by Ed Sinclair
Aruba Hi Winds Grand Slam 2011 day five was held in perfect conditions.
Davy Scheffers - Aruba Hi Winds Grand Slam 2011
Antoine Albeau and Karin Jaggi storm into first place after an epic opening day of slalom at the Aruba High Winds Grand Slam!
The fifth day of competition in beautiful Aruba saw a change in discipline, as the freestylers packed away their gear the slalom fleet were released on to Aruba’s glistening water for their turn to fight it out for first place.
The Caribbean trade winds cranked it up a notch, proving that Aruba’s pristine turquoise waters were not only a freestyle haven but also a dreamland for the men and women’s slalom fleet. The racers took to the water by mid-morning and competed relentlessly until the golden sun had dropped behind the horizon. By the end of a hectic day of thrills and spills on the water, two eliminations and then the opening round of the third elimination were completed.
The big five shake ups of the day
1. After an outstanding start to the first heat of the day, disaster struck for Peter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde) due to his mast snapping at the first gybe mark, seeing his early demise from elimination 1.
2. Eager to prove himself on the racecourse, freestyle fanatic Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic) fell victim to his own excitement leading to three consecutive premature starts.
3. New boy to the tour Juan Marino (Starboard / MauiSails) proved he is a force to be reckoned with, blitzing his opening race against highly ranked sailors Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North) and Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde).
4. Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) took down Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) causing an explosion at the third mark in the second winner’s final, ensuring a few expletives was shared prior to finishing the race.
5. Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic) failed to make the winner’s final in the first elimination. Offringa crossed the start line early in the loser’s final in an attempt to fly past her competitors, a disastrous start for Aruba’s finest female sailor.
Men’s elimination 1 final - Bjorn’s back in town.
Dunkerbeck stormed the start in the winner’s final leaving the rest of the pack to wallow in his wake. Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) steamed down the second straight in an attempt to match his opponent but lost it on the gybe allowing Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic) to sneak into second and then on to his position the rest of the way around the course. Further down towards the back of the pack Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) fought for fourth place against Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra). The final straight saw Van Der Steen squeeze out a couple of extra knots, leading to a man on man drag race against the mighty Dunkerbeck. The crowds on the beach erupted at the photo finish, but ultimately Dunkerbeck held his cool and claimed the first win of the day.
Men’s elimination 2 final - Albeau strikes back
The sailors burst out the starting gates and the pack stuck together throughout the first leg of the race. The first gybe saw Albeau spot his line early and deliver an exceptionally clean undertake allowing him to pull on the power, and force his way into first place. Carnage came at the third mark when Buzianis lost control and piled into Dunkerbeck sending his equipment flying. Albeau managed to increase his gap from the fleet and cruised undisturbed around the rest of the course, securing him the event lead.
Women’s Elimination 1 final – Jaggi steals the show
A clean start for the women saw Colette Guadagnino (JP / NeilPryde) fly in front of the rest of the fleet, leaving Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) in second. Carnage at the second gybe mark saw Guadagnino go down, followed by the rest of the pack. Jaggi managed to avoid the drama and sail a smooth race all the way to the finish line, asserting her position back at the top.
Women’s elimination 2 final – Offringa’s return
Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North) stole the start in the second women’s final, followed by Offringa and Jaggi. Offringa charged her way round the second and third marks and managed to break her way into first place by the fourth. The girls fought hard down the final straight as Arutkin was determined to take back her winning spot but once Offringa had the finish line in her sights there was no stopping her.
1st Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / DunkerbeckEyewear)
3rd Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra)
4th Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic)
5th Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde)
1st Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)
2nd Zofia Klepacka (RRD / North)
3rd Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic)
4th Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft / Mystic / AL360)
5th Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North)
With another perfect forecast lined up for day six, tune in tomorrow for another full throttle day of racing. The skippers’ meeting is planned for 10 am with a first possible start to racing at 10:30.
Aruba Hi Winds Grand Slam website
PWA World Tour website