It was a tough few days on the water as the RS:X Windsurfing South American Championships reached the halfway stage with seven races on the scoreboard for the Men, Women and Youth fleets. Racing on the beautiful waters of Paracas, Peru, it was a day where racing was held towards the upper wind speed limit and where size and fitness would be crucial if any ambitions were held of wining this event. With 8 different nations represented and crucial Panam Games spots available, the racing was tense and thrilling as the RS:X sailors buzzed around the course in high adrenaline, tight, tactical racing on both days.
In the Men’s fleet, Arubas Mack Van Den Eerenbeemt claimed the opening days two races with victory in both and then followed this up by winning three out of the five races on the second day and leads overall. Van Den Eerenbeert did not have it all his own way and was chased very hard for the wins by Brazils Gariel Bastos and Argentina’s Bautista Saubidet Birkner who both claimed a race win from the Aruban sailor and Bastos and Saubidet Birkner sit in second and third places overall respectively. The experienced RS:X racers found it tough going in the strong breezes against the young guns with three time Olympian Reutemann from Argentina sitting in sixth with Flores from Venezuela in seventh.
In the Women’s fleet, local heroine Maria Belen Bazo German has had the racing all her own way and has dominated the fleet here and with seven straight race wins. Consistency is throughout the scoreboard for this fleet with Maria Celia Tejerina Mackern from Argentina holding all second places on hers and Bruna Mello from Brazil counting all third places – unsurprisingly they are in second and third overall. The racing has been close and with those three countries battling it out for the medals it will be interesting to see if either Mackern or Mello will be able to take race wins from German and upset her perfect scores.
The Youth had a much more difficult day, with the five races held on the second day being close to the top end of their limits – some very tired bodies were hitting the beach in the afternoon. It is very much a two way battle between Marcos Quiroga and Martin Nores from Argentina who between them have taken all of the race wins. Quiroga sits on top counting five race wins to Nores’ two but the overall points are much tighter and the final two days of racing will be fascinating to watch. Behind them in third is a gaggle of Brazilians with Lobo and Plentz tied on points for third.
For the organisers, this event is crucial in the planning for the Peruvian Sailing Federation (PSF) heading towards the Pan American Games which Peru are hosting in 2019. Jorge Barreda, PSF President, is delighted that the RS:X and Techno Classes have come to Peru for the South American Championships, “I have fought hard to bring sailing to this beautiful venue which has perfect winds for windsurfing. This event is a qualifier to the Pan American Games and it is great to be able to show off this venue to visiting sailors and teams”. Qualification criteria allows three countries from the Men’s fleet and three countries from the Women’s fleet to qualify for the Games with Peru as host nation automatically gaining a spot.
Racing continues on Saturday and Sunday with even more wind forecast, not relenting at all and pushing all of the competitors to their physical edge. With another 8 races scheduled and all of the fleets competitive and tight on points, its going to be a tough weekends racing to sort out titles and qualification spots.
Text: Bas Edmonds / RS:X Class
Event website: http://sa2018.internationalwindsurfing.com/