Gran Canaria Grand Slam Day 6
Day 6: The solid Albeau looks certain to take the title.
Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has extended his strong lead over the fleet after another epic day of racing in Gran Canaria. Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) were the men of the moment, winning today’s finals, whilst Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) is forced down the ranks.
The 20-knot wind was a welcome sight to the sailors after a week of gale-force racing. The slight drop in intensity meant that the competitors could sail comfortably on their preferred gear. The course layout remained the same, and the stage was set for an entertaining day on the water.
The great Antoine Albeau (JP/NeilPryde) has done enough today to hold his position at the top of the results ladder, and with only three races remaining, it seems like he already has one hand on this year’s title. After sailing consistently throughout the event, he has moved even further ahead, and will be confident as the contest enters the last two days.
The battle for the podium has really heated up, with mixed results from all of the key players. Ross Williams (Tabou/Gaastra) suffered yet another heartbreak, as he was pushed out of the winner’s final in a controversial turning point. Ben Van der Steen (Exocet/Simmer) sailed in the wrong heat, and Williams felt that the Dutchman had pushed him off the start line. The PWA rules state the heat couldn’t be re-run, and Williams had to accept his position in the loser’s final, moving him to fifth overall.
A tangle in the second round final between Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard/North Sails), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard/Severne) and Robby Swift (JP/NeilPryde), caused all three sailors to fall behind the fleet, severely affecting Moussilmani’s title chase. With both Moussilmani and Williams struggling today, it will be down to the wire for final three rounds.
Kevin Pritchard (Starboard/Gaastra/Dakine) had another great day on the water, his solid results giving him a bit of breathing space in second place. Finian Maynard (RRD/NeilPryde) made the most of his chances, and has moved up in the rankings after another consistent display of speed and wise tactics.
Micah Buzianis (JP/NeilPryde) was back to his old form, winning the opening finals by a comfortable margin. His starts were outstanding, and he often led the race to the first gybe mark, leaving him the space and clean wind needed to maintain a steady lead. Dunkerbeck also regained his composure well, and sailed excellently to win the last final of the day, and take his first win in this year’s event.
PWA Chairman, Jimmy Diaz (Starboard/North Sails) raced brilliantly early on and was involved in a lot of entertaining battles for the finish line, often with Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Exocet/Maui Sails). Ludovic Jossin (F2/Loft) also sailed excellently today, showing great acceleration along the reaches.
Today’s results will create a very exciting climax for the men’s slalom here at Pozo. As it stands, there are only five points between third and fifth places, and the results from this event will have a dramatic impact on the World Title chase.
Results (after twelve eliminations):
1 Antoine Albeau
2 Kevin Pritchard
3 Cyril Moussilmani
4 Finian Maynard
1 Phillip Kosterâ€¨
2 Victor Fernandezâ€¨
3 Jonas Ceballosâ€¨
4 Dario Ojeda
1 Daida Ruano Morenoâ€¨
2 Iballa Ruano Morenoâ€¨
3 Nayra Alonsoâ€¨
4 Junko Nagoshi