by Chris Yates
From the 26th to the 31st August the fastest sailors in the world will be returning to action as they prepare to descend upon the beautiful shores of Alacati, Turkey, for the Pegasus Airlines Alacati PWA World Cup. The exciting week ahead will see the men’s fleet competing for the fourth time this year - meaning a discard will come into play after the event - whilst the women are readying themselves for their second battle of the season.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck - PWA Alacati World Cup 2013
Alacati is located on the Cesme peninsula, just a thirty minute drive from the bustling city of Izmir. Primarily known for its stunning natural stone villas, chic boutiques, traditional cafes and fantastic restaurants, Alacati has started to experience a change in cliental, in recent years, as thousands of windsurfers, from all around the globe, flock to the stunning shores of Alacati to take advantage of the beautiful turquoise waters and clockwork like Meltemi winds, which blow consistently between the months of May to October. Combine this with the gorgeous local scenery and cosmopolitan vibe and you can quickly understand why Alacati is continuing to enhance its reputation as not only a windsurfing Mecca, but also as the must visit destination in Turkey, so much so that it is now challenging Bodrum for the title of Turkey’s most stylish Aegean resort.
Albeau chases down Michah Buzianis - PWA Alacati World Cup 2013
Although Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) currently sits outside of the world’s top ten - 13th - he still enters the event as the favourite. Apart from a blip in Turkmenistan, where Albeau finished last, the reigning PWA Slalom World Champion has looked in imperious form with two emphatic victories in both Costa Brava and Fuerteventura. Add to this the fact that Albeau has won in Alacati for the past two seasons and it’s difficult to see anyone stopping him - especially when he has the added incentive of knowing that another victory here will guarantee him his place back at the top of the overall world rankings.
As the current PWA Slalom World Tour leader - Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) - will be a serious threat again in Alacati. The Frenchman has displayed the speed, consistency and tactical know how at each of the opening three events this year and has been rewarded with two second places and a joint first. Expect to see perfectly timed starts and textbook gybes as Moussilmani looks to maintain his charge for a maiden world title.
Just behind him is fellow countryman Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North), who is enjoying his best season to date on the PWA World Tour. Mortefon started off the year by earning his first ever finish on the prestigious podium in Costa Brava, followed up by claiming joint first in Turkmenistan and fourth in Fuerteventura. The twenty-five year old loves the mirror flat water of Alacati and already showed last year that he is a danger man in Turkey. Expect to see Mortefon challenging for top honours come the end of the week.
Mortefon heads to the mark - PWA Alacati World Cup 2013
Mortefon’s teammate - Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) - is another of the young, up and coming slalom sailors, who is already beginning to make his mark on the world stage. Like Mortefon, Iachino is also enjoying his best season thus far and currently occupies third place overall. The Italian has looked lighting quick all year and he’ll be using his blistering board speed to make a charge for the top over the course of the event.
After claiming his first ever elimination victories in Fuerteventura, confidence will be sky high for Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7). The Frenchman has threatened to win numerous eliminations this year thanks to his lighting quick speed. The week ahead should be no different, making Toselli a sailor who needs to be watched carefully over the next six days.
Behind Toselli in fifth and sixth place respectively are teammates Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) and Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic). The Brit is one of the best overall windsurfers in the world and is always challenging for the top ten and beyond, whilst the flying Dutchman is one of the quickest men on the tour - both will be in the mix come the end of the week.
Epic slalom here in Alacati - PWA Alacati World Cup 2013
The top ten is currently completed by Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails), Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins), Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) and Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde). However, a number of other sailors will be in the mix, such is the competitiveness in the slalom world right now. So the likes of Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails), Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear), Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) and Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) will all be in with a shout too.
As the reigning PWA Slalom World Champion and current world tour leader - Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) - will be determined to build upon her perfect start to the season in Turkmenistan. The twenty-three year old was crowned champion of the world for the first time in her career in Alacati last year and she’ll be hoping that Turkey continues to treat her well.
However, the 2011 PWA Slalom World Champion - Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Chris Benz / Maui Ultra Fins) - will be making her first appearance of the season and is likely to be hard to beat, based on the fact that she has won in Alacati for the past two years. Last year Offringa produced a devastating display of sailing as she claimed four victories out of the five races completed.
Sarah Quita crosses the line - PWA Alacati World Cup 2013
Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) will be right in the thick of the action as well after a solid start in Turkmenistan where she claimed second place. Ghibaudo has all the experience and skills to go with it to challenge for top honours and she won’t be far away come the end of the week.
Turkey’s very own Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) currently sits third in the world and she’ll be desperate to maintain her place in the top three. Fellow compatriot Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Loft Sails) will be hoping to make full use of her home advantage as she prepares to make her first appearance since becoming a mother for the first time. Meanwhile, fellow Turk’s Fulya Unlu (Starboard / Severne) and Ceren Yaman (Starboard / NeilPryde) will be hoping to make their mark too.
Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne) will be looking to go one better than in the season opener as she goes in search of a place on the podium. The twenty-two year old is consistently one of the best starters on the tour and she’ll be one to watch. As will Maria Andres (Patrik / Gun Sails / Mystic), Marianne Kaplas (Starboard / Loft Sails) and Japan’s Ayako Suzuki (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic).
The Aussies warming up - PWA Alacati World Cup 2013
Van Der Steen goes down - PWA Alacati World Cup 2013
PWA World Tour