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Date: 03rd-08th August 2000
Location: Paros / Greece
Status:  Grand Prix
Discipline: Race
Prizemoney: 30.000 US $

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As everyone becomes accustomed to the Paros lifestyle and atmosphere the first day has provided a chance for some fun racing, allowing sailors to re-tune their kit and their minds to suit the local conditions.

The first race begun with a full fleet beach start, providing plenty of white water as sailors battled to get away from the beach and into clean wind. As the fleet moved away from the beach towards the first mark the wind blew across the bay, staggering the fleet. The competitors then had to complete a course including an upwind mark followed by three downwind marks back towards the beach.

The bay suddenly came alive as the fleet created a stream of colour and movement, charging out towards the first mark. The sailors who chose to use course boards had an advantage over the other sailors, taking a closer line to the wind. Nobody on the beach could avoid the spectacle and the point in front of The Paros Surf Club was lined with spectators. Christoffer Rappe S-39 (Mistral, North) took the lead from Thomas Larsen D-68 (Mistral, Neil Pryde) at the upwind mark.

Thomas, "I knew I had to be well ahead of Rappe at the upwind mark. I tacked early, too early. But that was good fun, nice way to start."

Christoffer opened up a convincing lead and made it to the beach with plenty of time to make the short sprint up the beach to the finish flag. His nifty chop hop at the start paid dividends.

Christoffer," It was super gusty out there, at the start I jumped over the rope of the boat and that gave me a couple of extra metres upwind. Thomas had a good start but I caught him up at the buoy."

Ant Baker K-77 (F2, Arrows) was denied a chance to make an early impression when he was forced to retire.

Ant, " I set off and decided to tug in on my outhaul. As I did it broke and that was it, race over." Ben Van Der Steen H-57 (Fanatic, Art) is here with fellow Dutchman Ramses Landman H-72 (F2, Arrows)

Ben, " It was great fun I was on my big production board that allowed me to get really far up wind." It was a close race on the beach between Ben and Ramses as they both headed for the flag.

Ramses, "I was just behind Ben all the way. I liked the beach start and think they should extend the course a little and maybe go out round the island."

Ramses was referring to the two small islands that sit off the shores of Golden Beach, rather than a round Paros event. I don't think anyone was quite up for that level of adventure this afternoon! It was the perfect start for 'Rapper' who is hoping to retain his event title from last year.

The top three results of the first race were,

1. Christoffer Rappe S-39 (Mistral, North) 2. Thomas Larsen D-68 (Mistral, Neil Pryde) 3. Steve Allen KA-0 (Fanatic, Art)

Christoffer continued his form in the next race and after taking his second win of the day Christoffer said, "It's a great way to start, I was having fun and it does help to give me more confidence. I hope I can keep it going for the rest of the week."

Brian Roegild D-173 (Starboard, Art) followed Christoffer over the line in race two and Ramses Landman came third.

With so many fans of Paros gathered together there was an ideal opportunity to hear why some of the reason why they love it so much. Ant Baker has been coming here for eight years and has no shortage of reasons for returning each year.

Ant, "It's a beautiful place to windsurf the wind blows every day and the conditions are unreal. Here your sails are rigged up five metres from the beach, it's really relaxed and easy to get out and sail. You've got 'Punda Beach' just down the road and It's a real good fun place to be. I finished fourth here two years ago and I'll be pushing hard for a first. The nice thing about Paros is you know you'll always have a great time."

Punda Beach is a short car journey from The Paros Surf Club on Golden Beach. It's a top party destination, drawing crowds from across the island everyday and into the night. Another possible reason for the Paros fan club?

Finian Maynard KV-11 (V2 Max, Neil Pryde) has a reputation for being a very intense character yet he also finds comfort in the Paros leg of the PWA tour.

Finian," I grew up on an island in the Caribbean and Paros definitely reminds me of home a lot. It's generally a more forgiving event and everyone has a good time here. There's a great reef of coral that you can stand on out there and watch the sailing. The wind is quite consistent and it's not hard on the body or soul to be here! "

I came third four years ago and we'll see what happens this year."

Steve Allen KA -0 (Fanatic, Art) is another fan of Paros who is happy to be back again this year.

Steve, " I had to miss last year due to a broken rib. I've been coming here as long as the event has been running and this was one of my first PWA contests."

It's a great temperature here day and night. There are always really good conditions for racing and its' always a lot of fun, lots of little bars to relax in. There are so many people coming down here for holidays and to have fun. There's not a cloud in the sky, it's perfect. The islands developed a bit in the last few years, It used to be all camper vans down on the point and you still get a lot of backpackers visiting here. The event hasn't changed much and that's what makes it so good."

Tomorrow official racing will begin but the atmosphere should remain the same. The magic of Paros holds strong and it looks like everyone is set to enjoy another classic week on Golden Beach.

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last updated: 09/08/00