by Chris Yates
The 2012 PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup is set to take place from the 27th August to the 1st September. The world’s fastest sailors will grace the idyllic shores of Alacati with their presence when the men hit the race course just one month after their last event in Fuerteventura, whilst the women will be recommencing battle with one another for the first time since Korea, in their penultimate event of the season.
Bjorn turns on the turbo boosters - PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup 2011
Located on the Cesme peninsula, just a thirty-minute drive away from the bustling city of Izmir, sits the tranquil village of Alacati, which is renowned for its stunning natural stone villas, chic boutiques and its fabulous restaurants and traditional cafes. However, Alacati, truly comes to life during the summer months as windsurfers arrive in their thousands, from all over the world, to take advantage of the consistent winds and the beautiful turquoise waters.
From May until October the famous Meltemi winds provide the perfect conditions for windsurfers of all abilities. The Northerly wind, which blows consistently above fifteen knots, builds throughout the morning before peaking in the afternoon. Wind speeds of over twenty knots often frequent the bay of Alacati, so when you combine this with the amazing scenery and cosmopolitan atmosphere, it is easy to see why Alacati is fast becoming a windsurfing Mecca.
There will be six days of intense slalom racing as the battle for the PWA Slalom World Championship titles heads towards the climax. The men and women will be battling it out for the €55,000 prize purse as well as those critical world tour points, which will be more eagerly contested for than ever before.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) may have missed out on the podium in Fuerteventura, as he finished fourth, but this still proved enough to see the terminator return to the top of the current PWA Slalom rankings. Dunkerbeck will now be concentrating on extending his lead over the chasing pack, and if he can replicate the form he showed here last year then he’ll do just that, after dominating the fleet in 2011.
The battle for the title is really beginning to heat up and Dunkerbeck’s closest rival and longtime nemesis, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), will be hoping to reclaim the number one spot come the end of the week. Having relinquished his PWA Fuerteventura title for the first time in years, the big Frenchman will be more motivated than ever to secure his first event win of the season. Expect to see him flying across the line as he looks to take matters into his own hands as well as demonstrating his blistering speed and fluid gybes to hit straight back.
The current top three, is completed by an on fire Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde), who is enjoying his best season to date on the PWA. Quentel has been one of the most consistent performers in 2012, with his phenomenal top speed and effortless gybes providing the perfect platform for success. There appears to be no reason for that to change in Alacati, so he should be challenging for the top honors come the end of the week.
Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) returned with a vengeance in Fuerteventura to not only win his opening races of the year, but also the entire event. The 2012 season had proved to be a massively frustrating affair up until this point, what with injuries and untimely kit failures. However it would seem he has now turned the corner, and after a scintillating display in Fuerteventura, Maynard will now be looking to capitalize on his previous performance, by showcasing his perfect starts and untouchable top speed once again as he looks to make sure that he is in contention for the podium by the end of the event.
Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) and Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic / Different) are inseparable at the moment as both men sit on equal points ahead of the sixth event of the year. This means we should see another intriguing battle as both sailors look to move onwards and upwards, from their current fourth and fifth positions. Van Der Steen finished on the podium for the first time in 2012 in Fuerteventura and he certainly proved that he is one of the quickest guys on the tour. Expect to see more warp speed action from the speed demons. Also in the battle for fifth are Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North) and Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7), showing just how competitive the fleet is.
The battle for the remainder of the top ten will provide another exciting episode too. Right in the thick of the action we can expect to see Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft), Steven Allen (Starboard / Severne), Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic), who has recovered brilliantly from a disappointing start to the season, by his standards, to finish in fifth place at the last two events. He is currently tied on points with fellow countryman Pascal Toselli (RRD / Point-7) and Italian Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra).
Never far from the action and always in contention are Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North), Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails), Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti), Sylvain Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) and Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra). It’s also worth keeping a close eye on Bora Kozanoglu (Starboard / Severne), who will use his local knowledge to take advantage over the rest of the fleet.
The big news ahead of the third women’s slalom event is that the current reigning World Champion, Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins / Chris Benz), will be making her first appearance of the 2012 slalom season, having missed the opening two events due to her studies. Offringa has been in Alacati training for the upcoming event, and after her recent success in Fuerteventura, the lady from Aruba will be in as confident a mood as ever. We expect to see Offringa heading straight to the top and causing some serious competition for Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic) and Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne).
Womens slalom champion Sarah Quita Offringa - PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup 2011
The multiple World Champion, Karin Jaggi, is on course for another title as she leads the way in the women’s fleet after a first and second place in the opening two events. However Valerie Arrighetti is breathing down her neck, and the French woman came out on top in Korea. Expect to see the two of them fighting tooth and nail in the penultimate event of the year. Alacati has the potential to make or break one of these ladies seasons.
Just behind the top two is Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft / AL360), who will be looking to use all of her local knowledge to come out on top, as well as her fellow Turk Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Loft), who owns her own windsurfing school in Alacati. Kubat’s extra knowledge of the water could prove vital in her battle to overtake Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde), who currently occupies fourth.
Fanny Aubet (JP / NeilPryde) and Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North) are just behind the leading pack and they’ll both be fired up for the grueling week ahead. Expect to see fast starts and powerful gybes as they try every move in the book to ensure that they are in and around the heralded podium places come the end of the event.
With the 2012 PWA Slalom Tour reaching its boiling point, the week ahead in Alacati promises to be one of the most exciting competitions of the year. The question is who will thrive under the pressure, and who will crash and burn?
The racing will commence from 1:30pm on the Monday 27th August, make sure you tune in.
All action at the womens first gybe - PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup 2011
Costa Hoevel at the mark - PWA Pegasus Airlines World Cup 2011