From the 9th to the 14th of December 2013, the Peru Beach Windsurfing Club in San Isidro, Argentina hosted the 2013 South American Formula Windsurfing Championships. Our 2013 Formula Experience World Champion and PWA World Tour Slalom racer Gonzalo Costa Hoevel attended and came out victorious. Here is his report:
"The South American Formula and Formula Experience Championships were sailed at Peru Beach Windsurfing Club in the north of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Other classes were featured during the weekend such as raceboards, RS:X and Bic Techno 293. We had over 30 competitors in the Formula fleet including many top riders such as Gabriel Browne, Janis Preiss and most of the Argentinians sailors.
Most of the competitors arrived two days before the event so we managed to have some good training sessions. The water conditions are pretty tricky as we sail in the Rio de la Plata which is quite a shallow river. The forecast was very good for the first few days of the event so we pushed hard to do as many races as possible on the first days.
My first impressions were really good during the trainings... I had my new 11.0m² and 12.0m² Loft Sails and ELK fins for the event and my very fast Starboard Formula 167. We managed to do 10 races on a wind range of 7 to 20 knots. I won 8 out of 10 races so I was really happy with my performance."
Day 1: Races 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
"The wind was from 8 to 14 knots coming side on-shore from the East. There was a small chop and I decided to go on my 11m² because the wind was increasing quickly.
I decided to start close to the race committee on both the first and second start and sail on the left side of the upwind course as it seemed that the wind was stronger on the outer side of the course. I had a clean start on both and it seemed that I had the edge in terms of speed and upwind angle on my main competitors. I had two bullets and Gabriel Brown and Janis Preiss took turns for the second and third positions. On the third race, the wind started to shirt right, going from the E to the traditional SE bearing so I decided to start on port tack with some of the Argentinian locals. We manage to round the first buoy quite ahead of the other group so I had a solid win in Race 3.
After an one hour break on shore, we came back for Race 4 and 5. The wind had increased to 15 - 18 knots now. Slightly bigger chop with made things pretty difficult on the port tack going upwind. I manage to win both races again and Gabriel had 2 second places, leaving Janis Preiss with two 3rd place finishes."
Day 2: Race 6, 7 and 8
"On the second day the wind was lighter and we went for three races. We all took the 12.0m² now. We started on port with Janis and he seemed to have the edge on me at the tack. I had better speed heading to the mark on starboard tack and rounded it in 1st. In the downwind stretch, I made a good gap and rounded to the beach while Janis went for the right mark heading out to sea for the second upwind. I made an even bigger gap now as going on the right side of the upwind course paid off. Gabriel Browne had a bad one and finished in 4th behind Nahuel.
On the next race, I decided to go for a starboard start with Gabriel. Janis and Nahuel went for the port and it paid off big time! I rounded in 4th position behind them but managed to pass them on the downwind. I rounded to the left gate mark and on the port tack upwind run, I caught something in my fin and couldn't take it out which slowed me down and made me go back to 4th position again at the upwind mark. Gabriel managed to have a good upwind run and cleared a good margin to take the win, followed by Janis in second and me in third.
On the last race of the day, the four of us started on port again. I rounded first with Janis close behind and Gabriel in third. I extended my lead and took the win for that final race of the day. Gabriel manage to pass Janis as he overlaid and caught something in his fin he couldn't take out."
Day 4: Race 9 and 10
"After a windless third day, the wind came in late for the fourth day but we managed to complete two races in very light on-shore NE wind. I didn't manage to do the first race because of an equipment failure. The race went to Janis, followed by Gabriel and Nahuel.
On the second race of the day we all had pretty good starts on starboard. We were all pretty much the same all the way up. I rounded on 1st, Janis 2nd and Gabriel third. Janis and me rounded on the left gate and Gabriel went for the right. I gained some angle and manage to extend my lead over Janis. I took the win in the light wind (7 to 8 knots), followed by Janis and Gabriel.
We did try to go out for one race on the 5th and final day of the event but due to the very light winds, we were not able to complete it. So we finish the event with a podium that looked like this:
1st Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (ARG-3): 8 points
2nd Gabriel Browne (BRA-51): 16 points
3rd Janis Preiss (LAT-23): 17 points
It was a very nice way to finish the year. I am starting my training for next year season in January."