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wFriday, May 30, 2008

Development Initiative for Windsurfing

By Maria Lyness.
Earlier this year, when the windsurfing season was at its peak and Cape Town full of international visitors I stumbled across Peter Garzkes initiative for windsurfing with kids from the "townships". The townships are (often underdeveloped) urban living areas that, under Apartheid, were reserved for non-whites and till today are the home to the poorest South Africans. Peter had the idea to give some kids from these difficult circumstances the chance to learn windsurfing and to build bridges through the passion of our sport. I found his project extremely interesting and asked if he could do with some help for the next session. more

posted by editors at 5/30/2008 09:34:00 AM | (0) comments

wWednesday, May 28, 2008

Delta Lloyd Holland Regatta

The first race started in about 8-9 knots, I decided that I wanted to go right so I was fighting for the committee boat end of the line. I had a super start and was able to hold my own for the most part. I was about to round the windward mark in 6th or 7th, when the boat at the top mark signalled to me that I was OCS (I was disqualified because I was over the start early). A bit of a bummer - but at least I was pushing the line. I really did not think that I was over the line early, I was perfectly in line with all the girls below me but since I was the closest boat to the committee boat, I was all they saw.

Race two of the day wasn't anything special - I had a good start but wasn't able to turn that into a good result. I finished 11th or 12th, which wasn't enough to put me into the top 10 for the medal race, especially with the OCS in the previous race. So, it was unfortunate to miss out on the medal race, but it was pretty close and with starting the regatta with a DNF (did not finish) and then an OCS, it was pretty tough to make a comeback.

Today the non-medal racers (all but the top 10) had a race of our own. The wind finally came up - it was up to 25knots with very big chop and waves on our course. Somewhat challenging - many girls decided to not sail the final race. I, of course revelled in the conditions and won the race by "a country mile" the 2nd place finisher said. It felt great to let a can of whoooop-ass out finally.

I guess my next medal race will have to be at the Olympics!!!!

My regatta stint here in Europe is now over, I head home tomorrow!!! To say that the coaching I have received in the past two regattas from Jason Rhodes was incredibly valuable would be an under-statement. I have been on such a huge learning curve and we have figured out so many things that I only wish I could have learned much earlier. I will now be able to take home key aspects to work on - I have great faith in my program and I'm sure it'll all come good on the day.


posted by editors at 5/28/2008 09:34:00 AM | (0) comments

wMonday, May 19, 2008

Dora Bria

Happened already 4 months ago, but we just learned about her tragic accident: Former Brazilian windsurfing champion Dora Bria suffered a traffic accident in January. Online tribute

YouTube vid:

posted by editors at 5/19/2008 05:49:00 PM | (0) comments

wTuesday, May 13, 2008

Waiting... European Championships

Sorry about the lack of communication about the last few days of the European Championships in Brest, France. The last five days of the championship were very very long - mostly because we were postponed on shore for the majority of the days. Day 3 had us waiting onshore until 7:15 pm when the first and only race of the day was raced. The scheduled start was to be at 11 am, which means that I get there at around 9 am - so it made for a very long day..

Day 4 was a rest day where I went exploring along to coast to a really beautiful surf spot called Pointe de la Torche, about 45 minutes south from Brest. We were very lucky to have a beautiful, sunny and warm day (25 degrees). Unfortunately for our next racing day, day 5 - the weather changed dramatically, it was miserable - 8 degrees and non-stop rain and no wind. Once again we were supposed to start at 11am but were postponed on shore until about 5 pm when they finally blew the day off. Day 6 of the regatta wasn't much better weather wise, but luckily the wind collaborated a bit more and we were able to sail 2 races.

I can't say that I was very happy with the racing... it was horribly cold on the water and when hands are numb holding on to the boom become an issue. I had some very strong points in both my races but wasn't able to turn them into a result on the scoreboard. On the 7th and final day of the regatta we were supposed to have one final race and the medal races for the top 10 were to be held. Once again... no wind and lots of waiting around. 3pm was the latest they could start us, but there was still no wind so the regatta ended very uneventfully. I have never been postponed during a regatta as much as this one, the waiting around all day is almost more tiring than the racing itself as it's so hard to be on constant "stand-by" mode for hours on end. A bit odd for a place that is known for it's very windy and stormy conditions.

I finished 33rd in the regatta - a result that I'm not really thrilled about, but lots of good came out of the regatta. I had my coach, Jason Rhodes with me for the regatta and a few days prior to it. We were working on very specific technique changes and the goal of the regatta was to get solid starts, work on my strategy, especially for the first leg, while sailing with my improved technique. I can honestly say that I sailed quite well, but when trying to work on changing technique or working on something particular, the short term focus is lost a bit and the immediate results suffer a bit. Not to worry though... I am very confident that I am heading the right direction.

I write this from Medemblik, Holland - the site of the next regatta, the Delta Llyod Holland Regatta (May 21-25). I arrived here bright and early this morning (5am) after a 20 hour mission to get from Brest to here, towing a coach boat with a van that would need to be in 2nd gear up hills. Oh well - nothing a bit of sleep can't fix... luckily no dramas or break downs!

Greetings from a much warmer Holland!
Nikola Girke

posted by editors at 5/13/2008 05:04:00 PM | (0) comments

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