The preparation is now complete, for an event three years in the making, excitement is at fever pitch on the ground in Malcesine on Lake Garda as 170+ WASZPs prepare for battle at the International WASZP Games.
The Pre-Games event was the final piece of the puzzle for seventy sailors as they took to the water in glamourous Lake Garda conditions for the two-day event. While the other 2/3s of the International Games fleet finalised their preparations with individual and group training, the event was a perfect way for sailors to get accustomed with the racetrack.
Day one saw absolute Garda perfection with an 18knot Ora blowing and three races completed, the Savoini brothers were positioned 1st and 2nd after the first day and put an exclamation mark on their warm-up, no doubt they will be right at the pointy end of the fleet when they hit the water on the 12th of July. However, in third place was New Zealand sailor Elise Beavis, who has committed most of the last 3 weeks to train in Garda as well as taking a well-deserved holiday from her role with Emirates Team New Zealand. Following Elise were some of the class stalwarts with Pierre Leboucher and Tamas Szamody, working their way into the top ten, while young French sailor Elliot Coville was also having a good regatta. Again, the mix of ages and nations in the top ten is something rarely seen in sailing, with many of the apprentice sailors (26-39) having a good event, mixing with the youth and masters.
Day two and much lighter conditions greeted the fleet, the race committee did a good job to get the final three races in. The first race of the day was conducted in marginal foiling conditions and then the Ora settled a little for race three and began to die out for race three. The heavy cloud cover stopped the wind from reaching its full potential, however, the racing was still very tight. The tactical nous of our women sailors came through, with Elise Beavis and Mathilde Robertstad showing they will be a force to be reckoned with when the Games kick off this week, while GBR sailor Hattie Rogers also finished with a fifth in the final race. With almost forty women sailors in the WASZP Games line-up, it will be a great race for both the open and divisional title.
In the end it was Emanuele Savoini took a well-deserved win in tricky conditions and placing the other favourites on notice that he will be right up there in the main event. In second place Beavis did well to hold off a fast-finishing Robertstad who took third ahead of Leboucher from France.
We now take a deep breath and roll into a lay day, including final measuring and registration, before the fleet reconvenes for the SLALOM event on the 12th of July. The opening ceremony will be held on the 11th of July lake front in the centre of Malcesine. Stay tuned for more video and photos as we finish the countdown to the 2022 International WASZP Games!
Waszp Pre Games Results here