Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jay Watermeyer's Peru Report

Formula Festival World Championships – AnconPeru
By Jay Watermeyer
I first found out about the Formula Worlds from a fellow teammate on Team USA, Todd Selby. Because of the location in Peru, it sounded like an exotic and a fun place to gain some new race experience.  After doing some research on the bay where the event was being held, I quickly found out it’s a perfect place to race.  My dad and I left Seattle on a snowy, white Christmas morning and arrived in Peru at midnight.
When we first entered the terminal in Lima, the airport was hectic.  There were about 100 people holding placards with travelers’ names on them.  My dad and I could not find our own name, despite looking around carefully, and eventually found a sign with our name on it leaning up on a wall, with a gentleman standing next to it. 
Our journey from Lima to Ancon was an adventure.  Both my dad and I  knew little Spanish, and had a hard time communicating with our friendly driver.  Despite the posted speed limit, our driver drove in the middle of two lanes going as fast as he pleased for the 50 KM journey.  It felt like we were playing X-box live. We stayed at a friend’s apartment (who previously sailed with us in Hood River) which was roughly ¼ mile walk by beach to the Yacht Club. They extended me a warm, Peruvian welcome and introduced me to some of the local kids. 
The first day we were in Ancon we participated in successful practice races in perfect Formula conditions.  Many of the other Junior and Youth racers from around the world were very friendly, and we soon got to know each other very well.  The first day of the competition, however, there was no wind and the races for that day were cancelled.  Some of my Peruvian friends and fellow competitors, Sebastian Aguirre & Mario Romero, took me, Connor Baxter, and Zane Schweitzer to a local surf spot called Pasamayo, which was only a 15 minute boat ride away. We had fairly decent waves and thoroughly enjoyed the surfing experience.  We appreciated the graciousness of the Aguirre family for taking us there.
For the next couple of days the races were cancelled due to no wind.  On December 31st, one of the local sailors knew of a place that would have wind, and it was only one hour bus ride to the north, further into the desert.  So the next morning at 7 am, all of the competitors put all of their gear into the back of a semi truck, and loaded themselves onto a Grayliner coach.  When we got to this beach, the wind was 10 – 15 knots and picking up.  It was perfect!  I had a great couple of races and everyone was stoked!
After three races, the race committee decided to call it for the day and we went back to Yacht Club in Ancon to celebrate New Year’s Eve.  The party was a lot of fun because everyone was dancing and singing and having a good time.  Many of the local neighborhood kids purchased fireworks at the local market and the streets were lit up the whole night with fireworks and bottle rockets going off. 
On New Year’s Day, everyone was hopeful we’d race, but the wind in Ancon did not cooperate.  Since we achieved our three races to make the championship legal, the race committee gave us another day off. The final day of the competition was roughly 10 – 13 knots in Ancon Bay.  The bay was a little tricky to sail in.  Out in the middle of the bay was light and unbeknownst to me there was a lot of floating trash and debris close to shore.  I had some pretty good racing until I hit a piece of a submerged mattress and lost my lead.  I was still able to catch up, but I wish we had more races in the championship to make up for less successful races.
I was stoked to be able to participate in such an important regatta and excited to meet kids from around the world who love to windsurf as much as I do.  Hopefully I will get the chance to compete in the 2009 World Championships in CadizSpain, where I will see most of these friends and fellow sailors from around the world who participated in the 2008 Formula World Championship.

Jay finished 7th in the Formula Experience fleet and Team USA was also well represented by Conner Baxter in 9th and Zane Schweitzer in 11th.

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