Thursday, 19 October 2023 20:50

Double-skin wing delivers double win for Julien

Julien Ratotti grins his way to a double win on day one Julien Ratotti grins his way to a double win on day one IWSA media / Robert Hajduk

Two long distance races with spectacular rabbit starts in 10 to 17 knots of wind
France’s Julien Ratotti uses a new double-profile wing for an upwind speed edge and two bullets
Maddalena Spanu of Italy wins both races in the women’s competition
Today’s results are used to divide the men into three qualifying groups for short-course racing
17 women will race in their own short-course fleet

Distance races revealed who is going quickest at WingFoil Racing World Cup Sardinia. Men’s World Champion Mathis Ghio has been setting the pace in the past year but it was another Frenchman, Julien Ratotti, who made the running on day one by winning both races quite comfortably. The same was true in the women for 16-year-old Maddalena Spanu of Italy who came home ahead of her female rivals in both races.

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© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: The high-speed rabbit start launches the fleet on the long-distance race

Ratotti was delighted with his day on the water in sunny Sardinia. “I have never won a long distance race before and today I won two,” he grinned. “I thought I was going fast but you don’t really know how you’re going to do until you are racing in the fleet with everyone else. My wing from Gong is going well, it is a double-profile design which I think is giving me maybe an extra knot of speed on the upwind. But now we have the short course so it is a different style of racing tomorrow.”

Finishing in second in the first race behind Ratotti was Nicolo Spanu, but it was the younger sibling Maddalena who did even better by winning both the women’s heats. “I have been working hard,” said the 16-year-old. “Nearly every day I have been going to the gym and training a lot on the water. I thought I might be able to go well here but I am still really excited to win the races here today.”

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© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Maddalena Spanu won both women's races

Next best in the women was Orane Ceris of France who was going fast and able to recover to 2nd and 3rd places even when her launch out of the hectic rabbit starts didn’t go so well. Surrounded by so many men on the busy, moving start line, it was hard for the women to find their own clear air on the race course. But that problem will resolve itself for Friday’s short-course racing when they split out into their own racing fleet.

Third overall in the women after day one is Manon Pianazza of France with some classy contestants behind her including winner of the previous event in Switzerland back in June, Fiona Wylde of the USA who currently sits in sixth overall.

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© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Ratotti's green wing leads the fleet

Francesco Cappuzzo sits in second in the men’s competition which is a pretty good start to the Italian’s campaign yet he was regretting some missed opportunities. “I was leading at some point in both races and so I feel like I let it go,” he shrugged. “I had a crash during a tack which put me back but I was going fast and was able to make up ground on others, so that is a good sign. It feels like any of the top seven here are good enough to win, so let’s see.”

While the top 10 spots are dominated by the French and Italian squads, the lone ranger from New Zealand, Josh Armit, sits in 7th overall. Not bad for his first day of competition at a Wingfoil Racing World Cup, but then Armit is a solid Olympic campaigner with a background in Laser singlehanded dinghy racing and more recently in the iQFOiL windsurfer, including a 7th place at the World Championships two months ago in The Netherlands.

2023 10 19 at 21.58.17© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Great conditions right off Poetto Beach

There is a big buzz around the event, a feeling that wingfoil racing is going from strength to strength. And it seems like everyone’s doing it, even the Olympic windsurfing legend and four-time medallist, Alessandra Sensini, was out on the water just for the fun of it as she gets to grips with a new board sport.

As for the competition, with €20,000 of prize money on the table, Ratotti and Spanu will have their work cut out to defend their leads after a perfect start to the regatta for the leading male and female riders.

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© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Orane Ceris is second in the women

Friday sees a day of six Qualifying Races on the schedule, after which the fleet will be re-ordered into Gold, Silver and Bronze Racing for Saturday and the Medal Series for the top 10 men and women to decide the podium places this Sunday.



Julien Ratotti


1.5 p


Francesco Cappuzzo


4.0 p


Mathis Ghio


4.5 p



Maddalena Maria Spanu


3.0 p


Orane Ceris


7.0 p


Manon Pianazza


9.0 p

2023 10 19 at 21.58.15
© IWSA media / Robert Hajduk: Gusty conditions close to the Cagliari shore

Last modified on Thursday, 19 October 2023 21:29
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