The opening day of the 2012 PWA Catalunya World Cup saw a calm start to proceedings as sailors registered for the upcoming week of competition, between 10am and 12pm. It wasn’t long before the tranquil calm was replaced by a frenzy of activity on the beach, as the glorious sunshine kicked the thermal wind into action. The first elimination started just after quarter past two, and nine heats were completed before stormy clouds and rain brought a halt to the racing.
First mark action
In the first heat of the day Turkey’s Ege Kurt (RRD / MauiSails) jumped the gun, enforcing a general recall. When the heat was re-started it was Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7) who crossed the line in first place, this proved pivotal as he went onto to win the heat in convincing manner. Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Maui Ultra Fins / Mystic) flew down the penultimate leg and he threw an audacious duck gybe around the final mark to claim second place, followed by Pascal Toselli (RRD / Point-7), Nicolas Warembourg (JP / NeilPryde) claimed the all-important fourth spot.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) was involved in the second heat of the day, and it was evident that he has fully recovered from his injury he picked up in Korea. The terminator safely navigated his way into the second round as he won his heat. Joining him are; Sylvain Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer), Andrea Cucchi (Patrik / Point-7) and Maciek Rutkowski (Patrik / Loft Sails / Maui Ultra Fins).
Heats three and four witnessed the first upsets of the day. In heat three, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North) narrowly missed out on a place in the next round after finishing fifth, just behind Spain’s Pablo Ania (F2 / North). Also qualifying are Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North), who led from start to finish, Pieter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde) and Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra).
Meanwhile in heat four, Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails), who sailed superbly in Korea, went over the handlebars and despite his best efforts the Frenchmen couldn’t quite recover as his finished fifth. Britain’s James Dinsmore (Starboard / Severne) grabbed the final qualifying spot as Damien Le Guen (Exocet), Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails) and Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) completed the top four.
Heat five saw Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) aim right at the pin and storm into the lead, however his lead was short lived as he dropped his gybe at the first mark. Luckily the Brit was able to recover from his mistake as he fought his way back through the field to finish fourth. Bora Kozanoglu (Starboard / Severne) returned to winning ways in his opening heat, whilst the ever consistent Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) took second ahead of France’s Benoit Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer).
In heat six, the first four to cross the start line all qualified for the second round. Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) was first over the line, but the Australian was fourth going into the mark one. Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic), Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) and Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic) all managed to overtake him. By the end of the heat it was Bordes who came out on top, whilst Quentel took second. Cyril Moussilmani and Allen were involved in a tussle for the remaining two spots, with Allen eventually coming out on top on this occasion.
Norway’s Sondra Sturla Krey (Fanatic / North) was a little too eager with his start and he paid the ultimate sacrifice as he was disqualified from heat seven, which also consisted of a number of big hitters. Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft Sails / Mystic), Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) and Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) all managed to successfully escape from round one unscathed along with Dennis Muller (F2 / Challenger / AL360), in what was arguably one of toughest heats of the day.
The final heat of round one featured the current tour leader Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), and he looked in scintillating form as he dominated his heat to build a commanding lead by the finish. Albeau’s greater board speed, especially in the turns, was the real difference between him and his rivals. Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) looked comfortable in second place, as Sean O’Brien (Starboard / Point-7), who made the best start of the bunch finished third. Patrick Diethelm (Patrik / Loft Sails) battled his way into the crucial fourth place in front of Dennis Littel (Patrik / Loft Sails).
Bjorn Dunkerbeck continued his winning start to the competition in Costa Brava as he took top spot in heat nine. Dunkerbeck once again demonstrated his superb straight-line speed and effortless gybes to be the first man through to the quarter finals. Sylvain Moussilmani made a valiant effort to catch the terminator on the final straight but by this point Dunkerbeck had built a big enough lead not to worry. Josh Angulo continued to look dangerous as he and Taty Frans finished in third and fourth respectively.
Heat ten was started, but unfortunately the wind shifted during the race, which left sailors unable to make the third mark, thus leading to the cancellation of the heat. The wind never re-established itself from this point on, and the sun was soon replaced by increasing cloud cover and rain.
Tomorrow’s forecast offers the opportunity for more thermal activity, with clear and sunny skies on the latest predictions, which should hopefully see the exciting conclusion of the first elimination, after an action packed hour on the opening day. The skipper’s meeting has been called for 10am tomorrow morning, with the first possible start at 10:30.
PWA World Tour website