Damien LeRoy reports back from the World Speed Chapmionship.
We sat in France for over a week with no wind. Finally the forecast we were looking for came. It was going to be all or nothing in the remaining last three days of the event. Race director Pascal Maka had the first start time scheduled for 7am. Pascal who once defeated the Catamaran Crossbow for the outright world speed sailing record certainly knew how to make an event happen. The hard part however was getting to the event, as riders like us had to get up at 3:45am to get there in enough time. We had to take a ferry, then a 45 minute ride, then transfer bags onto some trucks and finally a drive out to a private speed run. Then of course we had to set up all our gear in time to be stretched and ready to race.
The first day the winds were shifting in every direction making it tough to catch the right puff to carry you all the way down the course. Two races in, Rob Douglas the fastest sailor in the world at the moment, was ready for battle and took the early lead with two bullets. I was switching gear at the wrong time and fell back in the pack ending up with a 7th and a 9th. We finished racing at 9pm that day and made it back to the house around midnight. It was only the beginning of the planned races as we had another early start the next morning. With less than three hours sleep, I was prepared and eager to make my comeback. That day I won two races and finished second on another as I started to crawl back up the ladder. Rob stayed in the top three positions racing very consistent and keeping himself in winning contention. Team leader Bill Lynch had the 10th fastest time of the event. Coach Mike Gebhardt never missed a step keeping team USA focused; we were a team and on a mission.
The final results all came down to the last day, the last race and about the last 5 minutes of the heat. I was sitting in first, until Rob Douglas and current Speed World Champion Alex Caizergues came smoking down dropping me into 4th place. It was an awesome moment to see my great friend and teammate Rob Douglas win and become the 2012 World Champion.
After all the dust settled I was happy with my performance ending up on the podium in 3rd and only 1.4 points out of taking second position, not bad for my second Speed event ever.
A sincere thank you to all the French riders and the organizers who pushed the limits to race and host a terrific event. I am honored to have had the opportunity to experience this event and it could not have been done without the support from Bill Lynch, Cabrinha kites, Alex Aguera, Rista Fins, GoPro, Costa sunglasses and The Black Dog. From the bottom of my heart I thank you all.......Damo
3. Damien LeRoy
1. Charlotte Consorti
2. Marie Dessandre Navarre
3. Jessica Winkler