Category Archives: Olympics

Steven Cramer reports from Cancun!

Techno Competition in Cancun - credit: Patrik Pollak

Techno North Americans in Cancun – Photo Credit: Patrik Pollak

The 2014 North Americans for the Techno and RS:X classes took place Feb 20-23 in beautiful Cancun, Mexico, and were particularly important for a few reasons: it was an opportunity for RS:X competitors to qualify their country for the 2015 Pan-Am Games, and it was a continental country qualifier in the Techno 293 class for the upcoming Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China!

The Youth Olympic Games (YOG) are the real deal: first held four years ago in Singapore, they’re modeled after the ‘grown-ups’ Olympics. They will feature 3,500 competitors from 200 countries competing across 30 sports, lavish opening/closing ceremonies, an Olympic village, and even a cute mascot: Nanjinglele. According to the Games’ official website: “the word LELE embodies the spirit of advancing and pioneering, and heralds Nanjing’s ambition to (…) leave the city’s footprint on the trail of the Olympic movement by delivering joyful, glamorous and indelible experiences for young people around the world.”

So there you have it. But before getting to the Games – and yes, windsurfing on the Bic Techno 293 is one of the two sailing disciplines at the YOG! -, one has to qualify the country, and the spots are few and far between. This is done through continental qualifiers, and the event at Puerto Cancun was the regional qualifier for our part of the world.

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Swanky Launch Area in Cancun – Photo Credit: Patrik Pollak

Thirty kids aged 15-16 from Aruba, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the USA competed hard for two spots. The US boys qualified in style, sweeping the podium at the event, but it was down to the wire for the second spot (Aruba came from behind on the last day to take it!).

One of the US teammates, Steven Cramer from Miami, FL, sent us this great report from the event:

Steven Cramer from the US, rigging up for action in Cancun! Credit: Patrik Pollak

Steven Cramer from the US, rigging up for action in Cancun! Credit: Patrik Pollak

My name is Steven Cramer and I windsurf. I like to windsurf because I like to go fast and I love the feeling I get when I am on the water. I have been racing techno 293 for 2 years and I cannot believe the incredible places I have been. Cancun is one of the most beautiful. I remember when I was first told about the North American Championship/Youth Olympic Qualifier in Mexico. It seemed like a huge challenge. But I like challenges.

The first day we arrived in Cancun it was just a beach with a tent. By the last day, it was a full-fledged windsurfing festival. The wind was amazing, and so were the competitors. We arrived 4 days before the competition to train, and the wind was perfect for me – light to mid wind. I felt really good. The first day of the regatta, though, was a huge test for me. It got really windy and I am better at light wind – I am a smaller guy. I did ok, but not well enough to get near the podium. Fortunately for me, the wind got lighter the next 2 days and I got better. The last and 4th day, the wind picked up again, like the first day, and I had to pull myself together, hold on, and survive the wind, if I wanted to make it to the podium.

I somehow did it. This was an amazing experience for me because there were so many really good sailors. I loved every minute of being there, challenges and all, and I hope to go back!

Tight Racing at the NAs in Cancun - Credit: Patrik Pollak

Tight Racing at the NAs in Cancun – Credit: Patrik Pollak

Results from the event are here!

Patrik Pollak, traveler and videographer extraordinaire was there to report. Check out his recap video and feel like you were part of the action:

And more of Patrik’s great pics right here!

Busy Halloween for US Windsurfers!

The air is getting a little chilly everywhere, and the season’s first snow storms have struck already. Time to stash the gear away, hang cobwebs from the front porch and drink spiced pumpkin eggnog, right? Wrong! Halloween may be around the corner, but the windsurf racing season is in full swing! Check out the schedule of US racers for the next couple of weeks:

We even have a few intrepid world travelers attending the following international events:

  • Oct 20-26: Civitavecchia, Italy – RS:X Youth World Championships
  • Oct 26 – Nov 3: Eilat, Israel – U15/17 Techno European Championships

 

Trick or Treat?… BOTH!

Olympic Windsurfing

The windsurfing competition of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games is drawing to a close, with the medal race to be run on Tueday, August 7.  In the men’s fleet, Dorian Van Rijsselberge has locked up the gold medal even before the medal race!  His commanding lead makes it mathematically impossilbe to lose his first place position.  In the women’s fleet, Marina Alabau is currently in first, but the medals are still undecided.  If you are a subscriber to almost any cable or sattelite tv service here in the US, you can watch the medal race live!  Check out http://www.nbcolympics.com/sailing/index.html to watch the race live, or to watch any of the races of the event that have already taken place.  The men’s medal race is scheduled for 1:00pm and the women’s for 2pm (London time – which is 8am and 9am US East Coast Time) on Tuesday, August 7.  Current results can be found at http://www.sailing.org/olympics/london2012/results_centre.php 

Our US competitors, Bob Willis and Farrah Hall, did not qualify for the medal race.  We are thrilled with their performances however and they both performed beyond expectations for their first Olympic regatta.  You can read about their experiences at the Olympics at www.bobsails.com and www.farrahhall.com

Lots of great articles and videos have been written and created about this year’s Olympic Windsurfing event, here are links to just a few:

http://www.redeyechicago.com/sports/ct-red-0727-bobwillis-20120726,0,2721315.story

http://www.redeyechicago.com/sports/ct-red-0727-bob-willis-blog-20120726,0,3342282.story

http://www.wbal.com/article/92550/3/template-story/Annapolis-Farrah-Hall-Moves-Up-In-Olympic-Windsurfing-Standings

http://www.wbal.com/article/92237/3/template-story/Farrah-Hall-Windsurfing-In-The-Olympics-With-A-Maryland-Flare

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZGzcKt9dlIU&feature=youtu.be

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-08-02/london-windsurfers-sail-to-impress-in-effort-to-stay-in-olympics

http://www.peterboroughtoday.co.uk/sport/other-sport/olympic-photo-finish-boost-for-dempsey-1-4117407

http://wwos.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=8508115

Countdown to the Olympics

photo coutesy of US Sailing

The Olympic windsurfing competiton begins in just a few days, on July 31 in Weymouth, UK.  Bob Willis and Farrah Hall are our representatives for the United States and we are so excited to be cheering them on!  They (and windsurfing in the US) are getting lots of great press – here is a story that was published in Hartford Magazine recently (at http://hartfordmag.com/article-448-bob-willis.html

WINDSURFING

Bob Willis started out sailing at age 7, and sailed at Connecticut College. But his passion is windsurfing, and that’s where Willis, a Chicago native who graduated from Conn College in 2009 with a degree in economics, will compete in the London Olympics, in what’s known as the RS:X sailboard class. Willis took time off from studying at Conn College to try and qualify for the 2008 Olympics. He finished third in the trials (competitors must win to qualify) at age 19 and was encouraged, so set 2012 as his goal. Willis is the top-ranked American in the sport and is the first U.S. Olympic windsurfer who doesn’t hail from California or Florida. It’s a good thing he made the team, because in a recent controversial decision, the International Sailing Federation announced that windsurfing, which has been an Olympic sport since 1984, will be discontinued after these Olympics and kiteboarding will be added for the 2016 Olympics.

US Olympic Windsurfers Prepare for Weymouth!

photo by Dale Thompson

Bob Willis and Farrah Hall have both qualified to represent the United States in windsurfing at the Olympic Games this summer

.  The 2012 Summer Olympic Games are based in London, but the sailing events will take place at the southern end of the UK in Weymouth.  This is typically a windy venue, so the windsurfing should be fantastic!  You can read all abouth Bob and Farrah’s preparation for the Olympics on their respective web blogs www.bobsails.com and www.farrahhall.com .  Congratulations to both of them!

US Olympic Windsurfing Team Announced!

Congratulations to Farrah Hall and Bob Willis!

The recent ISAF  World Sailing Championships in Perth, Australia was the final event of the US Olympic trials for windsurfing.  After many days of racing in a variety of conditions, Farrah Hall and Bob Willis were named to the 2012 US Olympic Team for windsurfing.  Bob had a fantastic event and in addition to being the top US finisher, he also finished well enough to qualify the United States for a spot to compete in the Olympics for men’s RS:X.  Farrah was the top US finsher among the women, and just missed qualifying the US for a spot in the women’s RS:X event at the Olympics.  She will have another chance to qualify the country at the 2012 RS:X World Championships in Cadiz, Spain in March. 

You can read more about their adventures on their Olympic quests at www.farrahhall.com and www.bobsails.com.