Ashkenazi stretches her legs at Kitefoiling Youth Worlds

Maya Ashkenazi, Singapore’s Max Maeder and Poland’s Jan Koszowski excelled on Day 3 of the Kitefoiling Youth World Championships in Sardinia, each scoring three wins from four races.

The day brought a strong but unpredictable breeze that made it hard to choose the right size kite. As ever, staying out of trouble was a vital part of success, and avoiding the ever-present risk of a high-speed wipeout.

A kite line-out – Robert Hajduk IKA media pic

Formula Kite U21 (Male)
Yesterday was the moment the two frontrunners squared off against each other, the ‘old’ rivals, 16-year-old Riccardo Pianosi (ITA) versus 15-year-old Max Maeder (SGP).

Having raced on opposite sides of the qualifying split, now it was the Italian and Singaporean lining up on the Gold Fleet start line alongside 19 other top riders in the Formula Kite class. Maeder came out on top, winning three of the four races, finishing 5th in the third heat after a couple of wipeouts.

Riccardo Pianosi puts the hammer down – Robert Hajduk IKA media pic

“Everyone was wiping out at some point,” Maeder said. “It’s part of the game when you’re pushing. Maybe one of my crashes was from weed, hard to say, but the other was me just trying to push my advantage on Riccardo and paying the price.”

Pianosi won the third heat with China’s Qibin Huang picking up the second of his two second places, although he also scored a 16th and DNC for failing to finish the last race of the afternoon following a collision with Pianosi.

Huang protested the Italian, but Huang was found to be at fault. So, Huang’s DNC remains, meaning the Chinese slips to 20 points behind Pianosi. The battle for gold looks increasingly like a two-horse race between Singapore and Italy.

Qibin Huang being chased by Max Maeder – Robert Hajduk IKA media pic

Huang will have his work cut out trying to defend third place from a fast-improving pack behind him. Just 2.7 points separate Huang, Arthur Lhez (FRA), Tiger Tyson (ANT), Noah Runciman (USA) and Vojtech Koska (CZE).

Where they finish by the end of the day is crucial, as the higher the finish, the better placed they’ll be going into the Semi-Final phase of the Medal Series.

Formula Kite U21 (Female)
Israel’s Maya Ashkenazi stretched her legs in the Girls’ fleet, winning the first three races and rounding off the day with a fourth place. Super-consistent sailing that puts Ashkenazi ahead of her Israel teammate, Gal Zukerman, by 8 points. Zukerman notched up a string of three 2nds and ended the day with a 6th.

The ever-smiling Zukerman was as angry as she could manage after racing, claiming she had twice been fouled by a competitor who she felt was pushing the rules.

“I’m not going to protest, I didn’t have a witness, but it’s frustrating.”

Sofia Tomasoni had one of the best days in the Girl’s fleet – Robert Hajduk IKA media pic

Defending world champion, Julia Damasiewicz, won the final race of the afternoon keeping the Polish rider well in contention, just three points behind Zukerman. Other girls who raced a very solid set of four races include Heloise Pegourie (FRA) and Magda Woyciechowska (POL). They are fourth and fifth overall respectively.

Youth Foil U17 (Boys and Girls)
Defending champion Jan Koszowski (POL) closed the gap to the lead to just two points behind Gian Andrea Stragiotti (SUI).

Ten year-old Jean Paul Villegas strutts his stuff – Robert Hajduk IKA media pic

The Pole and the Swiss won a race each in the first two heats, but Koszowski went on to the win the next two, a next-to-perfect performance that sets the stage for a great match duel between the two rivals. A similar battle is setting up for third and fourth places between Jakub Balewicz from Poland and Enzo Louber from France.

Stragiotti gave credit to Koszowski for the precision of his race craft yesterday, while the Swiss rider was kicking himself for overstanding laylines. “I sailed more distance than I needed to, so that’s something to work on,” he said.

Under 17 defendingFoil champion Jan Koszowski – Robert Hajduk IKA media pic

Gold fleet racing begins
Racing continues today (Saturday) at 14:00 hours local time in Sardinia, with the live broadcast starting at 13:40 hours. The critical goal is to make the cut for the top 10 and into the Semi-Finals on Sunday. Watch the world’s best young kitefoilers in action this weekend.

Top three results:

Formula Kite Male (12 races, 3 discards)

  1. SGP Maximilian Maeder 9pts
  2. ITA Riccardo Pianosi 11pts
  3. CHN Qibin Huang 31pts

Formula Kite Female(12 races, 3 discards)

  1. ISR Maya Ashkenazi 17pts
  2. ISR Gal Zukerman 25pts
  3. POL Julia Damasiewicz 28pts

A’s YouthFoil (12 races, 3 discards)

  1. SUI Gian Andrea Stragiotti 12pts
  2. POL Jan Koszowski 14pts
  3. POL Jakub Balewicz 27pts

Full results: http://www.youthfoil.org

Andy Rice

M.O.S.S Australia
Nav at Home
Lagoon 51
Pantaenius Sailing
M.O.S.S Australia
Nav at Home
West Systems 2