by Chris Yates
The third day of competition in the PWA Catalunya World Cup didn’t kick off until twenty past five, as the wind continued to change direction and strength. Eventually after three and half pain staking hours on standby, the sailors’ patience was rewarded and the whole of the second race was completed in fourteen to twenty four knots of wind. Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) came out on top as the Frenchmen claimed his first elimination victory of the year with an assured display.
For Elimination Two in the Winners’ Final, Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) came flying out of the blocks in heat sixteen after a textbook start. The Australian held his lead into the first mark, as Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) came roaring past Albeau to move into second place. However the terminator wasn’t in the top two for long as his arch rival, Albeau, flew through his opening gybe and exited fully planing to move back into second place.
The big Frenchmen looked like a man on a mission and he soon had Allen in his sights. He combined his blistering top speed and flawless gybes to take the lead by the exit of the second mark, and from this point on Albeau only extended his advantage to take a thoroughly deserved victory. Meanwhile, Starboard and Severne team mates, Dunkerbeck and Allen, battled it out for second and third place respectively.
The Australian managed to hold onto second place until the final gybe, however at this point Dunkerbeck struck as he took the inside line to overtake his team mate. Allen tried to fight back on the final straight but Dunkerbeck used his wealth of experience to block him off, the Australian was left to settle for third. Completing the top four was the super consistent Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde), who finished ahead of Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne / Mystic).
Antoine Albeau speaking after claiming his first elimination victory of the year: 'I’ve definitely been waiting for my first victory so it’s nice to do that today. The wind was really good at the end, so in the winner’s final I was on my 7.8 and medium board. At the start I had a big fight with Bjorn because we were all late apart from Steve Allen, who had a killer start. I was behind both of them into the first turn but I managed to perform a really good gybe at the first mark to move Bjorn, which was great. By the end I was feeling very confident, I felt I had good speed and that I was gybing well. I am delighted with how today went.'
In the loser’s final Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) made the best start of the fleet, and he took full advantage of his early lead to cruise to victory in heat fifteen. The race for second place was a much tighter affair, involving Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North), Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails) and Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7). As they left the third mark it was Jimmy Diaz who had managed to muscle his way into second, and he showed no signs of relinquishing it. Jossin won the battle for third ahead of Josh Angulo and Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic).
Prior to the finals the opening rounds of the second elimination saw no major upsets, as the top seeds all safely navigated their way into the next round. However the quarter finals proved to be a whole different ball game as the big names began to fall. In heat ten the winner of Korea, Micah Buzianis, was extremely unlucky, as the American followed Cedric Bordes into the gybe, Bordes fell which left Buzianis no room to maneuver, meaning that the two sailors collided.
This altercation saw both the sailors drop out of the top four and unfortunately Buzianis was unable to recover, however Bordes fought his way back through the pack to finish in second place. Buzianis wasn’t the only casualty from heat ten as Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft Sails / Mystic) and Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) both failed to qualify as well. Heat eleven proved to be no different either as Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) was pipped to the crucial fourth spot by a flying Jimmy Diaz. Other sailors who failed to progress past the quarter finals, included Sylvain Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) and Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra), who both made the winner’s final on day two, proving just how competitive the men’s slalom tour is.
Tomorrow promises to be another day full of action with a forecast similar to today's, be sure to tune in again to see how the competition unfolds. The skipper's meeting has been called for 10:30 tomorrow morning with racing commencing from 11am.
Men’s Slalom Standings After Elimination Two:
1st Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz)
2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne)
4th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
5th Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North)
Dunkerbeck smoking - PWA Catalunya World Cup 2012
Photo finish - PWA Catalunya World Cup 2012
Allen leads the final - PWA Catalunya World Cup 2012
Albeau leading the way - PWA Catalunya World Cup 2012
Thumbs up from Albeau - PWA Catalunya World Cup 2012
PWA World Tour website