European Festival Championship 2016 | Day 3

Lay Day in Portimão

Lithuanians Minoaugas Kriukelis, Giedrius Liutkus e Arvydas Moliusis took a bike ride throughout Portimão (®PauloMarcelino)

The sailing boards were grounded on Day 3 of the European Festival Championship Formula Windsurfing Masters, Youth and Women 2016. This Friday, May 20th , the wind did not blow with minimum strength to hold races at Rocha Beach, Portimão. Athletes had a lay day to rest, socialize, sightseeing and enjoy the summer weather on the beach.

On this morning skippers meeting at 10am, it was decided to mark the first tentative start to 1pm. The starting signal was postponed to 4pm and then to 6pm, when the day was called off without any action on the water. The forecast was fulfilled, as the day before already pointed to negative wind conditions today.

Athletes near Rocha Beach during this Friday afternoon (®PauloMarcelino)

Athletes near Rocha Beach during this Friday afternoon (®PauloMarcelino)

The wind blew in the previous two days in Praia da Rocha from West-Northwest quadrant. This Friday, as reported by the Race Committee, the wind shifted to Southeast and lowered its intensity to 5 ‘knots. The boards of Formula Windsurfing don’t sail bellow 7 knots, so there were now conditions for any race in Portimao.

The 26 athletes rested and some wandered a bit through the city of Portimão, but not for long , as they had to be near the secretariat at Rocha Beach on the hours scheduled for the successive decisions throughout the afternoon. It was a day to regain strength after two intense days of races, all won by the local Miguel Martinho (‘Clube Naval de Portimão’) , Portuguese national Formula Windsurfing champion.

Support boat waiting for the start that never happened (®PauloMarcelino)

Support boat waiting for the start that never happened (®PauloMarcelino)

Lithuanian Giedrius Liutkus Fights for Podium

On this lay day, the Swell-Algarve took the opportunity to get to know the Lithuanian Giedrius Liutkus, who yesterday took the 3rd place overall and Masters. Liutkus is the Lithuanian national Formula Windsurfing vice-champion and is in Portimão with two compatriots: Minoaugas Kriukelis , 5th overall and 4th Master after 7 races in two days ; and Arvydas Moliusis , 12th overall and the only veteran in the championship.

“It’s my first time in Portugal . I’m really enjoying the warm sunshine. I’m used to sail in a wetsuit and here I can be on shorts”, said Liutkus, after a bike ride through the city of Portimão. The athlete is 39 years old and was the great revelation on the second day of the championship.

Lithuanian Giedrius Liutkus believes second place is still in reach… with luck (®PauloMarcelino)

Lithuanian Giedrius Liutkus believes second place is still in reach… with luck (®PauloMarcelino)

Yesterday, Thursday, Giedrius Liutkus took the 3rd place with a very consistent performance. “I am pleased with the first three races (3 + 5 + 2) yesterday. In the fourth race (7) I was already tired. The races here are very long and the wind is shifty“, said the Lithuanian. The athlete was a big surprise yesterday, mainly because he had a less good performance on the first day, Wednesday. “I arrived late to the first start and choose the wrong sail for the first two races”, said Liutkus.

Giedrius Liutkus was Lithuanian national FW champion three years ago (he is runner-up two years running) and was ‘ice sailing’ runner-up world champion five years ago; 3rd in this year’s world championship. It is an athlete with impressive physical and prefers more intense and stable wind than the one found in Portimão.

The Lithuanian athlete was unaware of the level of Portuguese athletes. After two days of championship in Portimão he has set a goal: “I want to be on the podium, at least in 3rd place, luckily in 2nd”, he said. Giedrius Liutkus has seen enough not to think about the assault on the first place held bay the local Miguel Martinho, who is dominating the championship. “I’m a realistic person”, explained the Lithuanian.