The Bermuda windsurfing team admit they are unsure of their chances in this year’s Island Games.
After coming out of nowhere to seize gold in the team windsurfing event at the 2011 Island Games and bronze for Scott Mello in the individual event, members of the Bermudian windsurfing team are being careful not to be overconfident and are wary of what to expect this year in different conditions and with different equipment.
Mello cites the boards being used at this year’s Games and the prospective racing style as two main reasons Bermuda may not dominate the field again this year, telling the Bermuda Sun: “At the previous games we raced on lightweight one-design slalom equipment where we did slalom racing where lots of high-speed turns are done in close quarters with other racers which puts an emphasis on board handling.
“For these games we’ll be on heavier one-design equipment, which uses a centerboard like a dinghy.
“With a lower power to weight, it won’t have the speed or turning ability like slalom boards so is likely we’ll be doing upwind/downwind sailing like traditional sailing courses.
“I’ve never raced that sort of gear, nor has Peter Riihiluoma, so we’ll have to adapt quickly to the racing format and equipment.
“It’s hard to say how Bermuda will perform this year.
“When we did the Island Games two years ago, we were on slalom equipment and we did slalom races, which suits our type of sailing.
“If we get strong wind then hopefully we can do slalom, but typically in the summer the wind is light. So I’m crossing my fingers that we get strong wind.”
Veterinarian and windsurfer Neil Burnie echoed Mello’s sentiments regarding Bermuda’s chances this year:
“The reason we managed to kick a** last time is because in Bermuda we’re all high-wind sailors.
“We all race on short boards and small sails, in relatively high winds, so we race slalom.
“At the Isle of Wight Games they elected to use slalom as the format for the racing, so that was natural for us Bermudians, which is why we came out of the blue and took gold, because that’s what we race all the time.
“I think we were an upset, because some of the other guys were expecting that they were going to kick a** in that event.
“Most of the other islands up to that point had been raised on what we call long-board racing. Long-board racing is more like 10-12 foot boards with big sails and is raced usually in light air.
“Because we are holding the event in Bermuda in July where winds tend to be light and variable, we’ve elected to choose a long-board racing format for Bermuda.”