Today was the first day of the annual Defi Wind at Gruissan in France. The competitors had already a great warm-up day yesterday with Tramontana winds blowing with over 40 knots. Also today the wind blew well and the event saw an awesome first race in Gruissan, France!

Today was a public holiday in France, an impressive crowd of windsurfers gathered on the beach of “les chalets” in Gruissan. After a first briefing at 1pm, the competitors crossed the start line at 3pm for 2 endless runs up to Port la Nouvelle. Only one race has been validated in a moderate north wind, and the Italian Patrick Diethelm took the victory by closing the course in 44 minutes, while the Swiss Karin Jaggi won in the women category.

The start - Pic: Biancotto

At 3pm 767 competitors crossed the starting line for a very long race in the direction of Port La Nouvelle. In moderate Tramontana  with 20 to 25 knots sailors from more than 25 countries started the challenge! After an incredible 40 km race – less than 45 minutes for the winner and almost 2h30 for the last one – Patrick Diethelm, top PWA Slalom racer from Italy, crossed the finish line in pole position followed by Bieuzy Mauffret (France), while Laurent Gaüzère (New Caledonia) scored a nice 3rd place ahead of Tine Slabe from Slovenia. The girls category saw the victory of Karin Jaggi from Switzerland  PWA Slalom World Champion. Patrick Diethelm, who just stopped to compete at the PWA Slalom at the Costa Brava on the second competition day, obviously made the right decision.

Patrik Diethelm - Pic: Jean Souville


The two top placed sailors stated following:

Patrick Diethelm (Italy), men winner race 1: “This is my 1st Defi Wind and this event is just huge ! I had a pretty bad start as I went too far down on the starting line. There was not enough wind. This is due to my lack of experience on this competition! But I could finally escape from the group to catch fresh wind, get some good speed to overtake everybody and then fight with Bieuzy Mauffret after I overtook Laurent Gaüzère. That was pretty ok in the gusts but that was hard for my back, when there was no wind. I finally ended first, just 50m ahead of Bieuzy !”


Karin Jaggi (Switzerland), ladies winner race 1: “I already came to the Defi Wind in 2007. The most difficult thing is to choose well the equipment, as far as today, the wind raised a little before the start! I decided to compete on a smaller board with a bigger sail, but my fin was too small. After a bad start and a gusty wind over the end I could finally manage to get in. But whatever is the result, the images that I keep in mind about the Defi Wind are these ones I got when I sailed on the way back. You see all these sails ! It is just incredible!”

© Info: Open Ocean Media / Steve Palier