Day 3 - After yesterday’s fast and furious day of racing, light winds presented the opportunity for the PWA slalom fleet to reflect on the first race, rest aching muscles and re-charge their batteries.
Day 3 dawned with a promising forecast, clear skies, beautiful sunshine and a light breeze. All the signs were in place for the local thermal winds to kick in and jump-start Race 2 into action. Unfortunately as the wind increased, high altitude clouds blocked the sun and with it, shut down any hope of competition for the day.
Sailors spent their time enjoying the wonderful Ballena Alegre campsite, playing tennis, bike riding, card games on the veranda and even ukulele playing. We caught up with yesterdays star performers and asked them how race 1 went for them.
Women’s winner Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou/The Loft)
“I am really ‘appy. I had a great race. My start was nice and I could exit the first gybe in first place. From there it is always easier and I could hold on for the win. I am really ‘appy!”
Second place finisher Karin Jaggi (F2/Severne)
“I made a mistake with my timing and arrived too early at the start. I managed to slow down and cross the line on the gun, but my speed was lost and I couldn’t get in front of Valerie. Its really hard to overtake from that position.”
Third place finisher Marta Hlavaty (Starboard/MauiSails)
“I am a little surprised, but very happy. I have been focusing more on RSX, but I think in these difficult gusty conditions that was probably an advantage.”
Men’s winner Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde)
“It was a tough race. I think it was all about the first gybe. I came in right behind Steve Allen and Micah Buzianis, but had a really tight gybe and came out planing above them both. From that position I could use my speed to get ahead. Once in the lead it was easy to hold my position.”
Second place finisher Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra)
“The conditions were really difficult. Gusty winds and big lulls made it very hard work. I arrived at the first gybe in fourth, but came out in a good position and was able to move into second down the next reach. I chased Antoine but there was no way past him.”
Third place finisher Steve Allen.
“I started at the boat end of the line on my own and when I arrived at the first gybe I didn’t really realise that I was in top position. It was really tight with Micah and Antoine, but I made a small mistake when I exited the gybe, heading towards the wrong mark for a fraction of a second. That was all Antoine needed to come get over the top and kill my wind. I was so focused on getting first that in the end I went too low on the reach and let Ross go ahead too.”
The forecast for tomorrow is similar to today, so if the cloud stays away we could be in for a strong sea breeze in the afternoon. Be sure to check for all the latest photos, a full list of results and the live ticker report.
Early round highlights and upsets
Race 1 continued as expected, with all of the top 20 seeds passing through to the quarterfinals without any troubles. Perhaps the only real surprise was Gabriel Browne (Starboard/MauiSails). Suffering with the flu his concentration was clearly absent and he crossed the start line early, leaving him in bolt last position.
By the quarterfinals, things were heating up. Heat 9 saw number three seed Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet/MauiSails) jump the gun, ending his run at a very early stage. A hot tip after his performance in Austria, Julien Quentel (RRD/NeilPryde), also saw his race end in the quarters, after taking the fateful 5th position of heat 10.
Heat 11 saw one of the favourites for the event Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra) blow up down the reach as his outhaul rope exploded. He was left swimming and was forced to watch his rivals disappear without him. Heat 12 almost witnessed the biggest upset of the day as World Champion Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) missed the boom coming out of the gybe. Using all his strength he muscled the sail upright and continued into the semi-final.
By the semi-finals things were really tight at the top. Arnon Dagon (Tabou/Gaastra) was fighting hard for his spot in the top-8 but with 4 guys hitting the gybe at the same time there was always going to be at least one loser. Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) was also out in this same heat. He gambled on a smaller fin, but when the predicted increase in wind failed to materialise he was left lagging in the middle of the fleet.
The second semi-final saw Albeau step into top gear. An on-fire Peter Volwater (F2/MauiSails) led from the start, but Antoine hauled him in and in fighting for first Pete nearly lost out completely as Steve Allen attacked from behind to take 2nd.
The loser’s final saw Dunkerbeck take a comfortable lead from the start and eventually win by over a hundred metres. Other than his slip up in the semi he looked solid all day. Patrik Diethelm (F2/North Sails) had also been in great form all day, but a rare starting mistake cost him his slot in the top-8. He finished 2nd in the losers final ahead of Josh Angulo (Angulo/MauiSails) in 3rd.
The winners final really was a spectacular end to the day. Off the start it was Steve Allen that took control and arrived at the first gybe in first place. Right on his tail were Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) and Antoine Albeau - both attacking for that number one slot. Antoine muscled his way through, coming out of the gybe in a dominant position. As the three of them all fought to hold their ranking, Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) capitalised on the battle, sailing high, keeping out of trouble and moved into attack position coming into the outside gybe. Antoine held onto first, Williams stayed on his tail in 2nd and Allen just about held off Buzianis to take 3rd.
The standard of the women’s fleet has risen dramatically and this event sees 16 competitors of the highest level. Even more impressive is how low the average age of the competitors are, showing how great the future looks for women’s racing.
First round standout was Alice Arutkin (Starboard/North Sails). She blasted into 1st place ahead of World Champion Karin Jaggi (F2/Severne). At just 17 years old she is definitely a hot tip for the future. Unfortunately for her a timing mistake in the final meant she eventually finished 6th.
The losers final was won by fired up French woman Morane Demont (Starboard/Severne). Demont had an over-early in the first round, but made no mistakes in the losers' final. Cagla Kubat (Starboard/North Sails) looked very comfortable and took 2nd. A winter in Maui, training with Jimmy Diaz (Starboard/North Sails), has clearly paid off. In 3rd position young Turkish hope Lena Erdil (Starboard/Loft Sails) was fuming. She had been leading an earlier heat when it was cancelled and in the re-run things didn’t go the same way. Sometimes racing can be very cruel.
The final was a more traditional affair with Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou/Loft Sails) and Karin Jaggi blasting into the lead and fighting for the top spot. A poor start from Karin opened the door for Valerie and she made no mistake taking advantage of it. In 3rd place was a surprised Marta Hlavaty (Starboard/MauiSails). More at home on an RSX board, she used her light wind skills to work through the lulls and move into the final podium position.
With four more days to go, it is all still to play for so stay tuned to www.pwaworldtour.com and be sure to check the live event ticker tomorrow. First possible start is at 10.30am.
1st Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde)
2nd Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra)
3rd Steve Allen
4th Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde)
5th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails)
6th Jimmy Diaz (Starboard/North Sails)
7th Finian Maynard (RRD/NeilPryde)
8th Peter Volwater (F2/MauiSails)
9th Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne)
10th Patrik Diethelm (F2/North Sails)
1st Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou/Loft Sails)
2nd Karin Jaggi (F2/Severne)
3rd Marta Hlavaty (Starboard/MauiSails)
4th Sarah Hebert (Starboard/Naish)
5th Lise Vidal (Exocet/North Sails)