Spain’s World ranked number one female Pilar Lamadrid (ESP) and GBR’s Sam Sills made the best starts to the Lanzarote iQFOil Games. Lamadrid leads the women’s field after a solid opening day whilst Sills proved unbeatable winning all four of the men’s heats contested in something close to perfect conditions.
The Canary Island of Lanzarote immediately upheld its reputation as a great, world class venue, the reason why more than 500 people, athletes and coaches from the new Olympic discipline have chosen it as their winter training base. Sun, stable winds between 15 and 18 knots proved unbeatable sailing conditions.
The first racing day at the Lanzarote iQFOil Games opened the 2023 season for what will be a new Olympic class in Paris 2024 in perfect style. A gloriously sunny day, with strong wind and Atlantic waves of between one and three meters allowed the race organisers to roll through the program with no real delays. And in just in two and a half fast and furious hours all the windward-leeward races were completed.
The male windsurfer who has registered the highest speed during the races was the current world champion, Sebastian Kördel (GER), with 30.2 knots (56 km/h). Alice Read (GBR) reached 25.8 knots (47.7 km/h) as the fastest woman on the course in today’s races.
Spain leads women’s fleet, Israel monopolise the Top 5
The 66 female participants raced on one big fleet on the regatta course on the Bocayna Strait, opposite Marina Rubicón.
The current number 1 in the world ranking, Pilar Lamadrid, started well the competition winning three out of four races with a notable advantage over her nearest challengers. She caught the best gusts and raced on the favoured side of the course pushed by the Israeli squad which fills out the top 5 of the provisional General Classification.
Lamadrid’s worst result today was sixth in the third race after falling into the water when she was fourth. “You have to keep an eye on the entire fleet, but I am very happy with today. I am here to train, improve and of course also to enjoy it. Here in Lanzarote that is always easy. It has been incredible the east wind came in like that which was not forecasted. These are perfect sailing conditions. I am very happy with the three victories today”, she enthused.
Sharon Kantor (ISR) took victory in the third race and was second in the other three races to lie in second position, two points behind Lamadrid and 16 points ahead of her compatriot Katy Spychakov.
The British rider Sam Sills proves unbeatable: four out of four
With more than 80 entrants the men’s division was divided into two fleets (yellow and blue) off Papagayo beach in the south of the island of Lanzarote.
Brit Sam Sills, a double world champion as a junior and formerly a top RS:X Olympic class racer, reeled off four victories in the yellow fleet and is the first men’s provisional leader of the Lanzarote iQFOil Games 2023.
Sills was delighted with his start: “It was a pretty amazing day actually! We had 15 knots, a bit choppy conditions; we did four races course racing. We had to be to the left hand side most of the time. But most of all it was just so nice to be back racing with the fleet up against all these incredible athletes, my team mates…”
After training on the island of Lanzarote for seven weeks, Sills seems to have taken advantage of his preparation on the island along with the rest of the British team: “The last year we were training very hard, this is such a new class and we have so many to things to learn all the time. I am really lucky I have such a powerful team around me and it is brilliant to be here involved in this. I have been here since December and I absolutely love Lanzarote, I don’t want to go home!”, he smiles.
The Polish racer Pawel Tarnowski, silver in the last iQFOil event in 2022 – the Terceira iQFOil Games, is a provisional second after a 2-4-3-2 from the blue fleet. The provisional men’s podium for this first day sees the Israeli Tom Reuveny in third.
On Wednesday, the competition will continue in Lanzarote for Day 2. Follow the action live on the iQFOil class Youtube channel by clicking here.
This international event organized by Marina Rubicón with the support of the Royal Canarian Sailing Federation is possible thanks to the institutional sponsorship of Promotur Turismo de Canarias with the financing of the REACTEU Fund and Tourism of the Cabildo de Lanzarote through the sports product European Sports Destination (managed by SPEL-Turismo Lanzarote), as well as the public collaboration of the Yaiza City Council and the private entities Dinghycoach, Naviera Armas & Cabrera Medina (cicar).
Provisional standings iQFOil Women. Day 1
- Pilar Lamadrid (ESP), 1+1+(6)+1=3
- Sharon Kantor (ISR), (2)+2+1+2=5
- Katy Spychakov (ISR), 3+3+2+(13)=21
Provisional standings iQFOil Men. Day 1
- Sam Sills (GBR), (1)+1+1+1=3
- Pawel Tarnowski (POL), 2+(4)+3+2=7
- Tom Reuveny (ISR), 1+6+1+(19)=8
For the full rankings, please click here.
Text Credits: Media Lanzarote Sailing Center
Photo Credits: Sailing Energy