A week of racing in conditions from 6 to well over 25 knots came to an end yesterday with Guy Bridge and Daniela Moroz taking the overall honors at the kiteboarding event at the 81st edition of the "Warnemuender Woche" in the north of Germany.
Warnemuende, a well known seaside resort close to Rostock, is well known for its fine-sandy beaches and reliable winds. However, once the competition started, the race committee was challenged with either no wind or too much - but in the end 8 races in the qualifying series and 8 races in the final series were held for the 45 men and 14 women from 18 countries and 4 continents.
The event started off with strong north-westerly winds of well over 20 knots and some massive, steep swell which caused some headache not only for the race committee but also parts of the competitors. While racing was put on hold for all other sailing classes, at least one round of 4 short-sharp races in the Formula Kite typical Short Track format was finished before the conditions became unmanageable. At the end of the qualifying series, the two Bridge brothers - Guy and Olly - had traded first places with Axel Mazella from France, while defending European and World Champion Nico Parlier making some unusual errors including one UFD score for crossing the starting line too early.
For the final series, the men's fleet was split into small groups of 10 each for the gold, silver and bronze fleet to take full advantage of the close racing on the 6-minute track, with competitors finishing just separated by less than a boardlength. The wind conditions for the final series again were very varying - from 6 to 18 knots - causing the most complete athlete coming out on top. For this week it was clearly Guy Bridge (GBR) who stole the show closely ahead of his older brother Olly, with Axel Mazella (FRA) completing the podium after a disqualification for former World Champion Maxime Nocher (MON).
In the women's single series the 17-year old Daniela Moroz (USA) stole the show for another time - the defending Formula Kite double world champion is on the best way to claim her third world title in two weeks time in Aarhus at the World Sailing World Championships. With bullets in all but one race there simply seems to be no competition for her at the moment and she is looking forward to the battle with her male colleagues during the KiteFoil GoldCup events later in the season, when men and women compete together for the open KiteFoil titles.
The battle for the remaining podium places was fierce though between the former world champions Elena Kalinina (RUS) and Steph Bridge (GBR), as well as Alexia Fancelli (FRA). After 14 races, Kalinina claimed the European Champion title with a second place overall and Fancelli in third. But it is clear to see that a new generation of female racers is challenging the established sailors, with 5 out of the top 10 girls being under 19 years old.
The Youth (U19) in the women's fleet went to Anais Mai Desjardin (FRA), Breiana Whitehead (AUS) and Magdalena Woyciechowska (POL)
Over in the mens fleet, the youth titles went to Toni Vodisek (SLO) ahead of Martin Dolenc (CRO) and Oliver Hansen (DEN). A very positive development to see is that app. one quarter of the competitors in the men's fleet is under 19.
At the other end of the spectrum, the winners in the mens Masters and Grandmasters categories were identical - Benjamin Petit (FRA) took the honors for another time ahead of James Johnson and Jan Blaesild (both DEN).
Overall Results Men (Download full results here
1. Guy Bridge (GBR) - 28 pts
2. Oliver Bridge (GBR) - 29 pts
3. Axel Mazella (FRA) - 40.3 pts
4. Theo de Ramecourt (FRA) - 40.3 pts
5. Maxime Nocher (MON) - 43 pts
Overall Results Women (Download full results here
1. Daniela Moroz (USA) - 12 pts
2. Elena Kalinina (RUS) - 28 pts
3. Alexia Fancelli (FRA) - 35 pts
4. Steph Bridge (GBR) - 41 pts
5. Anais Mai Desjardin (FRA) - 50 pts
The fleet is now heading to Aarhus for the long awaited 2018 World Championships from 5 to 11 August.