International WASZP Games Preview

The 2022 International WASZP Games is an event 3 years in the making, a lot has changed since the last International Games were held in Perth 2019. More than eight hundred new boats have been sold in that time and the standard of racing has accelerated faster than any of us could have imagined. All of this combined with the unwavering WASZP culture that defines the class will create an incredibly special week of racing, socialising and entertainment at the Fraglia Vela Malcesine on Lake Garda.

Photo: Angela Trawoeger – Foiling Week Startline in Malcesine
Photo: Drew Malcolm for WASZP – Fraglia Vela Malcesine – Home of the 2022 International WASZP Games

The lead-up to the event has been incredible, with huge fleets congregating around the world and an enthralling race to number 1 in the global rankings. We have seen more than 270 WASZPs compete across Europe and North America since the northern summer began and combine with strong contingents from Australia and New Zealand, the class is in incredible shape globally.

Photo: James Tomlinson – European Games in Mar Menor

What does this mean for the International WASZP Games? Well, currently there is 170 entries from twenty-six nations with the expectation of a few more before the Games kick off on July 11th. The Foiling Week event last week produced incredibly tight racing for the sixty-five boats that competed, with Ettore Botticini announcing himself as a genuine contender for the International Games, defeating battle-hardened competitors Chares Cullen from Ireland and the Savoini’s from Italy, all of whom have competed across Europe the last 2 years.

While these four sailors will be in the mix, there is possibly 25-30 sailors capable of winning a race in this highly competitive one-design class. Ross Banham from the UK claimed the number 1 rank with his tight win at the UK Nationals over current world number 2 Nick Zeltner from Switzerland and Sam Whaley also from the UK is at the top of his game and will be hard to beat. Francesco Bertone from Italy is the current European Champion having defeated Banham in Spain over Easter. Speaking of Spain, Jaime Framis Harguindey is currently sitting 3rd in the global rankings and has run a very strong campaign in 2022. Outside of the UK and Europe, 2x Australian National Champion Jack Ferguson will hit the water looking to prove himself in international waters, while Sam Street from New Zealand has a strong track record as well.

WASZP Class UK 2022 UK Nationals Weymouth WPNSA Photo: James Tomlinson – Ross Banham claimed victory and the world number 1 spot
Francesco Bertone claimed the European Games in Mar Menor

We can expect a few upsets over the course of the week, with starting critical in the WASZP class, being able to get off the line will be the number 1 priority for most. Some of our women sailors are proving that they can really mix it right at the top of the fleet. Mathilde Robertstad finished her Foiling Week campaign with third place in the final race, while Hattie Rogers from the UK and Elise Beavis from New Zealand have proven on numerous occasions, that they can win big races. It is only a matter of time before they string together a consistent event and claim a podium spot at a tier-one event. We currently have thirty-five women sailors entered in the event, creating a really strong competition within the competition.

WASZP Class UK 2022 UK Nationals Weymouth WPNSA Photo: James Tomlinson – Hattie Rogers
Photo: Martina Orisini – Elise Beavis of New Zealand in action during Foiling Week
WASZP European Championship 2022 Mar Menor Photo: James Tomlinson – Mathilde Robertstad has had a big 2022

When we speak of competition within the competition, we need to look no further than the Master (over 40) and the Super-Master (over 50) divisions. With around thirty sailors competing across the two divisions expect some of the hottest competition to come from within this group. No doubt there will be plenty riding on the results when the sailors hit the bar after racing. Mikel Vasquez from Spain has proven time and time again he can match it with the big guns, while Andrew McDougall and Jervis Tilly from Australia should both perform well. We also look forward to seeing class stalwarts Claudio Lenzi from Italy and Pit Muller from Switzerland renew their healthy rivalry on the water.

Both the Apprentice (26-39) and Youth (20-25) divisions have thirty-five competitors in each and while the aim for many of these sailors will be winning the major title, there will no doubt be some friendly personal battles within. In the junior division which is under twenty sailors we have seventy entrants and many of these sailors will be hitting the water for the first time or attending their first major event. Around 30% of the junior fleet is made up of 6.9m rigs and WASZP_X sailors, proving yet again the WASZP is the perfect pathway for foiling. These sailors will be in the class for many years to come.

The WASZP_X 5.8m adds a new layer to Junior Foiling

All in all, we can not wait to see what the week brings. The pre-games event will be conducted over the 9/10th of July and measurement and registration will occur over the 9/10/11th of July. Once we get to the 12th, the day is allocated purely for SLALOM racing with the International SLALOM Champion to be crowned. The 13 -16th will be championship racing with the fleet split into two racing fleets and one on-water coaching fleet, a new initiative by the class to help upskill sailors new to foiling. By the evening of the 16th, we will know who our International WASZP Games Champion will be.

There is also a social media competition that will occur during the event so keep an eye on

#waszpgames22 for competitors’ on-water content

#waszplife22 for competitors’ off-water content

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