

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Photo: Shane Baker

Days 4, 5, and 6 saw slalom action, freestyle, and the conclusion of course racing. Brett was especially happy with his results in slalom, this being his first time competing in that discipline. Thank you Brett and Mark, for posting daily updates to the USWCA Facebook page so onlookers from afar could revel in the incredible athleticism on display, pick up a rigging tip or two, and share in the excitement of meeting new friends from around the world.

Photos: Shane Baker

If you followed the action on social media, you’d have noticed many comments from competitors, organizers, and others about the spirit of sailing in the Windsurfer Class: it’s 50% fair racing and 50% social fun. As Mark said in one of his posts, “The windsurfer class is all about inclusivity, fun, and fair racing…a class that’s inclusive enough to add age categories!” Mark, who’s sailed in several world championships over the years, earned 1st Place in the Super Legend age group in his weight category. 

Mark with fellow medalists and super legend competitors

Lanee, a four-time Olympic windsurfer currently living in Australia, sailed a fantastic regatta to finish 1st place overall in the women’s division. We also want to mention Valentina Vix, sailing in her second Windsurfer worlds in a row, who represented Venezuela but lives and sails in Florida. She finished 8th overall in the women’s fleet. 

For Brett and Jaime, both top-level racers in several sailing classes, this was their first world championship experience on a Windsurfer, and they were stoked. Congratulations to all —Lanee, Mark, Brett, Jaime, and Valentina — for your effort and achievement!

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Brett with 1984 Olympic gold medalist and former Windsurfer world champion Bruce Wylie

Everyone had a fantastic experience and all agreed that the Australians put on an amazing event. As Brett said, “The Aussie hospitality was the best!”

Cheers to our windsurfing friends Down Under!

 For the complete wrap-up from Perth: www.sopyc.com.au/windsurfer-worlds-2023/

West Coast Tour Galleries: The Gorge, Seattle, Sacramento, Foster City

First stop:  The Gorge  7/7-9/2023

photos and videos: Caroll-Ann Alie

Gorge Olympic Cup: Windy and Wild!                                                        Mark Powell

This event was conceived and organized by Caroll-Ann Alie the past three seasons.  In Cups 1 and 2 the IQ Foil Olympic windsurfing class was featured but this season the Olympic contenders were all in Europe competing to represent Team USA at the Paris Olympics.  Therefore a seasoned, mature Olympic class was brought in, the Windsurfer LT Class, which first appeared (in slightly heavier and lower tech form) in the Demonstration event of the 1984 LA Olympics. Cobra International provided a fleet of ten boards to kick off the West Coast Windsurfer LT Tour, and the Gorge Olympic Cup at Stevenson, WA was the first stop.  The 3-day event started out (once all the boards and rigs were fitted out) with a rigging clinic on the spacious lawn at Bob’s Beach.  Many mature athletes who were out sailing their own windsurfing or foiling gear stopped by to marvel at the board that they first learned on and one brave soul, Stefan from Arizona, donned his helmet for an evening sail in afternoon winds gusting to 25 kts.  In the evening Caroll-Ann prepared a spread and we enjoyed dinner in the Ponderosa Room of the Pine and Wilder Resort.

 

Saturday the races were delayed a bit until the women’s 6 person outrigger canoe downwind race started (a spectacular sight on its own).  By noon a windward-leeward  windsurfer course was set by PRO Craig Daniels with help from mark setter Karl Waldman and his helpers RIley Powell and Spencer Duffy, and a few rugged sailors went out into winds already gusting above 25 kts.  Our star Olympian and race organizer Caroll-Ann was sidelined by a hand injury but was out on patrol in her Tornado RIB.  Saturday’s races were dominated by former Canadian National Team members Gabrielle and Stefan.  It was their first time on the LT but they proved it can be raced in winds that were now gusting over 30.  Also impressive for even getting out to the race course were Greg Mejlaender, Stefan from AZ, Joe Waldman, and Barbara Belt, who had the flattest LT sail I have ever seen. My goal for Saturday was to just go for a sail and I did…. I lasted about 5 minutes just before the start of the outrigger canoe downwinder. Saturday night we returned to the Ponderosa Room at Pine and Wilder for Pizza and craft beer.

 

On Sunday races started at 9:00 am in much more approachable 12 kts and five races were held.  By the 5th race only 3 sailors were still standing and the wind was nuking again like it was on Saturday. Again it was a Canadian National Team reunion but Barbara Belt and I were able to mix it up a bit with them in a couple of races.  There were some lead changes and strategic decisions to be made. The west wind was shifty and gusty and the current was going against the wind, and stronger mid river than closer to shore. Timing the starboard lay line tack was crucial to catch the “elevator” (favorable upwind current) without over standing the mark.  I was very happy to sail 3 races!

 

We all had a blast reintroducing the windsurfer class to the Gorge!  Special thanks to the tireless efforts of Caroll-Ann Alie “She’s here, She’s there, She’s f’ing everywhere” driving 120 miles roundtrip each day, patrolling on the water, driving the 26ft Uhaul Truck across white-knuckler bridges, unloading boards, recycling cardboard, you name it she was doing it!  Thanks also to our various West Coast Tour supporters:  Cobra International for providing a fleet of charter Windsurfer LT’s, Chinook for providing harness lines for all the charter boards, Columbia Gorge Racing Association, Goya, Arntson Marine, Tajima-Direct Lenses, and Pine and Wilder for letting us use the Ponderosa Room at their race site cabin resort.

 

Lots of stoked and thankful longboard sailors enjoyed the Windsurfer revival!

Second Stop: Seattle's Lake Washington  7/14-16/2023

The Seattle Windsurfer Cup was hosted at the Sail Sand Point Community Boating Center on Lake Washington.  Local boardsailor Greg Mejlaender put together an awesome event with a full schedule of clinics, social sails, fun races, and apres-sail gatherings. A sizable group of boardsailors from all over the Seattle area and beyond came out to try the Windsurfer LT’s and were treated to beautiful weather and fair winds.  Many thanks to Greg and his volunteers for organizing the event!

Video: Caroll-Ann Alie

Big smiles all around!!

Photos: Caroll-Ann Alie and Greg Mejlaender
Third Stop: Sacramento, CA  7/29-30/2023

On the Road Again…that could have been Caroll-Ann’s theme song this tour, as she drove the charter fleet from the Gorge event to Seattle and back again and then to Sacramento! Participants had two great days of sailing in sunny, warm breezes and warm water.  Organizer John Mathias hosted the event at the Lake Washington Sailing Club, a friendly and laid-back spot popular with local sailors and windsurfers.  Course racing filled the day on Saturday with Bradley Wilson coming out on top. On Sunday the day started with a skills clinic for all, followed by a pursuit race up the shipping channel.  Thank you John, Caroll-Ann, Owain, and the great group of volunteers from the club who made this a fantastic weekend!

Photos: Caroll-Ann Alie and Owain Chilton

Fourth Stop: Foster City, CA  8/5-6/2023

Fantastic fun and racing was had on the Foster City Lagoon, home of Fleet 18. Many thanks to our USWCA board member Owain Chilton and his family for organizing two great days of sailing and socializing. The Lagoon was a perfect spot for enjoying time on the water --  with easy access, plenty for friends and family to do shoreside, and spectator-friendly!