2017 WISSA – LARGER THAN EVER

The 2017 WISSA is now over.

180 racers gathered in Togliatti city of Russia and fought the nature – first the strong winds and then the melting snow. The organizers did very well considering the circumstances and the fact that it is only the second time a WISSA takes place in Russia and first time on the Zhigulev Sea. Some 7.000 spectators attended the venue during the final two days of the event. Even with little international exposure, WISSA has certainly resulted in recognition of the sport on the Russian scene – both among public and decision making personnel. Getting winter sailing into Winter Olympics would be a great achievement and Russian racers would have a lot to say there. From the entire scope of disciplines available only snow-kiting and short track slalom present formidable options, STS being probably the most spectator friendly and standardized.

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 Day 1 – course racing in 15+ m/s wind on a very bumpy hard packed snow track, scary, but interesting.

Day 2 – slalom fitted between several puddles in strong wind again

Day 3 – everything was melting, four starts of course racing with 9-10 sq.m. sails, low speed, lots of pumping

Day 4 – just one start that shouldn’t even be there, not enough wind, more than 50% of the fleet not able to sail, result considered valid only after protest hearing due to ISAAF rule prevailing over WWR4 rule. Next year “non sailable conditions” will be defined more clearly!

Day 5 – Slalom attempts and marathon

Day 6 – Slalom races, finished only one hour before closing the event and prize giving ceremony

Monchegorsk team from Northern Russia came prepared best for course race in difficult snow conditions and Alexandr Trofimenko won before Evgeniy Mitrofanov from the same team.

The creator of the wide sled, Vadim Volotskoi came with updated version, MUST2, now with ski angle that can be adjusted during the race in “raceboard style” came third.

Vadim Volotskoi : My own goal was to challenge these whenever I could, but being not an expert in ski waxing for such wet conditions and lacking snow practice during past three years I ended up 9th.

Zhigulev Sea marathon is an interesting affair with total of ca. 70 kms to sail. First lap was in cross wind conditions and is relatively easy to sail. This allows even beginners to get their standing from the race. It is a DEFI-like thing with everyone smashing in the same direction and returning back after some while. Second and third laps are going upwind and in final scoring first everyone who has done full three laps gets a score, then two lap performers and the only one lap “easy riders”.

This time conditions were nearly suicidal for sails and only two racers made two laps. Valentin Dobryshevskiy was in his own class sailing on a traditional monoski. Grigoriy Kokus followed him on a wide sled with 9.5 RS-X sail. Evgeniy Mitrofanov was also this time on podium.

Evgeniy Mitrofanov : I couldn’t compete as we were waiting for possible slalom starts that never took place that day. Even though marathon is nice, I would hate to give my Champion title away for free!

On Saturday-Sunday night temperature was finally sub-zero and we ended up with a slalom track that was a lot better than on Wednesday. Richards Liepins waited for the wind to pick up and then ran another set of 7 starts with two qualifications. Boris Ljubtshenko gave me no rest at any stage – we fought at starts, almost in every turn and also on all straights. Amazingly there were no collisions or DSQs, just very fast tempo:

 – check the sled and trims

– take your starting position

– think every step for first five seconds

– explode forwards at the start

– keep the lead

– do not let them overtake you at first mark

– pick up the right turning point at a split of a second

– pump away like an animal

– keep the focus at every mark

– accelerate to full speed towards the finish line

And that repeated over and over again every 15 minutes. Sander Aur is an Estonian newcomer who had to try it all – damaged his board, sail and few other things, DNS, DSQ, DNF. One collision, several crashes, and then finally, at the last start climbing to the first fleet. Was definitely the Happiest guy of the day!

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WISSA has a tradition of two annual trophies. Viktor Hendriksson a “great sportsmanship” the award was given in memory of a former WISSA competitor who brought winter sailors from East and West together in 1991. He got killed on a search and rescue mission (his real work) and in his memory the trophy is given each year.

This time it was Alexei Razhev, long time WISSA competitor and organizer of this event.

BEST DESIGN is given for a construction that provides new level in development – in past years it has been given to constructions like Hiberna, ELF kite, Snowfer, MUST and also others who remained lower in numbers but provided inspiration for further developments.

This year there was competitors’ vote for 8 nominations and Vadim Volotskoi’s updated MUST2 sled was selected with Russian Custom-made speed skis, Ukranian Aeros kite and Atomic Speed Ski were very close to each other for the second position.



 In total it can be said, that the event was successful despite all the challenges and the remote location.

Next WISSA is scheduled to take place on 26.2 – 4.3. in Lahti, Finland.


By : Feodor Gurvits | Wissa2017 | en.wissa-2017.snowkiterussia.com

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WISSA 2017 Results

WISSA RACING WILL GO ON

DO NOT GIVE UP – WISSA RACING WILL GO ON, WITH OR WITHOUT YOU!

 

 LADA WISSA World Championship continues in Togliatti in Russia. Sudden wave of warm air is affecting the venue. Second racing day (Wednesday) started with the kiters waiting for 15-17 m/s wind to cease down a little bit before first course race could start. No mercy was given for windsurfing competitors.

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Ploughed snow from STS racing area became heavy with water melting and casing the ice to sink and water to rise on both edges of the track. Instead of ”the normal downwind” we ended up with ”a figure eight” and three knee-deep puddles. One ”the starting puddle” was meant for winner of the previous race – positions being given in accordance with result of previous start. If number two chose to go slightly upwind, the previous winner had to slow down or go swimming. That naturally caused certain turbulence in results of the races. ”the Puddle of disgrace” was directly under the second mark. Any misjudgement or trembling due to fear sent competitors flying into a snow wall through couple of meters of water. ”the Puddle of glory” was awaiting those competitors who wanted to keep maximum speed until the finish line and slowed down there.

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Our Slalom judge decided to go for safety first and divided the competitors in smaller fleets reducing the chances for accidents to a minimum. Clearing this track at 12-14 m/s winds with three colleagues wanting to get ahead of you was a hair- raising (or pretty wet) experience for everyone. A total of seven starts, for the four fleets.

Feodor Gurvits Quotes:I personally started in the worst possible way taking DSQ from the first start by overstepping the starting platform. This presented my competitors with 6 points ”for free” as I took 4 points from this start and moved to the second fleet getting 5 points as I won it in the next start. In the meantime my worst competitors took 1 and 2 and 2 and 1 points each. However it wasn’t easy for anyone. First fleet victories were split between three racers – me, Meelis Rang and Boris Ljubtsenko had two or three each and dropped to the second fleet once. Maybe it was just luck, but I ended up leading by 0,7 and 2,0 points. It is also interesting that we had exactly same result in the Estonian Ice sailing Slalom Championship one week before WISSA“.



 

On day three the wind dropped,

but the amount of water did not. Normally no sensible person goes sailing into knee-deep mixture of snow and water with a weak wind, but today it was WISSA and we have some of the best Russian competitors taking part in it. Sailing big, 9,5 sq.m. sailing with a speed of 5 or maximum 15 km/h is not much of a joy, but nobody gives up if others are fighting too. Surprisingly sailing tactics still exist even at these speeds. Four starts, muscular coma and some changes in the result table. Just 48 hours earlier we were flying the same area at 50-70 km/h rounding the entire track twice in 12-15 minutes (and complaining about that too). This is actually what WISSA is about.

You just have to push yourself out of your comfort zone and start learning from the best.

Sometimes it is about sailing, sometimes about waxing your skis properly or just taking the right kind of the sail. Occasionally it is also about mental strength and being at the start line at the right time!



 

By : Feodor Gurvits | Wissa2017 | en.wissa-2017.snowkiterussia.com

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WISSA 2017 Results

HARD CORE ON ICE AT THE WISSA 2017

World Championship in winter sailing

World Championship in winter sailing, WISSA 2017 has started in Togliatti area, Russia. WISSA is a windsurfing event that has now continued constantly for 37 years in a row – no single event on water has survived for so long. Traditionally it has been held every second year in Europe and every other second in United States or Canada, but 2017 is an exception. WISSA has also been the first international race to welcome kite wings, kites, kite snowboards and winter slalom as new disciplines.

Presently Russia is clear number one in kite course race and freestyle, so no wonder that 121 participants have registered for kite races on skis and snowboards and 22 for freestyle with 115 Russian participants. Kite wing class has gathered only three participants this time, but windsurf, the ”orthodox” class of winter sailing has got 39 competitors (surprisingly Estonian team is second largest one). Windsurfers are racing in two disciplines – course race and short track slalom. At Final o the last day a Marathon is also on our plannings.

The Sailing area is more than suitable – several kilometers of excellent ice with great wind forecast for entire week hitting the venue place almost head-on. After two days of practice first races begun on Tuesday 21.2.2017. With the Surface being hard packed snow with 20 – 40 cm dunes, occasional wet patches and wind varying between 10 and 15 m/s, it has been a Killer for those, who came unprepared. However, it’s always easy if you know how to do it!

Windsurfers and kitewings had 4 perfect course race starts with Aleksandr Trofimenko leading the race now with total of 2,8 points Vadim Volotskoi being second with score of 10,0 points. There was no time left for slalom starts, hope there will be some starts tomorrow.

Feodor Gurvits Quotes:I myself raced with WIIMA sled and 5.0 sail entire day apart from one silly attempt to survive with 6.3. I have to say that I have say that I have now deep respect for Russian juniors racing with seven meter sails in these conditions – they did not seem to enjoy it too much, but did not quit either“.

Course race start goes in winter as following: you line up on a fixed start line. First starting positions are random, then winner takes middle place on starboard tack, number two goes port, number three starboard and so on. Starting procedure is normal with flags rising in the same manner as on water. After the last one goes down it is permitted to take few running steps (not too many in wind like this) and it is normal upwind battle. Speeds are around 20-45 km/h and jumps are as interesting as on water, only bad landing may hurt a bit more. Wind is also shifting sometimes, so it is pretty much about sailing well and reading changes, but there is no wind pattern on water to observe. Rules of sailing are not much different from summer times and port has to give way to starboard reaching the upper mark. Rounding the upper mark is a sling shot experience, your speed doubles on ice, in few seconds is something, but on snow there is lot more adrenaline you might ever get on water. Sailing at the very limit of it you smash down as deep as you dare and at some stage prepare for the first downwind jibe. Winter slalom jibes are easy, but if you are not sure, do not try a full speed down-wind jibe with snow jumps. Downwind mark is easy to round and last battles are fought pushing it to the limit before the finish line. Few minutes rest and next start is up.



Who says winter windsurfing is not THE REAL STUFF?

By : Feodor Gurvits | Wissa2017 | en.wissa-2017.snowkiterussia.com

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WISSA 2017 RESULTS