Micah Buzianis reports about the Pegasus PWA Slalom tour stop in Turkey:
The third stop on the PWA 2013 World Tour in Alacati, Turkey is my favorite event on the calendar at the moment by far. The sailing is great there, not always windy but when it does blow it is perfect for slalom racing, flat water, good wind, warm and beautiful. The location is also amazing, Alacati has come a long way since the first year we raced there with beautiful windsurfing schools, hotels and nice grassy and sandy launches. There are nice restaurants close to the water where you can watch the sailing have a nice lunch or dinner and a coffee or after sailing cocktail. This year the event was held right in front of the beautiful Alacati Beach Hotel and sailing school, by far the nicest hotel in the area and the nicest hotel we get to stay in all year!! So going to Turkey really is a nice treat every year.
So this year I decided to go a few days early to get tuned up at the spot with Josh Angulo and Pieter Bijl. It was a little bit of a slow start as Pieter had flown with all our gear from Holland and it didn’t arrive the night we flew in and it didn’t end up making it to the beach until late the next day so we unfortunately missed one day of good sailing. It was good though as I didn’t get much sleep on the trip over to Turkey so I was able to catch up on some much needed sleep which helps getting over the jetlag.
By the next day we had all our gear and had three great days of wind to sail. We had some good testing and tuning sessions playing with new little tweaks and getting some much needed water time. By the time registration day came I felt like I was ready to go, now all we needed was the wind to show up. The forecast was looking pretty good for the first couple days but then not so good for the last 3-4 days, but I was hopeful as I know this place can surprise….
The wind was ready to go as well and we were able to get under way right from the get go. It was a pretty windy start as well. I went right to my 8.4TR9xt and my 80 JP Slalom and this seemed to be the right call as I quickly advanced through to the semi finals. I knew that I would have to step up my game though as I wasn’t killing it in my first two heats and knew that a good start was crucial. The wind had picked up enough for me to get on my 7.6TR9 and my 66 JP so I went for it in my semi but went a little too late and was having to fight hard for it but was just too far back to make it to the final. I again went for it in the losers and again didn’t time it right resulting in a very bad start to my event. If I was going to continue to start like this it would be a long event…. We had just enough wind left over in the afternoon to get round two started but were only able to finish three heats before it was gone completely. Day one in the books and some good lessons learned, starting is critical here where most everyone is fast!
On day two it looked like the forecast was going to holdup as the wind played havoc with us all day, only allowing us to finish up to the semi finals. I managed to make it through my first heat with a better timed start, in my quarters I was again in a good position at the first mark after a decent start I was making my gybe in third place going to cut a tight line to the mark when Jimmy Diaz come from above trying to poke his way into a qualifying spot. He slammed into the side of me knocking me downwind and then proceeded to drop his gear on top of me. I was still up but had his rig downwind of me, his board up wind of me and his mast base caught on mine. I somehow managed to stay up and push his board over mine, but this loss of speed and time allowed everyone to pass us. I was then following Josh around the course and in this light winds it is virtually impossible to pass anyone especially with the tight course we had. So there it was second round of Turkey and I was out in the quarters, not looking like a great start to my event, but still four more days left.
Day three saw more light winds and more waiting around, I guess going out in the quarters was not such a bad thing after all since it gave me the chance to have a whole day off and stay out of the heat in my room at the Alacati Beach Hotel. Local sailor and hero Enes Yilmazer helped our gracious host and owner of the Alacati Beach Hotel Engin Kalafatoglu set up a redesigned surf school/camp at his hotel. Myself, Josh and some of the other top sailors were lucky enough to be able to stay at this new location which was exactly at the spot we were racing from. We could see the water from our room and it was about 20yards to where our gear was kept so it was easy and comfortable to keep an eye on what was happening from our room. So even though I didn’t get a chance to sail today I still enjoyed the location and had a nice day of rest.
Unfortunately day four gave us much the same and while I don’t mind a day off during an event, two days in a row becomes a bit frustrating, especially after only completing one round and only two days left. But I kept busy and was focused on getting back in there, a decent forecast for the remaining two days gave me hope that we would be able to get at least one throw-out before the event was done.
Finally back to business, it was full-on like it was on the first day but at least the wind was back and the second round finally was completed. When we finally returned to action in the third round I was feeling better about my starts and as I cruised into the final for the first time I was determined to make it count. In the first effort it showed I wasn’t the only one with starting issues as Antoine, Finian and Pieter all went over the line early. As I had a good opportunity to post a solid result I again slipped on the line and was needing to make up ground from the start. A near wipeout between Alberto and Cyril just before the first mark gave me the opening I needed but it forced me to go wide at the first gybe and with the second reach being tight I couldn’t hold my ground and slipped back to fifth place after a tight gybe with Ludo and Alberto. But at least I was on the board, finally. We jumped right into round four but it was late in the day and with the typical dying wind they managed only four heats of round four, but this did line us up nicely to be able to finish round four and even possibly a fifth.
The final day was here and the wind was with us right from the start. Right back into the fourth round and again my starts were on and I even managed a few tough heat wins on my way to the finals. But once again I just didn’t have it at the last moment and after a poor start I could never get in a groove the entire heat. I made a good gybe at the first mark but was always having to come from behind and come out of the marks on a low line, which was impossible to make up ground on another tight course. Oh well at least it was another final even though it wasn’t a great one.
The last round of the event and I was again going to make it count. I had a tough road to the finals but again managed some great starts and heat wins, now I just had to make it count when it counted. This time I managed to win the pin end of the line and hit it full speed but just upwind of me and also at full speed was Alberto. He has been flying all week and he was just too much for me to hold off and got me at the first mark. I also let Antoine get the better of me in a pumping contest out of the first mark. I did all I could to hold Julian off till the third mark where he also beat me in a pumping contest but I held on for fourth across the line. The was my best finish so far of the event and with a solid last two days of the event I managed to crawl my way back up into the top eight, even though it was just barely 8th.
All in all I felt like it was a good event for me, some bad luck and a bit of a slow start I hung in there till the end. I am not really satisfied with my end result but I am feeling good about my starts and will certainly carry that over to the final event of the year in Sylt. Turkey once again provided us with some good yet tough and challenging conditions but with five rounds completed it was the best event of the year so far.
Many thanks again to the great sponsors and organizers of the Pegasus PWA Alacati World Cup, I am already looking forward to going back again next year!!!