by Chris Yates
The Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam, hosted by René Egli, got underway in explosive fashion as the racing started promptly this afternoon, allowing the opening two eliminations to be completed. The first blood of the day went to Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7), before Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) claimed his first bullet of the season in the second race. However, at the end of the first day Italy’s Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) sits proudly at the top of the rankings as the current event leader after backing up his fourth place finish with a solid third.
Toselli Leads the way - 2014 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam
Race one was completed in fourteen to twenty-two knots as Pascal Toselli produced a fantastic display to claim his first ever elimination victory. The Frenchman has been on the cusp of victory a couple of times this season and today he was able to slot all the pieces of the puzzle together to make the perfect start to the event. Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) made the best start to the final, but by the first mark Toselli had burst into the lead - a position he would not relinquish. Behind him reigning world champion Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) made a solid start to the week as he clinched second place ahead of Cyril Moussilmani and Matteo Iachino. Meanwhile, Sebastian Kördel (GA Sails), did brilliantly on his last gybe to manoeuvre himself from last place into fifth.
Micah at the First mark - 2014 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam
The first round saw several shocks as the big names fell early. In the opening heat of the day Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC) failed to advance. The Bonairean lead into the first mark but crucially dropped his gybe, a mistake he was unable to recover from. In heat four Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) became the latest name to fall after narrowly missing out in fifth place to Denmark’s Kasper Larsen (Starboard / Loft Sails), whilst Pieter Bijl (Angulo / Gun Sails) also suffered an early exit after jumping the gun. Meanwhile, in heat seven and eight respectively Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) and Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) failed to advance. However, several sailors did well to advance from tough opening heats. Firstly, sixteen year old Ethan Westera (Starboard / GA Sails) booked his place in the quarterfinals before Marco Lang (Fanatic / North) and Enes Yilmazer (Starboard / Severne) both escaped from heat two.
Albeau Flat stick - 2014 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam
The second winners’ final of the day started under dramatic circumstances as Antoine Albeau was disqualified after crossing the start line early. Upon the restart Josh Angulo timed his start to perfection, but Australia’s Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) held the lead as the fleet headed into the first gybe. However, by the exit Angulo had managed to take the lead ahead Allen, Pierre Mortefon and Matteo Iachino. Angulo extended his advantage by the third and it wasn’t long before he was claiming his first bullet of the season, whilst Mortefon made a great recovery after his first round exit in the first race to finish second followed by Iachino and Allen, who claimed third and fourth respectively.
Heat three saw two sailors cross the start line early, resulting in disqualification - Maciek Rutkowski (Patrik / Point-7), who qualified for the losers’ final in the opening race and unfortunately sixteen year old Aron Etmon (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear), who is making his debut on the PWA World Tour and is the youngest competitor in the fleet. This left the door open for twenty-two year old Martim Montiero (Angulo / Gun Sails), who successfully booked his place in the quarterfinals along with Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails), Benoit Moussilmani (Simmer) and Malte Reuscher (RRD / Challenger / AL360). In heat seven Amado Vrieswijk (Starboard / Severne) - who is better known for his freestyling expertise - negotiate his way into his first quarterfinal as he clinched the final qualifying position.
After advancing into the quarterfinals in race one - Enes Yilmazer - went one better in elimination two as he navigated his way into the semifinals, before just missing out on a place in the winners’ final after finishing sixth in heat thirteen. The second semifinal saw three sailors disqualified for jumping the gun - Sebastian Kordel, Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails) and Pascal Toselli, who will be very disappointed having won the opening round. With just five sailors remaining each one of them pushed themselves to the limit for a place in the winners’ final. Unfortunately Micah Buzianis was the man to miss out after dropping his second gybe when trying to desperately pass Steve Allen.
Toselli Holds off Albeau - 2014 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam
Tomas Melina - 2014 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam
Ross Williams - 2014 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam
Sylvain Moussilmani - 2014 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam
Tomorrow’s forecast predicts lighter winds for tomorrow, but with Sotavento’s local affects you can never be 100% about what will happen. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10am tomorrow morning with the action commencing from 10:30am.
Results after Elimination Two Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam:
1st Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North)
2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7)
4th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne)
5th Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails)
PWA World Tour