Tuesday, March 15, 2011

WISSA 2011

The winds of change and new energy blew across the WISSA 2011 race courses in Oravi, Finland last week. The 31st annual WISSA Ice and Snow Sailing World Championships was blessed in many ways. Good winds, great people, an excellent organizing team, and a wonderful venue all came together at Oravi in the beautiful Saimaa region of southeastern Finland.
The owners of the holiday resort that served as headquarters run a first class operation. They maintain over 50 km of groomed ice skating trails all winter long. They opened up their facility to racers and families from 15 countries who were there to compete in three classes:
  1. Open Class - All ice and snow sailing sleds powered by windsurfing rigs
  2. Hand Held Class - all sails held by hand
  3. Kite Class - all sails tethered by lines and flying overhead
In addition to those classes, there were three disciplines:
  1. Course Racing: held on the open lake [snow covered] with an upwind downwind format
  2. Kite Cross: a close course for kites, racing on snow
  3. Short Track Slalom [STS] Close quartered racing on plowed ice for windsurfing rigs and wings
The WISSA World Championships has come a long way from its original roots as a winter windsurfing championships. As each new technology emerged, WISSA immediately reached out to embrace the new format. As a result, the WISSA ISSWC is the longest running competition in the history of all of the above classes - ironic given that windsurfing and kite sailing are generally known to be water sports.
This is just an initial report. There is breaking news coming, but details need to be finalized before the final release. For now, results can be found at wissa2011.org

Stay tuned. There is a LOT more coming.

William Tuthill/WISSA

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