Ian Young, who won the Masters Class, heads downwind at full speed. The packed start line in race 2 of the Windfoil Championships. Mathieu Verriez from New Caledonia rounds the bottom mark. Photos, Adam Mustill Photography.
Windfoiling, a fast-growing sailing class that has been included in the 2024 Olympics in Paris, was on display off Manly Beach recently.
Windfoilers ride on boards similar to windsurfers, with a foil underneath. In a good breeze, at full speed, it is a spectacular sport to watch and be part of as the boards lift out of the water on the foil.
Manly Sailing Club hosted the second Giltrap Audi NZ Windfoil Championships over three days – March 13-15.
No members of the Manly club took part, but the club was happy to host the event, inspired by Commodore Barry Thom, an enthusiastic windfoiler.
All the stops were pulled out by the club, and Windfoil NZ, to profile the event with two media boats, drones and photographers on hand. Club manager Russell Coutts made his 60-foot launch available for guests and media.
Between 40-50 windfoilers took part. Windfoil NZ president Aaron McIntosh says it was a fantastic event. “Manly is a stunning venue, the infrastructure is superb and with the Russell Coutts Foundation, it’s about inspiring the next generation,” he says.
Vice commodore Harold Bennett says the first day of the event was a spectacular, full day of racing that included short races and a long, 48-minute, one to Red Beach. The following day the wind fell away, limiting participants to 3-minute slalom course racing, and with no wind to speak of on Sunday, the prizegiving was held and things wrapped up around 1pm.
The event proved to be the club’s last hurrah for the season, due to concerns around Covid-19.
During the windfoiling event, all gatherings, such as briefings, were held outdoors.
However, a decision was made on March 15 to suspend all activities of the sailing club, until further notice. This includes lessons and two upcoming national regattas.