Wall to wall sunshine and strong winds paved the way for champagne sailing on the final day of the women’s slalom season in Almanarre, allowing for the maximum number of eliminations to be raced in glamorous conditions.
The first few heats began in fairly light winds, but the rest were sailed like a white-knuckle ride, with plenty of crashes and hell raising top speeds. Races four, five, and six were the usual split fleet affair, with the top five from the first two heats going on to fight it out in the final. Race seven however was something special, which required a slightly different set of skills, to end the 2010 tour in spectacular style.
Arrighetti Holds All The Aces
The 2009 world champion, Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic) began the day in the perfect way to keep her immaculate event record showing a fistful of firsts. However, her nearest rival and current tour leader, Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne) kept piling on the pressure finishing just behind her to remain in contention. In third Lise Vidal (Exocet, North) showed off her skills to walk away with her best result of the week.
The Young Guns Steal The Show
The second sensational slalom saw Arrighetti go over early in her first faux pas of the event, clearing the way for Jaggi to take the advantage. However, a handful of youngsters led by the rising French star, Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North) - who hadn’t scored a bullet since Korea – stopped the legend in her tracks forcing her to settle for fourth. Following in Arutkin’s wake was the 2010 freestyle world champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra), and transatlantic hopeful Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish) who both held off advances from the former world champion to finish in second and third respectively.
Jaggi Reaffirms Her Dominance
In the third race of the day, Jaggi pulled out all the stops, and with Arrighetti back in the winner’s final battle, stamped her authority on the entire fleet. The Swiss national was obviously enjoying the stronger winds, gritting her teeth and closing the slot to claim a convincing victory. Olivia Piana (Exocet, Loft) also found her form, fighting her way to an impressive second place, whilst local hero Fanny Aubet (JP, NeilPryde) crossed the line just behind. Arrighetti may have only finished fifth in this race, but with her almost perfect previous scores she’d done enough to secure the final crown of the season.
A Final Full Fleet Showdown
Despite both the event crown and the title having already been determined, the all women’s finale finished in fine style with a full fleet battle featuring the fastest females on the planet. Race director, Juan Antonio Aragon and his team set a huge first leg, forcing the racers to attack the course from a different angle. Speed and endurance proved key to success, as did the ability to keep the board on the water in the rough conditions. The start was spectacular with seventeen sailors pushing as hard as they could, but it didn’t take long for the current tour leader to edge ahead and take the lead. Full of confidence from her previous win, Jaggi held her position ahead of Hebert and Piana to finish the season on a high at the front of the fleet.
1st Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic)
2nd Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
3rd Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North)
4th Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish)
5th Lise Vidal (Exocet, North)
2010 Overall Rankings
After four events around the globe, Karin Jaggi and Valerie Arrighetti finished the season on equal points forcing the tie break rules to come into effect. With two firsts a piece it came down to which sailor had the highest number of the next best thing. Jaggi had two seconds whereas Arrighetti had only a second and a ‘did not compete’ (Korea), making Jaggi the clear champion for 2010.
1st Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
2nd Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic)
3rd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra)
4th Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North)
5th Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish)
“I’m absolutely stoked that I’ve won the world title this year, especially with it being on my new Patrik boards. It’s great for us to have won a world title in the brand’s first year. It was really close with Valerie, and in the end it came down to the discard, and the event that she missed. But, I think that’s all part of racing – you have to be prepared to go to all of the events, and give it 100% at every possible opportunity.
I’ve had a great time at this all-women’s final this week, despite starting it off with an illness. The strong winds made today really enjoyable, and the last race in particular was amazing with the very long first leg. I think it’s been an excellent end to a spectacular year on the women’s slalom tour, and this has been the best event by far! It was a little bit unfortunate that it clashed with a few other events around the world, so not everyone could join in, but I hope we can have the same event on the calendar next year, and that everyone will come.
I intend to continue racing on the tour in 2011, so you’ll see me back defending this world title. I’m going to be working on a few extra boards with Patrik Diethelm, so I should have a better set up. And, I’m sure my Severne sails will continue to evolve over the winter, so they should be even better too.”