Fuerteventura Grand Slam
Day 3 - The third day of fast and furious racing off Sotavento’s white sands belonged to Dunkerbeck, but the week is still Albeau’s.
The spectators finally got to witness the battle of the titans today with the awesome rise of the Terminator, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic) battling it out in both winner’s finals with the 2009 world champion, Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde).
The scene was set for the ultimate showdown with a perfect 15-20 knot breeze, clear blue skies, and a backdrop of beachgoers watching on in anticipation. With two full races scheduled for the day, both of the legends had two chances to prove their worth, and win over the crowds.
With a less than perfect start to the week, it was only a matter of time before Dunkerbeck sought salvation. The Terminator sailed his 8.6 Severne Reflex, and Starboard iSonic 111 almost faultlessly during every early round heat, to pass through to the finals with ease.
Despite Albeau dominating race seven, Dunkerbeck gritted his teeth following a less than ideal start, to charge his way through the fleet like a lightning bolt, gaining places down every run and through all of his gybes. When he got to the final straight to see Albeau and Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine) gunning for the line, Dunkerbeck was forced to go all out down the final furlong where he hit warp speed. Had the course been any longer, the many times world champion would have claimed second place, but Pritchard just managed to defend himself leaving Dunkerbeck to settle for third.
The final of race eight was a completely different story though. Back on form, and knowing that he had the speed to annihilate any one who dare get in his way, Dunkerbeck hit mach 10 and crossed the line bang on the gun. By the first mark he was ahead of the pack, and with Albeau trailing in his wake, need never look back. If he had looked back however, it may have brought a smile to his face as the event leader, Albeau had dropped his sail forcing himself to the back of the fleet.
Tight At The Top
Although the day belonged to Dunkerbeck, there were also many other sailors that put in some rock solid results to consolidate their positions at the front of the fleet. The first of these was Finian Maynard (RRD, Gaastra) who’s now lying in 2nd overall after a 4th and 3rd saw him creep past day one leader, Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard, North).
Unfortunately, Moussilmani’s slip-ups today have helped his rivals catch up. The Frenchman was on fantastic form during race seven where he scored a sixth. However, a broken fin box forced him to use his smallest board in race eight, which meant he failed to hold his position, and went out in the quarterfinals. Moussilmani remains in 3rd overall, but could do with finding his day one form.
Former overall world champion, Kevin Pritchard also posted some of his best results of the contest, with his awesome 2nd place in race seven after holding off the Terminator, Dunkerbeck being his best score of the season. And, with his usual consistent style, scored a 5th in race eight which places him in 5th overall.
Britain’s Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) was another sailor to play the consistency game today, with a 5th and a 6th seeing him comfortably sitting in 6th overall.
Stepping Up Their Game
It wasn’t just the sailors at the front of the fleet who were upping their game today, many of the mid fleet sailors showed plenty of promise.
The first of these was the French all rounder, Julien Quentel (JP, NeilPryde) who sailed outstandingly to qualify for the winner’s final in race seven. This wasn’t his first taste of battling with the best though, he actually qualified for the same heat in race six, which definitely makes him one to watch for the future.
Italian, Alberto Menegatti (Starboard, Simmer) also had his best day of the week. Not only did he qualify for the loser’s final in race seven, but he did one better in race eight to wrestle with the winners. Wrestling being the word, as he was in a solid third after the first two legs, but then Albeau made his mistake closing the inside lane, which cost Menegatti his race.
Top PWA wave performer, Robby Swift (JP, NeilPryde) also sailed his slalom kit to a higher degree today. He found his form to fly off the line and comfortably go through heat after heat. Eventually he raced in both loser’s finals, but narrowly missed out on making the winner’s. Still, a better day for the young Brit sees him climb the up the ladder.
Another sailor who deserves a mention, despite not doing quite so well today, is the young Frenchman, Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic, North). Throughout the past three days he’s shown signs of excellence, especially yesterday when he qualified for the winner’s finals on two occasions, and even scored a 3rd ahead of seasoned pros like Dunkerbeck. At just twenty years old, he has been tipped for the top, and will surely be a top ranked racer before long.
The forecast for tomorrow looks similar to today’s so we expect racing to continue for the remainder of the event. With Dunkerbeck back on form, and Albeau making mistakes, there’s every possibility that the results will change.
Results After Eight Races
1st Antoine Albeau (JP, NeilPryde) 5.5pts
2nd Finian Maynard (RRD, Gaastra) 17pts
3rd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard, North) 17.7pts
4th Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard, Severne, Mystic) 23.7pts
5th Kevin Pritchard (Starboard, Gaastra, Dakine) 30pts
6th Ross Williams (Tabou, Gaastra) 36pts
7th Ben Van Der Steen (JP, Mystic) 39pts
8th Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde) 47.7pts
9th Steve Allen (Starboard, Severne) 50 pts
10th Jimmy Diaz (Starboard, North) 67pts