Alaçati Wind Fest
Coming straight off the plane from the PWA event in Japan, Race Director Emilio Galindo and PRO Ben van der Steen, immediately started a 5 day non-stop racing program that saw the Youth and Junior sailors compete in round after round of exciting slalom racing. For the first time, the PWA incorporated foil slalom as a separate discipline in a youth and junior event - allowing for non-stop action throughout the entire event with not a single moment of emptiness on the schedule.
From the very first starting gun in the U21 Fin Slalom Division, it quickly became apparent there was going to be a big fight between Armand Genevois, John Soukos, and Max Baaijen. In each round, the big three fought it out on the race course showing skills that made it clear that these sailors are ready to compete against the men on the PWA World Tour. Ultimately, the fight came down to Genevois and Soukos, who constantly battled for the top spot over the course of 15 full rounds. In the end, it was the Frenchman Armand Genevois who came out on top beating his Greek counterpart by less than 3 points.
On the girl’s side U21 Fin Division, we saw the big fights between Anna Biagiolini of Italy and the incredibly consistent Elif Ercan of Turkey. At only 16 years of age, the already multiple time junior world champion, managed to earn a brilliant haul of 10 bullets, which saw her deservedly take the title. Anna Biagiolini came in a clear second with her own display of consistent sailing, whilst there was a fight for the final place on the podium between Idil Babaoglu, Asya Vaircioglu, and Sinem Alper, which Vaircioglu would eventually win to deservedly claim the last spot on the podium.
In the U17 Boy’s Fin Division, there was a seesaw battle between the top four of Mert Kacan, Ozan Ozay, Ibrahim Ali Donmez, and Tan Tandogan. Mert Kacan showed his gybing prowess and control in the high winds to claim victory in this highly competitive division. Ozan Ozay mounted a comeback in the later stages of the event to claim 2nd after edging out Ibrahim Ali by just 0.6 of a point!
The U17 Girl’s Fin Division once again saw the power of Elif Ercan dominating her proper age group ahead of Sinem Alper and Zeynep Hacudi.
In the U15 Boy’s Fin Division, it was Kaan Erdogan who mounted a come from behind victory after Burak Orhan had built a lead earlier in the week. With a strong finish at the business end of the contest, Kaan was able to cement his victory in this hotly contested division ahead of Burak Orhan and Can Eskinazi.
Cagla Anadol was the clear winner of the U15 Girl’s Fin Division showing great consistency throughout the event. In second place, Zeynep Tecmen showed tremendous tenacity in the high winds to earn a well deserved spot on the podium followed by Damla Kurtdemir, who takes home 3rd.
The U13 Fin Division showed remarkable skills from some of the youngest competitors - especially on the windy days where winds gusted up to 30 knots. It was Yaman Ozkayagan, who showed the best speed, control, and consistency in the difficult conditions to claim the U13 title. Ali Demirci showed tremendous fighting spirit coming in 2nd, and Daghan Dalan claimed the final place on the podium after recovering from a slow start and making a strong finish.
The Foil Slalom divisions had some of the most exciting racing of the week - especially as the winds kicked in in the middle of the contest. There were incredibly exciting battles once again in the U21 Youth division between Armand Genevois from France, John Soukos from Greece, and Max Baaijen from the Netherlands. This time, however, Genevois showed more pace than the rest, so this combined with his aggressive gybing saw him claim an authoritative victory, followed by Soukos and Baaijen. These three once again showed their incredibly high level - demonstrating that they are ready to take the next step on to the Men’s PWA Slalom World Tour.
The U17 Foil Slalom saw a very close battle between the two Turks Ibrahim Ali and Tan Tandogan, and the German Benedikt Emser. After 13 rounds only 6 points separated 1st to 3rd, and it was Ibrahim Ali who took the victory showing tremendous grit after suffering a hairline crack on his foot in the middle of the week. Benedikt Emser followed in second with Tan Tandogan claiming the last spot on the podium.
In the U15 Foil Division, it was the talented Burak Orhan, who dominated throughout the week by winning a hugely impressive 10 out the 12 races. The fight for 2nd and 3rd was a great one between Cinar Tuncar and Talha Uner, who fought amazingly until the end to be separated by less than two points, but In the end it was Tuncar who would just come out on top to secure second place ahead of Uner.
The U21 Youth Foil Slalom Division saw once again a dominating performance by the relentless Elif Ercan, who had a perfect event on the foil claiming all 11 rounds. She was followed by the strong performance of Anna Biagiolini of Italy and Damla Kurtdemir of Turkey.
The last category of the Alacati Windfest was the Sompo Kid’s Cup. This was an unofficial category with kids as young as 8 years old racing a simplified course in winds at times gusting to 30 knots! These future up and coming racers looked like they had the most fun out of all the kids showing incredible excitement every day despite the difficult conditions. Irem Metin was the clear winner ahead of Selin Diaz, Melis Kocabay, and Sofia Senturk.
That brings an end to a very exciting event full of action on the water and a great atmosphere on the beach that saw Roberto Hoffmann hyping the kids up all week long. The PWA is committed to bring more Youth and Junior events to fruition for 2023 in all disciplines paving a clear pathway for the stars of the future.
A big thank you to all the sponsors of the event and to Alacati for showing once again what an incredible venue it is to host PWA events. See you next year!