After the success of last year's A-Class Catamaran World Championships in Sopot, Polish sailors did not rest on their laurels and continued their good streak in ‘A’ class cats. Michał Korneszczuk reports.
Due to the fact that the prolonged winter makes training in Poland impossible, competitors often have to look for opportunities to start their seasons abroad. Popular destinations are Spain or Italy. As in everything, hours spent on the water count here, hence an early start to training is invaluable. In addition, the main event in the 2018 regatta calendar - European Championships in Germany, is relatively early in the season, which motivates early preparation.
The Easter holidays on Lake Garda have been known for years within the Optimist class, with the largest meeting at Garda. Other classes are starting to benefit from this trend. This year, the Laser class in Malcesine and A-Cat International Easter Cup in Campione all took place. The Campione Univela resort in recent years has been popular with the ‘A Cats.
Many competitors came to Campione a week earlier for the regatta, where they trained for three days under the supervision of Tymoteusz Bendyk - last year's World Vice-Champion. During the week, we saw increasing numbers of sailors from Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain and of course Italy. Poland was represented by Jarosław Bętkowski of RJKP Poznań and Michał Korneszczuk from the Yacht Club Gdańsk. A large Dutch group was led by the two-time World Champion - Micha Heemskerk, who came with a freshly made brand-new F1x DNA.
The training preceding the regatta took place in beautiful sunny weather. Unfortunately on the first day of the competition the weather started to destabilize, and the wind became very volatile, which did not allow any racing. Sadly, Jarek Bętkowski, caught a bad cold and did not sail over the next few days, so was also the victim of the capricious weather.
The second day was in the rain. Sometimes it was a passing rain, and sometimes a cloudburst. Between those rains it was possible to sail one light wind race, where both female sailor Caroline van Beelen from the Netherlands and Katrin Brunner from Germany, both lighweights, took first and second place respectively, presenting themselves very well indeed. In the first race the third position went to Micha Heemskerk, who overtook Michał Korneszczuk to reach the finish line.
By the last day of the regatta the sailors and the judging team were very motivated. Everyone wanted to make up for lost time in previous days. The first race took place a few minutes after 10am in a shifty 6-12kt. wind from the North. But afterwards the wind stabilised to some 10-12 kts in race 2. In both races the lead changed frequently, and the Yacht Club Gdańsk sailor, Michał Korneszczuk, crossed the finish line in the second place. The third race began in a waning wind and it became necessary to cancel it. After an hours break, the wind from the South appeared and it was decided to sail an additional two races. However, the wind was also unstable. "In these conditions, you could lose as much as you could gain. I could not avoid mistakes, but fortunately the others did do too. I finished the final races in places 5 and 4" says Michał Korneszczuk, "As it turned out, I kept the best form, which finally allowed me to win the regatta”
The season has just begun. The next big test before the European Championships are the German National Championships, as well as the spring regatta of the Polish Cup in Sopot and Krynica Morska.