Following two tedious days on standby, Sylt delivered some seriously challenging conditions for the slalom sailors gathered in Germany on the seventh day of competition. A gusty 4-10 knots quickly increased to 12-20 knots and then backed off to 6-14 knots, but not before two full rounds of fast and furious racing had taken place.
The offshore direction meant that the course was set far out to sea, and the sailors had to be prepared for anything from full-on 8.0m and 110L white-knuckle ride racing to a 10.0m pumpathon. To add to the already testing conditions, the water was far from flat despite the wind direction, with an opposing swell meeting the short chop to create a confused surface for the racers to ride.
III Is The Magic Number
The legend, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic) stamped his authority on the PWA’s fastest fleet today to win every single race by a convincing margin (apart from one minor semi-final where he allowed Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde) to sneak his way through). To say Dunkerbeck was out there settling a score would be an understatement, today we saw the sort of dominance that saw him claim his Terminator title leaving the rest of the fleet to smoulder in his wake! With three straight bullets, he’s definitely on route to claiming the final crown of the year, which is bound to leave a sour taste in the mouths of his opponents until 2011.
13. Unlucky For Some…
After a whole season without any mistakes, it was only a matter of time before the five times world champion, Albeau slipped up. Perhaps it was because he was in the dreaded heat 13, or maybe he was just pushing it far too much. With Dunkerbeck out in front, Albeau needed to pull out all the stops, but he knows all too well that a premature start isn’t the way to go about it!
Following in his footsteps in the very same heat was the previous event champion and Albeau’s team-mate, Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde). However, these two tremendous competitors need not worry too much because every single sailor inside the top ten, bar of course Bjorn Dunkerbeck, has already claimed what could potentially be their discard having all failed to qualify for every winner’s final!
A Top Heavy Equation
Sometimes the seeding seems to work out perfectly, but on occasions it can throw up some nasty surprises. Today in the heat 14 semi-final of race three the numbers simply didn’t add up as it was stacked with a star-studded crew including Dunkerbeck, Albeau, Buzianis, Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine), Jimmy Diaz (Starboard, North), Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra), Alberto Menegatti (Starboard, Simmer), and Antoine Questel (Fanatic, Loft). Unfortunately for a few, four of these world-class athletes wouldn’t be advancing, and as a result it was one of the most hotly contested heats witnessed all day. It also happened to be the only heat that Dunkerbeck lost to Albeau, as well as being one where whoever was in fifth around the course was right on the heels of fourth. Going into the last leg Pritchard was happily qualifying, but appeared to pull up off the pedal seconds before the finish. What he hadn’t realised was that a speedy Diaz in fifth was still at full throttle, and managed to nip in front of him about a metre before the line!
With the wind in a constant state of change due to the gusty direction, it wasn’t easy for the competitors to decide which gear to take out. Factor in how far the racecourse actually was from the beach, and equipment changes were made almost impossible between heats. However, the most experienced sailors on the water appeared to have stunt doubles, who for a mere fifty euros would follow their every move throughout the day. Needless to say, the small investment paid dividends in results, but in one isolated case resulted in a fairly hefty bill due to the lightweight caddy being unable to sail gear back that someone 30kgs heavier couldn’t quite handle on the course!
Following three action packed rounds the competition is extremely tight at the top with just six points splitting third to eighth, and the 2009 overall runner up, Finian Maynard (RRD, Gaastra) waiting in the wings for the discard to kick in! The outlook for tomorrow looks better than today, so we’ll almost certainly see some more exciting racing on the challenging North Sea.
Results After Three Races
1st Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic)
2nd Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde)
3rd Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine)
4th Peter Volwater (Fanatic, MauiSails)