First tour leader Antoine ALBEAU (FRA) was disqualified for dangerous sailing, before Bjorn DUNKERBECK (DEN) sailed the wrong course when clearly in the lead. Next Finian MAYNARD (IVB) crashed out due to equipment failure, leaving the door wide open for second ranked Kevin PRITCHARD (USA), who failed to capitalize by rolling home in tenth place.
Race one got underway at around 1000 in front of large weekend crowds enjoying the late summer sunshine. In heat one MAYNARD’s claim on a podium finish took a massive blow after his boom exploded, forcing him to retire. Heat three was clearly being led by DUNKERBECK before he rounded the wrong mark, meaning he had to tack and sail back upwind to re-round it, forcing him to settle for eleventh. After the heat the multiple World Champion protested, claiming the course was laid differently to a published diagram. Later the committee awarded him redress, judging that his result for race one will be determined by an average of his results that use the four heat elimination format for the remainder of the event.
In the pre-start hustle for race four, ALBEAU recklessly took out Aurelian LE METAYER (FRA). His subsequent disqualification really puts the pressure on the Frenchman, who must now hope for more wind, more racing, and the chance to discard this race result.
Taty FRANS (NED) was unlucky not to qualify after a great fight with Steve ALLEN (AUS) for the qualification slot in the first semi-final. Matt PRITCHARD (USA) failed to advance from the same semi, which Cyril MOUSSILMANI (FRA) won convincingly.
An exciting final was now on the cards with top guns Kevin PRITCHARD and BUZIANIS keen to stamp their authority and take the event lead. Israeli speed merchant Arnon DAGAN, who finished in second, explained the action.
'Just before the start the wind dropped, and I chose to start at the boat end despite the lighter wind. I was well upwind with Jimmy DIAZ [(ISV)], and Micah who both got perfect starts ahead of me. I was late by a few seconds, but like Ross WILLIAMS [(GBR)] I got good speed approaching the first mark, where I let both Ross and Micah stay ahead so I could go wide with my gybe. Micah got inside of us and got ahead with good board speed. Ross and I had a great race for second with me being faster on starboard tack and him on port tack. Micah was clear ahead on the last reach and won, whilst Ross and I got an amazing photo finish with neither of us really knowing who crossed the line first! Luckily I was judged to have crossed before Ross who came third, and Bernd FLESSNER [(GER)] in fourth.'
Race winner BUZIANIS gave us his take on the same final. 'I had a great start at the upwind end with Jimmy DIAZ above me, and I just couldn’t get away and upwind, but I finally got away from him. After this I started working on trying to catch Ross and Arnon who were ahead of me approaching the first gybe mark. I could see they were going to gybe wide so I slammed on the brakes and went inside, and got upwind of them. From here I got ahead and despite the fact I won easily I didn’t really get to full speed due to the choppy water.'
A couple of heats of race two were completed with no major surprises before the wind shut down ending competition for the day. The weather forecast points to the possibility of slalom or freestyle being the most likely to see any action over the next few days, whilst the wave sailors look likely to compete towards the end of the week.
The event also has its own German language website www.worldcupsylt.de. A positive long range forecast could see competition starting immediately after the show opens.
Professional Windsurfers Association (PWA) Events are designated as ISAF Special Events. There are five main disciplines that are held on the PWA World Tour: Wave, Freestyle, Race (Slalom 42), Super X and Indoor. Competitors at each World Tour event score points towards the PWA Annual Ranking list. At the end of the season, the sailor with the highest total score in each discipline is the PWA World Champion for that year.
For more information on the PWA, the events and the sailors visit the PWA website - www.pwaworldtour.com.