Day 5 Final Showdown
Today was day 5, the final showdown of the 2009 IFCA Junior, Youth and Masters Slalom World Championships in sunny Bonaire. After a 10 AM skippers meeting the IFCA committee commenced racing at 11 AM sharp. The Masters Division was a highly competitive group of skilled athletes. Markus Poltenstein earned 1st place sailing for Austria. Markus is a passionate and dedicated sailor who came to win. Thomas Fauster was neck and neck with Markus much of the event but fell in the last lap of the final heat putting in second.. Thomas sails for Italy. Sergio Mehl A 21 placed in the 3rd position. This man is a speedy force blasting around the course with his trademark white face thanks to some much needed Zinc Oxide. He was very happy for his place representing Argentina. Bonaire’s own former Olympian Constantine Saragoza placed 4th. His island is proud of his efforts. Next he travels to Cabarete to compete.
The Junior Division had many talented competitors. Gutek Kurczewski POL 75 stayed on top throughout the event putting on the top for first place. This highly dedicated young man really earned his top spot as he sailed flawless throughout the course. Following Gutek was 15 year old Luigi Romano ITA 911. Luigi has been a very positive addition to the competitor’s fleet. He always has a smile and is confidant for a young man. On the water he is tough flying around the buoys and planing to the next round. Morane Demont FRA 59 stayed with the pack placing a well earned 3rd in the Junior Division. She loves racing with the boys and feels she earned her place. She was disappointed she did not place in the 2nd position but is looking forward to future events. Hawaii’s champion Connor Baxter US 333 placed 4th and local Amado Vrieswijk placed 5th in U 17 and first in U 15. Nik Van den Erenbeemt ARU96 placed 2nd in U 15 and Jean Patrick Van der Wolde CUR 191 placed 3rd in U 15. Jurgen Saragoza from Bonaire placed 1st in U 13, Mathias Verploeg ARU 20 placed 2nd and Steven Max Lageveen placed 3rd sailing for Curacao.
In the Youth Division Enes Yilmazer TUR 2 stayed on top throughout the event placing him in the well deserved first place. He came to win far from Turkey with many travel woes but made it here and left his mark. German Sebastian Kordel placed second after sailing well during all of his heats. His parents were on site cheering him on throughout the event. Malte Reuscher ITA 7777 won 3rd place. His black Point 7 sail was seen clearly contrasted against the Caribbean blue and his smooth sailing and beautiful jibes earned him this spot in Bonaire. It should be noted 4th place went to Turkish sailor Ege Kurt. He was very proud of his place and hopes to continue slalom course racing.
It was very challenging for the Europeans, Turkish sailors and South American sailors to come to Bonaire. Air travel was costly as well as gear transport. They all persevered lending a part in creating a new piece of Bonaire’s history. This was the island’s first professional slalom event. The camaraderie amongst the riders was astounding. By day they shared gear as some had missing luggage. They helped each other rid and de rig. Rides were shared in vehicle for the underage competitors. At the parties they danced and sang. There was exuberance in the mood as well as competition. At the end of the day they sailed. Gutek was last seen taking photos of British sailor Richard Jones, a great talent. Enes spent time sharing his windsurf story to me. He wants the world to know about the Turkish windsurf community and share his national pride. Sergio’s son Yannick walked side by side with his Dad quite proud. And as always the Bonairean island hospitality shined throughout the event.
In the grandmaster’s division some amazing seasoned veterans took to the water and added to the incredible racing comraderie. Patirk Schmelzer from Germany lead the pack winning first place. He was followed by his friend, Andreas Tezzele from Austria. The shining star of the event was one time Windsurfer of the Year (USA) Beth Winkler. Beth owns a windsurf school in the US has been racing and coaching her entire windsurf life. She now calls Bonaire home and took to the water to place third.
The darlings of the event are the Superkids, emerging talent putting out their best in their heats. The winners were Stepherd Gustowski from Bonaire in first, Sam Timmers from Bonaire in second and Sam Dem Besten also from Bonaire in third. In group B Sven Scheper from Curacao took first place, Tuur Buendts from Belgian took second and Tim Den Besten from Bonaire placed third. We are sure to see these kids in podiums in future years.
The committee that puts together events on island is a full on volunteer group. Many use vacation time to be available to stand in the blazing sun scoring points, setting up and running the various aspects of this huge infrastructure. The committee wishes to thank IFCA for believing in Bonaire and sanctioning the event. Bonaire welcomes everyone back next year for more sailing and beach culture.
The night at Taste of Bonaire was simply magical. There was a food extravaganza with local restaurants spotlighting local and ethnic cuisine. Local music entertained all and then the awards ceremony was held for the Slalom series. The treat of the night was the most spectacular fireworks display. The entire audience was wowed by the finale.
2009 IFCA Pro Kids, JUNIOR, YOUTH & MASTERS SLALOM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
Juniors (after 8 races)
1. Kurczewski, Radoslaw - POL 75
2. Romano, Luigi - ITA 911 (RRD)
3. Demont, Morane - FRA 59
Youth (after 8 races)
1. Yilmazer, Enes - TUR 2
2. Kördel, Sebastian GER 220
3. Reuscher, Malte - ITA 7777
8. Finies, Archuendro NB 77 (RRD)
Masters (after 8 races)
1. Poltenstein, Markus - AUT 30
2. Fauster, Thomas - ITA 106
3. Mehl, Sergio - A 21