PV 2nd at Lancelin!
19th of January, 2013
Another Lancelin Ocean Classic in windy and sunny Western Australia comes to an end and it must be said: AGAIN, IT WAS A BLAST!!!!!!!
The Saturday night party was real windy from the speakers, well over 30 knots. While the music from the band and DJ at the dunes event site was top notch, the atmosphere was great and it's really the highlight of the WA season.
Now the event is finished, we can start to look forward to the next 2014 LOC.
There was a very strong international fleet of competitors this year with top riders from Australia, Switzerland, Holland, Germany, Denmark, Poland, Spain.....even 41 times world champion Bjorn Dunkerbeck flew across the globe to start in the event once again.
With tropical cyclone "Naurelle" to the North and a high pressure south, anything could happen for the marathon race on Saturday. Having already completed the Wave competition on Thursday and Kite marathon on Friday, the strong morning easterly promised a decent sea breeze, although a full cloud cover could raise some doubts about the thermic later on, but at least it allowed for a cool sleep in.
The forecast was good with 15-20 knots on sea breeze; however the BOM (bureau of meteology) issued a strong wind warning for the Lancelin coast of 20-30 knots! I got to Ledge point at 11 and people were hanging about not being sure what to rig. Some people where even talking to rig 10 / 11 m2 formula sails, but the sky was clearing fast and the easterly dropping caused the temperature to rise, so by now it was 30 C and you wouldn't want to have any sail rigged on the mast in that blistering heat.
I went to register and got start number 11, not too bad a number being the sail number of Bjorn, Finian and Josh! With a 12 am skippers meeting and 1 pm start time this year I knew at 11.45 it was now time to act seeing some white caps from the south far outside, indicating an incoming sea breeze. I rigged the 8.5 Machine M1x and prepared my 122 L Fanatic Falcon first.
After a short walk with the gear from parking spot to the beach, the timing seemed well, the sea breeze was kicking immediately at 15-20 knots. I was the first to put the gear on the beach and felt prepared and ready to race. When some people started planing on wave gear, I rigged my 6.9 Machine as well with 102 Falcon, just to be sure I would be ready for ANY conditions.
My weapon of choice was this set up of the Avanti 6.9 and 102 Liter Falcon, I knew I could run fast with it for a good start and it felt windy enough to use it, also less weed on the fin for an added bonus and on the long run easier to go fast using less energy, as long it would stay windy enough down the course. But that strong wind warning gave me hope and somehow I thought people where underestimating Lancelin, she always delivers! Here is the yearly Saturday marathon, and its pretty much windy every time.
The 5 min warning red flag up was followed by the actual start signal and the red flag coming down, being any time AFTER 5 minutes. Everyone started legging it for the water (bar one of the main contestants who ran up the beach, and lost several meters trying to get into clean air) and I had a great start getting off the beach in 2nd, right behind Dan Engdahl who had a flying start. Dan is pretty much the legend of beach starts, it must be the long legs, big steps, quick home because he always just charges off! Last year he was also miles ahead already.
A slight disadvantage was my harness line being twisted and had to rotate back around with my back hand, so kind of had to take off the accelerator and sheeted in late, but just managed to stay ahead of the Neil Pryde right upwind of me, just staying in clean air.
Steve who is also known for his great starts was behind me, but I could see him right upwind having a great run and really smoking. By the first boat I was in a little lead, until after 2 gybes there was a broad down winder and I got a little underpowered on the 6.9 while Steve managed to power by me and also Patrik started coming close around the next few gybes.
Being on the smaller gear, I could go 100% all the time, and Steve tried to reserve some energy, although sometimes I was definitely lacking some horsepower which cost me so the 3 of us stayed within range. At the last boat I managed to gybe inside of Steve and grabbed the lead once again, and I could hear the people on the boat "go Volwater!"
But as with the previous reaches they were very far down and it was hard to see where to go, I could not identify where and didn't count the boats to know if we done all 7 yet (I know, what a rookie!) So I actually didn't realize we were already going up to gate for the finish line as it went so fast, Steve seemed to be a little quicker to respond and took the lead straight back aiming downwind for what started to appear like the reef at the passage and then I followed and knew, this was turning out like quite the super close head to head battle! At least Patrik had disappeared after the gybe and it was really just me and Steve, so game on we were charging through the passage in the now flat water through the gate at about 35 knots, him being only 1 meter ahead....
From the gate to the Dunes Tavern it was really broad and I could not go as deep downwind because of the smaller sail and board as I became really underpowered and could not match the bigger sail/board and less body weight of Steve!, so I had to let it go to Steve for the 2013 LOC trophy and the check; congratz for winning this time the Ledge to Lancelin and everyone for finishing the race, it was once again really good fun and I'm happy my gear was working so well, the new M-1X sails feel really great! These were epic WA slalom conditions for the 25 km marathon.
A big thank you to the sponsors Eventscorp, kinetic IT, Shire of GinGIn, Bendigo Bank, 92.9 and off course it would not have been possible without the help of all the sponsors involved, the volunteers, the sea search and rescue and the (Crayfish) boats and drivers.
It's good to see all the windsurf enthusiasts and happy campers, party people every year to Lancelin and also more new faces :-), hope to see everyone again at next years Lancelin's Ocean Classic!
1 Steve Allen
2 Peter Volwater
3 Bjorn Dunkerbeck
4 Gunnar Asmussen
5 Jesper Orth