2020 Foiling Week Garda
Sun, wind and sport. But also, science, technology, new experiences and new ways to be together: this is Foiling Week. In the only edition in the year of the pandemic, on Lake Garda from 17 to 20 September 2020, physical distancing did not slow down the desire to compete, have fun and learn.
The competitive level at the regattas is as always quite high: because Foiling Week, after all, is a place for relax but also where sailors of the major international circuits meet to play together. But the competitive aspect – albeit still central – takes often a back seat because of the friendly atmosphere of this now a traditional gathering of sailing geeks, always attracting beginners and enthusiasts, eager not only to compete but also to exchange information, discuss solutions and perhaps steal secrets from the champions.
At the 2020 edition of Foiling Week Malcesine, the weather was slightly trickier than usual and Garda Lake provided light winds and even a few hours of calm that opened up new opportunities for less experienced or less heavy crews: after the second day of racing, the difference in level and the irregularity of the wind convinced the race committee of Fraglia Vela Malcesine to display the Uniform flag, penalizing the most exuberant or inexperienced and discouraging them from departing early.
In the upper part of the Moth ranking, the German Mage, the British Bridle and the Spanish Botin took turns, until the Garda local Carlo de Paoli conquered the top spot.
In the Waszp class the fifteen-year-old Richard Schultheis, from Malta, not long ago an Opti Sailor, overtook the older Emanuele Savoini, and Francesco Bertone.
First female position for Victoria Schultheis
No surprise in the standings for the Wing Foils, hosted by the Kite Club Malcesine, dominated by the Swiss champion Balz Müller who also stunned the public with his freestyle evolutions and his charm.
A reconfirmation also in the Persico 69F, whose regatta was the second stage of the circuit, won by the Kingdom Team Netherlands which had just won the first stage.
In the North Garda Lake waters, the Swiss Lauber and Aubord prevailed in Flying Phantom, in the single multihulls Reiner Bohrer on the A-Class and Alessandro Caldari on S9.
Last but not least, the match race organized in co-operation with the World Match Racing Tour is sailed by two 10 FT Pocket Foilers from the competitive teams of Lake Santa Croce: a beautiful educational formula that thrills the youngest and that in this edition has been able to count on the International umpire, Miguel Allen. On these small boats the race was demanding and the youngsters, enthusiastic and fiercely, fought against each other but also against fatigue and the force of gravity. Above all, the most tenacious has won, Vittoria Caputo who, between one flight and another, also found the energy to jump into the water to help a capsized opponent.
The rankings on foilingweek.com.
Foiling in motion
If the small and uncatchable Moth and Waszp are now a certainty in the foiling movement, great interest is aroused in the 2020 Foiling Week Garda by the larger boats on which international research is currently focused, well represented by the Persico 69F.
Among the demo boats, in addition to the 10 ‘Pocket Foiler used for the match race, also the French monotype One Fly was present for the first time and sailed competing with the other single-handed boats.
A new ”star” has been added to the flying fleet of the 2020 Foiling Week Garda, hosting the second stage of the Wing Foil Tour, an event that brings the new toys for lucky surfers around Italy: with your feet on a hydrofoil board and hands on the boom of an inflatable wing, you fly and perform acrobatic tricks with the manoeuvrability of a windsurf and the speed of a kite.
Despite the small number of participants due to the novelty of the wing foil sport and the difficulty of moving people and materials due to COVID, the stage saw participants from several countries, competing in both the regatta and freestyle. A good start for an activity that is proposed as fun, accessible and within everyone’s reach.
Activities on foil are within everyone’s reach: thanks to a warm September and wind available to adapt to all needs, even the curious and beginners, the young and old were able to try and fly during the 2020 Foiling Week Garda.
There was a Foiling Optimist for the little ones: the boat is a Moth disguised as an Optimist and the children who get on it are ironmen disguised as children;)
There was the Waszp provided by Europa Sail with a coach that followed in every manoeuvre.
For the more conservative there was the Laser with the FOILSZ kit by Waszp
There was foil windsurfing made available by the Andrew Simpson Water Sports Center, as well as RS Aero foiling with the assistance of a specialized coach.
For those wishing to accompany the sailors and chase the kiters, there was to try the electric-powered rib by Torqueedo
Finally, racers and pros were offered the possibility to test MAX, the satellite instrument from the Dutch Sailmon with the display of distance from the starting line, to refine the tuning of the boat, to train on all manoeuvres, and obviously to win.
Gurit Forum, now a traditional meeting that allows researchers, students and manufacturers – as well as professional sailors and enthusiasts – to learn the state of the art of technologies and navigation techniques 3.0, far from narrowing their horizons due to the health emergency, it has indeed opened the doors to remote conversations: all the meetings have been broadcast online. The list of all the panels with the possibility of replay is on the foilingweek.com website, on the Foiling Week Facebook page and on the Youtube channel, available to those who want to discuss these fascinating issues.
The online formula has also allowed the remote participation of foiling gurus such as Blair Tuke, Dan Bernasconi, Ian Percy, Robby Naish, Guillame Verdier, Juan K. and many others.
Hosts and moderators of the meetings: Chris Museler with Bruno Giuntoli, Andrew Pindar and Laura Marimon.
Here the Calendar of panels with links to the videos
The Foiling SuMoth Virtual Challenge proved to be a highlight during Foiling Week Garda, 2020. While most teams SuMoth designs were on track to compete at the SuMoth Challenge 2020, the manufacturing process was interrupted by the COVID-19 lockdown of universities and the event was moved to a virtual platform.
In collaboration with 11th Hour Racing, sponsor of the SuMoth Challenge, the online Sustainability evaluation was held with the participating teams on September 17th, during Foiling Week (video link). The judging panel, featuring sustainability experts Jill Savery, Sustainability Director of 11th Hour Racing, Amy Munro, Sustainability Officer for 11th Hour Racing Sailing Team, and Michel Marie, Sustainability Expert and Marine Shift 360 Technical expert, met with teams to review their sustainability initiatives and processes involved in the planning and building of the SuMoths. Taking first place was Team Rafale ETS from Montreal, Canada, a close second place went to PoliMi Sailing Team, from Politecnico de Milano, Italy, and the third place to PoliTo Sailing Team, from Politecnico de Torino, Italy.
The technical and performance stages of the SuMoth challenge will be held during Foiling Week Garda 2021.
Sailing Week Garda 2020 was also an opportunity to send a collective message to Chico Forti, who is a native of this area, and to his family. The Italian windsurfer, known and active in the Eighties, has been detained for 21 years in a Florida prison with a murder sentence whose circumstances have raised several doubts: Chico has always professed himself innocent and has repeatedly asked for the case to be reopened. His family with his tireless uncle Gianni and friends have been asking for years that the Italian government move its diplomatic levers to clarify the matter or at least to bring Chico, now 61, back to Italy so that he can serve his sentence close to his own kin. The sailors and surfers involved in the Foiling Week have shown their solidarity and sensitivity by joining their hands in a gesture and in a hashtag, #sail4chico.
At the beginning of next year, the Foiling Awards will be held, as usual, now in their fifth edition. An important novelty will instead be represented by the first edition of the Foiling Hall of Fame, recognizing the “pioneers” of having indelibly contributed to the history of foiling with their professional and sporting careers.