The San Diego Yacht Club hosted the 2018 IKA Formula Kite North American Championship off Crown Cove State Beach in south San Diego Bay. Twenty nine kiteboarders from twelve different countries gathered to sail in a series of nine races over three days. The regatta also seconded as a Pan American Games Qualifier.
Blue, sunny skies complimented the bright colored 18-21 meter kites. San Diego breezes were lighter than what many of the competitors were used to. With winds between 6-8 knots for the majority of the weekend, the participants struggled to keep their kites up. The Race Committee called the races on day two after only one race in a breeze averaging 6.5 knots. Day three, the kiteboarders were able to complete in two races before being sent ashore in light winds averaging just over 7 knots.
The top three finishers in the regatta were Denis Taradin (RUS) in first, James Johnson (DEN) in second and Will Cyr (USA) in third.
Day one started off with Taradin, Johnson and Nico Landauer (URU) dominating the majority of the races. Evan Heffernan (USA) saw stellar racing, placing in the top three for each of the remaining races in days two and three, but his day one scores kept him out of the top of the fleet. Cyr, who stuck close to the top of the score sheet in day one, took second in day two’s only race (series race seven). He earned enough points over the first two days to take the podium without placing in the top three on day three of the regatta.
Nico Landauer describes the difficulty that came with light winds on the course. “The conditions during the weekend were very nice, but the Santa Ana made them challenging. There was great wind on Friday but by the second day, wind was really bad. We were competing against very challenging conditions. Only ten kiteboarders managed to start the race and only six finished.”
After the racing on Friday, kiteboarders made their way back to the San Diego Yacht Club for a fun party. Saturday, they enjoyed a small beach gathering at Crown Cove and Sunday enjoyed food and beverage hospitality on the beach for the awards.
SDYC's Vice Commodore Jerelyn Biehl was also out on the water for all three days. "San Diego Yacht Club was honored to have the opportunity to host the Kite Foil North American Championship. Having it be a Pan Am country qualifier elevated the importance and attendance and we were thrilled by the turnout of the represented 12 nations and top kiters. The barrage of colorful kites (and kiters) on the bay attracted additional community interest. We’re looking forward to hosting the US athlete selections in March for the Pan Am Games and hope to have a bit more consistent wind for the competitors."
Congratulations to the Pan American qualifying countries: USA, URU, BRA, ARG, CAN, COL.