The American team has returned from France and the World Championships.



The team included; Nord Embroden US 2, Alan Wirtanen US 25, Lester Robertson US 3 and Dennis Bassano US 8 all in Class 2. In the Standart class we had, Mary Robertson US 310, Chris Becher US 314, and Jim Goss US 340. Along with us 7 racers were our support crew which included, Phil and Vickie Rothrock, John and Rachel Bogard, Melanie Wirtanen, Mary Bassano, Sharon Bassano (my mom), Jack and Sam Robertson, Sylvia Goss and Duncan Harrison  

The organization of the event was a huge effort. One task, of the many, included building a new clubhouse for the Bleroit Club the hosts of the event. There were 154 pilots in 4 classes of racing.  Two different race courses were set up every morning before 8 AM. The courses were removed before 1 PM and then set back up again for the evening races at 5:30.
The beach was brutal, lots of water, big deep holes called “the moon country” and soft sand. The first few races we held in what they call “half wind” meaning it was coming across the beach. This meant fast sailing (50+ knots) and some fast decision making. The smooth part of the beach is a narrow (30 to 50 feet wide) winding path with danger on all sides. As you follow this path you sometimes come over a hump in the sand only to find the moon country. Off you go hitting these holes at full speed. The holes are around 4’ in diameter and a foot or more deep, as you can imagine this can put a lot of strain on you boat. Alan found this out on the first lap when his front forks collapsed and he was out. Nord then had his halyard break knocking him out. My front suspension collapsed and my mast step tried to rip off the deck fortunately I was able to throttle back and finish the race in 8th.  Lester did some damage to his boat in practice but managed to escape breakage in the race and have a good result. In the Standart class (51 boats) Mary Robertson, Jim Goss and Chris Becher were having good results considering the state of the beach and the high level of competition. Mary broke a front rim and bent a rear axle during practice but they all escaped breakage during the races.
      During the second half of the regatta the wind turned light and came straight down the beach.

This is really difficult sailing as it means lots of tacks and jibes in down speed conditions. Some times to get from one bank of smooth sand to the other you had to cross a ditch full of water. The ditches were about 15 feet across, a foot deep and maybe enough room for 3 boats to go through side by side. This was hard enough when you are all going the same direction. During one race that I can remember, 6 of us got away from the others going upwind. We all came around the weather mark bearing off, hiking tire and picking up speed. We had to jibe and find our line through the ditch only to find out the other 25 boats are trying to come through going up wind! With some luck we all made it through without incident. One nice thing about racing in Europe is that everybody that is racing is an experienced licensed pilot that is aware of the rules. This is a comfortable feeling when you are crossing paths at 50 Mph only inches from each other.
      By the end of the week we were bruised and our boats were beaten but we were all still in the races and having a great time. Chris Becher (18 years old) in his first international competition had an outstanding result as the top American finisher in 24th in the Standart class. I had a difficult last two races and fell to 12th overall to top the American finishers in Class 2. We all had our ups and downs but achieved a reasonable result in the end. At the final dinner we learned that SASSASS had won the trophy for the best party. We had two BBQ’s with all the usual stuff. We did pack our BBQ in the container (it had some trouble in customs) but we didn’t have the room or the personnel to run the SASSANATOR. For the next edition of the World Championships in Patagonia, Argentina in February of 2008 we are hoping to bring all the stuff as well as more people and racers. For full results and tons of photos of this years event go to and check out the Championnat du Monde page. Direct Photo link

See you in the dirt,

—Dennis Bassano US 8

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