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WASZPs on the Isle of Wight

by Martin Evans 8 Aug 2022 16:43 BST 6 August 2022
WASZPs on the Isle of Wight at Seaview © Martin Evans

On Saturday 6th August, the Isle of Wight WASZP fleet came together to race for the first time in what is believed to be the island's first dedicated foiling regatta. Boats from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club and Sea View Yacht Club gathered at Seaview for the island's first official class race.

There are a lot of foiling classes out there, but the WASZP is the class that is bringing this foiling technology and this new, thrilling side of sailing to the masses. The simple design, portable nature and relatively low cost has seen several island sailors 'joining the swarm' over the past year. In addition, both Seaview Yacht Club and the Royal Victoria Yacht Club sailors have been introducing the boat to many other island sailors to share the experience of foiling far and wide. Looking to the future, island sailors plan to travel to some of the major WASZP championships in the UK and further afield as the buzz for the class grows. RVYC sailor Martin Evans took part in this year's national championship in Weymouth and Portland, scoring a 7th place from a 56 boat fleet.

When the fleet of 7 WASZPs rigged on the beach at Seaview on Saturday, they were greeted by glorious sunshine and very little wind - perfect for a day by the sea but not so good for wind-driven racing. Nevertheless, with no lack of enthusiasm, the sailors took to the water in search of breeze alongside a number of supporters and budding young sailors that were keen to be part of the island's first foiling regatta.

After a short drift, the breeze began to creep in with enough for racing to get under way off the moorings at Seaview. The futuristic WASZPs lined their course up alongside the traditional wooden Seaview One Design dinghies that were enjoying their evening racing, making for quite the contrast of designs old and new! Crowds of spectators looked on from the decking of Seaview Yacht Club with drinks in hand and tunes aloud on the speakers on this perfect Saturday evening.

The first two races got under way in non-foiling conditions, with the wind not quite strong enough for the boats to take flight. Add in the typical Solent current and the racing wasn't simple! Martin Evans took both races, with Luke Sheridan and Mark Irons exchanging places in second and third. As the sun began to set, the wind filled in and the boats began to fly! The sailors were set for a glorious golden hour with two more races in foiling conditions. Evans took the third race, holding off challenges from Steve and Luke Sheridan, who both made attempts for the lead by getting up on the foils early on the tight racecourse off the Seaview moorings. Evans couldn't complete a perfect record in the fourth race. Despite leading off the line, Evans was forced to watch Luke Sheridan foil past effortlessly as he sat low in the water struggling for speed. Evans fought back and returned the favour, but Sheridan repeated the same move on the third lap to seal his first win of the regatta!

After the four races, Evans took the overall win, with Luke Sheridan and Mark Irons tied on points in second and third. Big shout outs also go to Seaview Yacht Club, Caspar Gray and Guy Lawrence for organising and Steve Sheridan, Ian Osbourne, Mike Raber and Louis Lawrence for joining the fleet and making the racing enjoyable for competitors and spectacular for the crowd on the shore.

A return bout is being planned at the Royal Victoria Yacht Club for the next WASZP regatta, so watch this space for more Isle of Wight foiling! Any island sailors interested in trying the WASZP should contact Martin Evans on .

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