by Chris Yates
The wind continued to blow on the last day of the PWA Catalunya Costa Brava World Cup as Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) took a massive, and ultimately decisive step towards the event crown with his second bullet of the week in race four, whilst Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA / Mystic) came out on top in the fifth and final elimination of the week - with his first victory of the season. However, there was nothing anyone could do to prevent Albeau making the perfect start to his world title defence as he was crowned the King of Costa Brava for the third year in a row.
Textbook gybe from Albeau - 2014 PWA Catalunya World Cup, Day 6
Amazingly the podium was also occupied solely by the French as they showed they are the dominant force in the slalom world right now, as Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) claimed second and third respectively.
Micah at the pin - 2014 PWA Catalunya World Cup
Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) made a flying start in the winners’ final, but the American couldn’t hold his lead into the first mark as Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7) arrived first at mark one ahead of Antoine Albeau, Buzianis and Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA / Mystic). Toselli maintained his lead until Albeau edged ahead as the pair approached the third buoy, but in Toselli’s desperation to regain the lead he attempted to dive inside Albeau as they exited the gybe. However, Toselli collided with Albeau, which ultimately resulted in Toselli falling, whilst Albeau somehow, brilliantly, managed to stay on his feet and march off into a commanding lead. Behind him, Pierre Mortefon, Van Der Steen and Buzianis all benefitted from Toselli’s mistake as they completed the top four. Ultimately, victory in the fourth race for Albeau proved to be decisive as he was crowned the champion of Costa Brava once more.
After yesterday’s magnificent performance Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC) suffered an earlier than expected exit as he failed to advance from the quarterfinals. Frans was holding the final qualifying place at the last mark, but Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra) produced a flawless gybe to overtake the Bonairean. There were further big name exits in the quarterfinals. Yesterday’s winner of race three - Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) - also suffered the same fate, as did Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) and Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails).
Moussilmani goes down during the 2014 PWA Catalunya World Cup
The last winners’ final of the week saw a fascinating race unfold. Arnon Dagan made the best start of the fleet but was beaten to the opening buoy by Cyril Moussilmani. However, the second reach saw this all change as Bjorn Dunkerbeck stormed out of his gybe to burst into the lead. The Terminator’s time at the front though was short lived with Van Der Steen leading by the third mark. From here the flying Dutchman continued to extend his lead to claim his first bullet of the season, whilst Cyril Moussilmani capped a fantastic week with another second place finish. Dunkerbeck and Dagan eventually finished in third and fourth place respectively.
Elsewhere in the fifth elimination, sixteen year old Ethan Westera (Starboard / Gaastra) did brilliantly to progress into the quarterfinals from heat one, along with Bruno Martini (RRD / RRD), Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) and Pascal Toselli.
The final heat of the opening round also witnessed a massive surprise, as event leader Antoine Albeau jumped the gun to be disqualified, together with Taty Frans and Chris Pressler (Starboard / Severne). Thankfully for the big Frenchman this didn’t prove to be a costly error on this occasion.
In heat ten, Pierre Mortefon, made a critical error. The Frenchman was comfortably qualifying for the semifinals, before setting sail for the wrong mark after the third gybe. This gifted Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails) a place in the top four, along with Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North), Kurosh Kiani (Angulo / Gun Sails) and Malte Reuscher (RRD / Point-7 / AL360).
Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) and Marco Lang (Fanatic / North) became the latest sailors to mistime their starts in the very next heat. There was further drama in heat twelve as Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) - who was leading from the start - tried to dive inside Benoit Moussilmani (Simmer) at the third mark, but the gap proved too small as the two sailors ended up in the drink.
Victory for the French at the 2014 PWA Catalunya World Cup
Top three celebrate at the 2014 PWA Catalunya World Cup
Antoine Albeau celebrates victory at the 2014 PWA Catalunya World Cup Â© Carter/pwaworldtour.com
The prize giving ceremony was held at 6pm, where the French dominated proceedings. Antoine Albeau was crowned the champion, alongside fellow countrymen Cyril Moussilmani and Pierre Mortefon on the prestigious podium.
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