by Chris Yates
At the 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup, having spent the opening three days of the competition on the beach, the slalom sailors were finally unleashed onto the water today as they competed in winds between 8-20 knots. Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) enjoyed an excellent day as the Frenchman won back-to-back bullets to enhance his title challenge.
Albeau makes it two in a row - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
It was a completely different story for the current leader of the slalom tour though, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz), as he missed out on the first winners’ final and then suffered an untimely catapult in the second final of the day. Tuesday will definitely go down as a day that plays an extremely influential role in determining the title race, and Dunkerbeck will be praying for a miracle to help him recover from today’s racing.
The opening slalom winners’ final of the competition saw Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) cross the line in first place, but Antoine Albeau soon showed exactly the same blistering pace as he did in Alacati, Turkey, to take a clear lead into the first mark ahead of Maynard, Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra), Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft) and Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde). However, after entering the first mark in second place, Maynard, became trapped in dirty wind and was unable to accelerate, which allowed Williams, Jossin and Quentel to all bypass him. In the meantime Albeau continued to look at ease in the challenging conditions and he made no mistakes over the remainder of the course to claim the first bullet of the day. Ross Williams and Ludovic Jossin finished in second and third place respectively, whilst Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic) won the battle for fourth against Julien Quentel.
The first race certainly wasn’t without its drama as Bjorn Dunkerbeck failed to qualify for the winners’ final after exiting race one in heat twelve. The terminator executed his final gybe poorly, which presented Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) with the opportunity to snatch the final qualifying spot, and the Dutchman took the chance perfectly to knock the most decorated windsurfer in history out in the quarterfinals. To add salt to the wound, heat four indirectly affected Dunkerbeck too.
Terrible luck for Dunkerbeck - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
As the sailors headed down the final straight Antoine Albeau found himself outside of the qualifying places in fifth. However the Frenchman received an early Christmas present, due to Chris Pressler (Starboard / Severne) crossing the finish line on the wrong side of the buoy and being disqualified as he missed the fact that a new course had been set. This resulted in Albeau moving up to fourth place, before going on to win the entire elimination.
Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra), Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck all made strong starts in the second winners’ final and the man from Cabo Verde led into the first gybe. However, both Dunkerbeck and Menegatti stalled on the exit of their gybes, which allowed Albeau to move from fourth all the way into second place. This left Angulo trying to hold off Albeau for the remainder of the course and he managed to do just that, until the exit of the fourth mark. At this point Albeau seized the chance to overtake, Angulo, as the Frenchman held more speed throughout his gybe to move into the lead.
Angulo fired up - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
The two of them remained close on the final leg of the course, but Albeau successfully defended his lead to claim two bullets out of two. Dunkerbeck, on the other hand, endured a disastrous heat as he experienced a huge catapult, which resulted in a broken mast and thereby ended all of his hopes of salvaging the day.
Completing the top four was Italian, Alberto Menegatti, and Gunnar Asmussen (Patrik / North), who performed brilliantly to prevent Ross Williams from overtaking him as the two sailors fought tooth and nail right up to the finish line.
Gunnar and Bend make the second final - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
The veteran, Bernd Flessner (JP / NeilPryde), enjoyed an excellent day as he progressed all the way to the winners’ final where he finished in sixth place. However, the flying Dutchman Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic / Different), who currently sits third in the world, was absent from both winners’ finals today. In the second race Van Der Steen catapulted at the first mark and from here he had no chance of recovering. The first round also witnessed a couple of shock exits, which included the likes of Benoit Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) and Andrea Cucchi (Point-7 / Patrik).
The forecast looks excellent for tomorrow with strong side to side-off winds being predicted and a swell of 2.8 meters. With the forecast in mind the skippers meeting for the wave and freestyle sailors has been called for 07:30am with the action commencing from 8am. Meanwhile, the slalom sailors’ skippers meeting will take place at 10am with the view to starting from 10:30.
Josh Angulo at the mark - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
Heading for the first mark - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
Van Der Steen leads the way - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
Vincent Langer leads the pack - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
Williams on form - 2012 PWA Sylt World Cup
Results after Two Eliminations: Men’s Slalom:
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra)
3rd Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft)
4th Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7)
5th Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails)
PWA World Tour website
Windsurf World Cup website