The 2019 WASZP European Championship started in true WASZP form, with an event bigger than has been seen for years. The excitement leading up to this event meant that both on and off the water, there was fantastic buzz and anticipation for what was set to be the event of the year, with 100 boats competing from 18 different nations, at Lake Garda, with some fantastic weather looking promising.
There was a high level of excitement during the equipment checks and registration, ensuring competitors were in good spirits, racing fairly, and dressed in the latest WASZP merchandise.
Day 1 of racing was the perfect start, everybody was up and ready to race, Lake Garda’s Ora was pumping at around 18knots, with the 2 fleets, competing in 3 races each. What could have been a logistical nightmare was handled with finesse by the fantastic race committee, ensuring the first day ran smoothly, and to time. Not surprisingly, the day was largely dominated by Spanish sailors Alexander Hogheim Dahl and Joan Costa – there were high expectations on them, and they didn’t disappoint, with almost perfect score cards.
Scotland’s reigning WASZP Games Champion Rory Hunter was also not to be missed, and wasn’t far behind, as always – impressive and exciting to watch.
Day 2 of racing wasn’t quite the seamless beginning to the racing we saw on day 1. Challenges arose when it became apparent the wind cycle had completely reset following heavy rainfall through the night. The day wasn’t lost however, Team GBR was putting on live entertainment off the water, and so the WASZP party kicked off at The Speck Stube, giving everybody a night to relax and reset, with lots of socialising, easting and drinking, bringing the day to a merry end.
Everybody rose hopefully on Day 3, and although the wind remained tricky and unpredictable, racing prevailed and every effort was made to stay of schedule. After a morning of racing, the wind died altogether, meaning qualifying couldn’t finish until later that afternoon.
Of the two fleets racing, the Silver fleet only raced once, but, what a race it was! Brilliant feedback from the Silver sailors, meant that heading into the final day the racing looked to be incredibly intense, and too close to call. The Gold fleet managed to stay on schedule getting in their two races ready for the final day of racing.
Day 4 began with a pressure to begin, was the weather on our side? A steady 13knot breeze, a tangible relief and renewed excitement for the final day began with The Gold Fleet beginning their races and reigning WASZP Games Champion Rory Hunter coming back from a difficult Day 3 with some spectacular racing. Once again though, there was absolutely no getting away from Spanish heavyweights Alexander Hogheim Dahl and Joan Costa, who really did claim this event as their own.
The Silver Fleet remained consistently tight, but after a nail-biting day of sailing, it was Calle from Sweden who shone, in perfect Lake Garda conditions to finish the Championship.
With so much build up to this fantastic event, which kicked off with a live-streamed SLALOM, followed by a WASZP Championship on a scale not seen for more than 3 years, it is difficult to know where to go from here. Don’t fear, with WASZPS simply climbing from strength to strength now, and with larger and ever-growing fleets and followers, it is no surprise that a number of competitors have already signed up for next year, which is set to be held once again at Malcesine, Lake Garda 30/07/2020-06/08/2020. It will be an incredible event of over 170 boats, watch this space!