With glorious blue skies and a light offshore breeze, sunbathing and swimming were the main activities in Almanarre today. A slight fluttering of the flags late in the afternoon caused the sailors to leap into action, but it wasn’t long before they resumed their positions, and lay in hope for racing another day.
After an entire day spent on standby, we took the opportunity to talk to long standing PWA racer and current tour leader, Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne) about the world famous destination of Almanarre. Having entered her first ever world cup here, returning to this beach brings back many special memories…
PWA: Tell us about your history with Almanarre.
KJ: “Well, my time at this beach goes back a lot further than my first ever world cup event, I actually learnt to windsurf properly around here. At first it was mostly on the other side of the bay, but I did come over here to Almanarre quite a lot too. And, by then it was already a world-renowned location with a history of hosting international events to the superstars of the sport such as Robby Naish (Naish, Naish), Anders Bringdal (Mistral), and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic).”
PWA: When did you first enter an event here?
PWA: Wow, that’s almost two decades ago! Who was the local hero back then?
KJ: “Oh, it had to be Eric Thieme for sure. He was more famous for indoor events though than anything else.”
PWA: He was the French lunatic that used to wear the leopard print suits whilst racing in Bercy right?
KJ: “Yeah that was him! He actually has a windsurfing centre right here on the beach now.”
PWA: Has Almanarre always been about the racing?
KJ: “In competition, yes. We used to do course racing and slalom, but now it’s just slalom.”
PWA: What does Almanarre have to offer?
KJ: “First of all it’s a great spot to windsurf because the conditions vary so much, so you’ll never get bored. It can be light and offshore one day, to strong and cross-shore the next which also makes it a great place to train. It’s really close to Marseille as well, which is a fun city to visit, and the coastline here is beautiful. There are heaps of people that windsurf around here too, so there are always plenty of like minded people who love to watch the world cup when it’s in town.”
PWA: If someone came to visit during the season what sort of wind can they expect?
KJ: “There are two main winds, the Mistral which - if it is forecast - is almost guaranteed to be strong, and great for sailors who enjoy windsurfing in winds above force 4. The other wind comes from the East which can be strong too, but it’s not as reliable as the Mistral.”
PWA: Which do you prefer?
KJ: “For general sailing they can both be really good, especially if you have a car because you can drive to the other side of the peninsula, so you can always get clean onshore winds. Also, it doesn’t really matter which discipline you sail here, it can be great for speed, waves, and slalom. Plus it’s good for all ability levels.”
PWA: How would you rate Almanarre as a destination for a holiday?
KJ: “Within Europe it’s definitely one of my favourites because it’s easy to access by car so you can go on a good forecast from almost anywhere. The sailing is world-class, and it’s still not too expensive to stay directly on the beach because there are so many campsites, and small hotels. I’d recommend it to almost everyone apart from those in search of perfect waves. It’s a great destination for families too.”
Thanks for your time Karin, and lets hope the ‘vent de est’ or the Mistral return soon, so the locals can watch some more high-octane racing!
Results After 3 Races
1st Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic)
2nd Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
3rd Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North)
4th Lise Vidal (Exocet, North)
5th Fanny Aubet (JP, NeilPryde)
6th Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish)
7th Delphine Cousin (Fanatic, North)
8th Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra)
9th Ophelle Joly (Fanatic, North)
10th Marion Mortefon
Eye On The Horizon
The forecast looks hopeful with a good ‘vent d’est’ forecast for tomorrow, and a return of the mistral on Wednesday.