Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup

Day 1: A stop-start afternoon as racing begins in light winds on the opening day in Japan

With registration completed by 11:30am the 2022 Fly! ANA Yokosuka, Miura Windsurf World Cup was officially declared open at 1pm during the opening ceremony. Throughout the morning plenty of sailors took the opportunity to squeeze in a last minute tune up with moderate winds on offer, but as the start time edged closer the wind began to slowly drop, which meant the race crew needed to move the course further out in order to find competable wind - roughly 6-10 knots.

In the end, the racing turned out to be extremely stop-start with 4 general recalls in the opening 6 Men’s Heats, whilst one sailor was disqualified from the opening heat for crossing the line in the last minute, whilst not actually being involved in Heat 1 either. 

The only real upsets in the first 6 Men’s Heats were that Taty Frans (Future Fly / Point-7) and Arnon Dagan (Future Fly / NeilPryde) both failed to advance into the top 32, whilst the likes of Antoine Questel (FMX Racing / S2Maui), Bruno Martini (JP / NeilPryde) and Basile Jacquin (I-99 / Point-7) all cruised through their opening heats. 

Elsewhere, it was a largely successful day for the local Japanese sailors as 7 of them progressed into the top 32; Kouichiro Kaku (Starboard / Severne Sails), Shinya Kunieda (Patrik / Loftsails), Daisuke Ikoma (RRD / NeilPryde), Tomonori Anami (Starboard / Severne Sails), Sota Kanagami (Tabou / GA Sails), Anami Kenta and Norio Asano (Fanatic / S2Maui).

Unfortunately, only one heat of the Women’s opening elimination was able to be completed before the wind became too light. 5-time world champion - Delphine Cousin Questel (FMX Racing / S2Maui) claimed a clear cut victory in the opening quarterfinal, whilst Yuki Sunaga (Loftsails), Miki Yamabe and Veerle ten Have (Starboard / Severne Sails) secured the remaining places in the top 4 to qualify for the opening semifinal. 

Earlier in the day we asked Blanca Alabau (Starboard / Severne Sails) how she was feeling ahead of the first 5 star Women’s Slalom event since June 2021 to which she added: “I’m super excited, it’s also the first event where we are combining fin and foil. Here it’s likely that it’s mostly going to be foil, but there are a lot of girls here from outside the PWA, so it’s pretty exciting to see so many new faces here and it’s also been a long time since we competed, so I’m excited to see what happens”

This is one of the biggest Women’s racing fleets we have seen… certainly in recent years at least (28 registered sailors), what are your thoughts on seeing so many girls competing?

It’s great to see such a big fleet with a high level. Everyone is going fast, so it’ll be interesting to see how the racing plays out.

How has your preparation for the event been and what are your expectations?

“I’ve been training quite a lot. I spent the winter in Tenerife and then summer in between Tarifa and Lake Garda, which are great spots and I feel ready for everything. It would be great if we don’t have to wait on the beach ha. After that just try my best to do good starts and perform how I know I can.”

Thanks, Blanca. Good luck for the event. 

The forecast for Saturday currently looks relatively light with the best of the wind forecast for the morning. The sailors will be at 9:30am for the skippers’ meeting with the action commencing from 10am (GMT+9) onwards - depending on conditions. 


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