by Chris Yates
There was thrilling action at the 2012 PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup in Alacati. Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic) stole the limelight come the end of the week as the French woman was crowned the 2012 PWA Women’s Slalom World Champion, after a magnificent season. In the meantime, Alacati continued to enhance it’s global reputation as a windsurfing Mecca by providing five days of wind out of a possible six.
After nine grueling eliminations, held in perfect slalom conditions, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) claimed his first event victory of the year. The big Frenchman dominated the proceedings in Turkey as he won six out of the nine races completed. Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / Chris Benz), meanwhile, marked her return to the slalom scene with an emphatic victory after finding her form in the latter stages of the competition, which saw the lady from Aruba reign victorious in the last four eliminations in a row.
The quiet and relaxed start of day one was soon replaced with epic racing on day two of the competition as the wind peaked at twenty-five knots.
Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic / Different) claimed the first bullet of the week, after the flying Dutchman provided the crowds on the beach with an absolute master class. Meanwhile, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) had to settle for second place as the terminator finished one place ahead of his closest rival, Antoine Albeau, for the world title. Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic) completed the top four after the Frenchman took advantage of Finian Maynard’s (RRD / Avanti) crash at the penultimate mark. In the second elimination, Antoine Albeau, took full advantage of Dunkerbeck’s disqualification, for a false start, as the Frenchman hit back with his first victory of the week.
The battle for the top three resulted in a MauiSails second and third as teammates Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) and Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) completed the top three.
Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) came into the event as the current leader of the women’s PWA Slalom World Tour and the Swiss gem made the perfect start to the competition. Jaggi sailed faultlessly for claim the opening victory ahead of her nemesis Valerie Arrighetti and sixteen year old Fulya Unlu (Starboard / Severne).
The second race of the day saw the reigning world champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa, qualify for her first winners’ final of the week, but the major news was the fact, that after such a brilliant start, Karin Jaggi missed on a place on the winners’ final. With the door wide open for it was the local girl Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Loft) who seized the initiative to steal the number one spot, and that’s exactly what she managed to do. Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde) won the battle for second of Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne), whilst Offringa finished in fourth after uncharacteristically flaming her opening gybe.
The strong winds continued on day three of the competition, and after a somewhat frustrating morning, the afternoon delivered another afternoon of enthralling slalom.
Antoine Albeau claimed back-to-back victories at the beginning of day three as he stormed to victory in elimination three. The big Frenchman faced some stern competition in the shape of Ben Van Der Steen, but by the end of the race, Albeau has opened up a substantial lead. Behind him there was a battle between Van Der Steen, Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra), Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft) and Micah Buzianis. In the end though Van Der Steen claimed second ahead of Menegatti. Meanwhile, Bjorn Dunkerbeck, missed out on a place in the winners’ final after finish sixth in heat fourteen. Elimination four witnessed two flying Dutchmen rise to the top.
This time around it was Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti), who stole the show as claimed his first bullet of the year, ahead of his fellow countryman Ben Van Der Steen and Britain’s Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra). Dunkerbeck, however was still searching for his first win after finishing in fifth position. The real shock of the fourth elimination involved Antoine Albeau, who after winning the previous two eliminations, failed to progress from the first round after he became locked in a battle with Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra) for the final qualifying spot. However on the last gybe Albeau pushed a little too hard and he crashed out contention.
Sarah-Quita Offringa jumped the gun in race three, as Karin Jaggi returned with a vengeance to claim her second victory of the contest. The multi-talented Jaggi was able to keep Valerie Arrighetti and the local girl, Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft / AL360), at bay whilst Italy’s Greta Benvenuti (Patrik / Point-7 / AL360) finished in fourth.
As the women lined up for their second winners’ final of the day, it was Offringa that returned to the top of the table. After slightly holding back on her start, the lady from Aruba then turned on the afterburners to destroy the rest of the field. Karin Jaggi was her closest challenger, followed by Lena Erdil and Delphine Cousin.
The Meltemi winds continued to deliver in Alacati as winds of 15-25 knots greeted the competitors, and ensured the crowds were treated to some remarkable action on the water.
Antoine Albeau made the perfect recovery on the fourth day, after crashing out in the first round of race four. Albeau was simply untouchable today as he claimed two more bullets in eliminations five and six. However, Dunkerbeck was missing from another winners’ final after an altercation with Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7), which saw Dunkerbeck limp out of heat fourteen with a broken sail. Race six saw Ross Williams claim his best finish of the week thus far, as the Brit finished in second place behind Albeau, whilst Dunkerbeck made a return to the winners’ final as he claimed third.
Albeau dominates - PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup 2012
Valerie Arrighetti rubbed salt into the wounds of Karin Jaggi, after the Swiss gem false started in her semi-final. With her biggest rival absent from the center piece, Arrighetti made no mistakes in heat eight as she claimed her first victory of the week and put a huge dent in Jaggi’s title challenge. Meanwhile, Offringa continued to find her feet as she backed up her victory in the previous race with a solid second ahead of Marion Mortefon. With the reigning world champions form improving all the time, race six marked the start of her dominance over the rest of the event after she kept Arrighetti, Mortefon and Jaggi behind her. With Offringa looking more dangerous than ever this was the start of an incredible run of form.
For the fourth day in a row the beautiful bay of Alacati was blessed with idyllic conditions, as a further two eliminations were completed for both the men and women. However day five would only belong to two sailors.
Antoine Albeau enjoyed another brilliant day on the water as he cemented his place at the top of the rankings. By the middle of the afternoon Albeau had completed a hat-trick of elimination victories, and before the day was out he ensured that his name appeared at the top of the last four races, as he stepped up his title challenge. The seventh elimination saw Dunkerbeck enjoy his best finish in five races as he finished second behind Albeau, whilst Ben Van Der Steen continued his superb form to claim third. The penultimate race of the event saw a magnificent performance from Alberto Menegatti. The Italian gave Albeau a run for his money before eventually finishing in second place ahead of Van Der Steen and Dunkerbeck.
Albeau takes the event win - PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup 2012
With Offringa having found top great there was simply no stopping her on day five as she blew the rest of the competition out of the water. Just like Albeau, Offringa also claimed a hat-trick of victories to take command of the overall event lead. However it wasn’t a great day for Jaggi, despite finishing second in elimination seven, as she undid all of her hard work by finishing fifth in her semi-final, which meant she was left to settle for a place in the losers final rather than the winners’. With Offringa having secured the top spots in races seven and eight, Lena Erdil enjoyed her best finish of the competition in the eighth race as the Turk finished in second place ahead of Cousin and Arrighetti.
One final race was completed on the last day of the Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup, as the winds arrived a little later than usual. The sailors were left to reach for their bigger equipment today lighter breezes blessed the race course.
Having been so consistent for the entire week, Ben Van Der Steen, endured a horrid final race as the Dutchman suffered a first round exit. Van Der Steen chose to sail the other side of the race start line buoy to avoid being over early. Unfortunately for the Dutchman no other sailors had mistimed their starts and with this he was out of the race. The final winners’ final of the week started under dramatic circumstances as Peter Volwater, Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) and Ross Williams were all disqualified for the crossing the start line too early. With just five sailors remaining it was Josh Angulo who grabbed his moment in the spot light as he led from start to finish. For once Antoine Albeau wasn’t at the top and he eventually had to settle for fifth as Dunkerbeck, Cedric Bordes and Patrick Diethelm (Patrick / Loft) completed the top four.
Antoine Albeau: 'It’s great to be back at the top of the podium. Alacati is always great we had wind almost everyday and we had some great racing. It’s going to be another epic battle with Bjorn Dunkerbeck) and I am already looking forward to Sylt, hopefully we get similar conditions.'
Today saw the most intense final of the week, as Valerie Arrighetti and Karin Jaggi battled it out for the final time to decide who would be crowned the 2012 PWA Slalom World Champion. Whilst Lena Erdil knew that she had to finish fifth or better to become the first Turkish girl ever to finish in the top three. Offringa secured the event victory with another magnificent display of sailing as she finished clear of Cagla Kubat in second. Meanwhile the battle for the world title saw Arrighetti finish ahead of Jaggi, as they finished in third and fourth respectively. The top four completed all eyes turn to Lena Erdil as she battled for that crucial fifth place. After safely navigating her final gybe, the Turk cruised down the final straight to write her name in windsurfing history.
Sarah-Quita Offringa: 'I’m so glad that I managed to get it together eventually. I didn’t have any expectations coming into the event and it’s gone way better than I thought it would have. I’ve spent three weeks in Alacati and it’s been great. I want to say a big thank you to everyone.'
Valerie Arrighetti: 'I’m very very very happy! I can’t quite believe what has happened yet as it doesn’t feel real. Alacati has been a real challenge for me again, I’m incredibly happy to have won the world tour!'
Valerie Arrighetti - PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup 2012
Overall Results of the Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup - Men’s Slalom
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic / Different)
3rd Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz)
4th Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra)
5th Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti)
6th Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails)
7th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
8th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic)
9th Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7)
10th Patrick Diethelm (Loft / Patrik)
Overall Results of the Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup - Women’s Slalom
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / Chris Benz)
2nd Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic)
3rd Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)
4th Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft / AL360)
5th Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde)
Overall Results of the 2012 PWA World Tour - Women’s Slalom
1st Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic)
2nd Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)
3rd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft / AL360)
4th Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde)
5th Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Loft)
The next stop on the PWA World Tour will see the men return to action in the waves, as the finest sailors in the world head to Klitmoller, Denmark, between the 17th and 23rd September. The men will be competing in their penultimate event of the year, which means this event is guaranteed to be one you can’t afford to miss.