Dear Craig, Karin, Andrew and Simon,
On behalf of Peter, Johnnie, Greg and myself, thank you for supporting the Fanatic/North South Africa team at the Mauritius Attitude Challenge (MAC).
2018 marked the seventh running of the MAC. It has in the past been open to kites but this year the event was restricted to windsurfers only. After a day of unpacking and setting up equipment, we awoke to solid 25 knot winds on the first day of competition. At registration, each of the competitors had to register four pieces of kit. The SA team members went with 114, 129 and 136 Falcons, 7.0, 7.7 and 8.4 Warps.
Given the good conditions, the race director decided to run the Arnaud de Rosnay Memorial Crossing on the first day. This was a 50km long distance race from Point d’Esny up to Ile aux Cerfs and back. The scenery was breathtaking; the sailing back-breaking. Arriving at the half way mark, the famous “Joyride”, a speed run at the perfect angle to the wind with almost no chop, the head said, “Go for it,” but the body said “I don’t think so.” A collective sigh of relief could be heard when we finally got to gybe onto the other tack. Kevin Grosjean from France (another North/Fanatic rider) slotted in behind the local sailors until the half way mark and once he knew the way home, he streaked past and took the win. A well-deserved rest day was in order after that gruelling race. Pete and Johnnie were the top finishers in our team with 13th and 14th places respectively.
The competition site moved up to Anse la Raie in the North of Mauritius for day 2 and in light winds four rounds of long course slalom were run. Anse la Raie had been the base for the 2016 competition and Pete and Shayne took advantage of their experience with the conditions to finish 11th and 14th respectively. Proving just how important local knowlege was, Mauritian number 1, Fabrice Leclezio, took the win with Kevin Grosjean slumping to 19th.
The winds returned for day 3 and we headed to to Blue Bay for long course slalom. This proved to be one of the best days of windsurfing any of us had ever experienced. In 25 knot winds, fifty of us slotted in behind the start boat to blast down a flat, azure course, only meters from the surf breaking onto the reef. With everyone maxed out on the flat water, the racing was tight across the entire fleet and there was much disappointment when the tide eventually forced us to stop with four races and more than 65kms in the bag. The highest speed of the competition was recorded during these races with Kevin Greenslade from the UK recording a speed just shy of 37 knots. Johnnie reveled in the conditions finishing 12th ahead of Pete in 14th, whilst Greg recorded his best result of 16th place.
Day 4 saw a return to long course slalom at Pointe d’Esny in light conditions. With the incoming tide, the current played havoc with the fleet. Some of us were even forced to tack on a downwind slalom course. Larger fins were called for in the second race and some of these wound up being eaten by the coral. In the end the racing had to be abandoned.
All of the competitors stayed on after the end of official competition and we sailed together nearly every day in the beautiful setting of Point d’Esny and surrounds. We became fast friends with the teams from Australia, Seychelles, France, the UK, Jersey and the local Mauritians. By the end of the trip, we had each covered more than 300kms. The level of competition this year was higher than ever before. Kevin Grosjean took the overall win ahead of Fabrice Leclezio from Mauritius and Kevin Greenslade from the UK. UK North/Fanatic rider Simon Pettifer finished in 7th. Pete was the top South African finishing in 11th. Johnnie finished 15th, Shayne 21st and Greg 27th. Brandon Wijtenburg and his Dad Mark, recent converts to North/Fanatic and who have extensive sailing experience declared this to be the toughest sailing competition they have ever participated in. They finished, with big smiles, in 38th and 40th place respectively.
Although the standard of sailing is extremely high and the event is very well organised, the focus of the MAC is on fun. Christo Tyack and his team have succeeded in creating an event that is accessible whilst being challenging for all skill levels and in putting a smile on every competitor’s face. Each of the races will live long in our memories. The SA Fanatic/North team was kitted out in matching T-Shirts every day. We stayed together, we sailed together and we partied together. On the water, we could not have asked for better kit and Kevin’s overall win proved how fast the Fanatic/North combination is.