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