The inaugural day of the 2014 Pegasus Airlines Alacati PWA World Cup saw the opening races of the week completed in winds of 11-20 knots. Registration was soon completed between 10am and 11am, allowing the real action to begin. After an exciting afternoon of racing Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) struck first in the men’s division, whilst Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Chris Benz / Maui Ultra Fins) made the perfect start as she claimed her first bullet of the year in her opening slalom appearance of 2014.
Ben Van Der Steen claimed the first blood of the week as the flying Dutchman raced into the lead by the opening mark ahead of Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7), Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) and Tristan Algret (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic). From here Van Der Steen took full advantage of the clean wind and flat water ahead of him to extend his lead over the remainder of the course, and it wasn’t long before he was celebrating the opening victory of the week. Meanwhile, the top four remained unchanged leaving Toselli in a solid second place ahead of Albeau and Algret, who finished third and fourth respectively.
Amado Vrieswijk (Starboard / Severne) - who is more known for his freestyle wizardry, showed that he has the potential to be a serious threat on the racing scene too in years to come. Today the eighteen year old qualified for the losers’ final after finishing third in both the opening round and quarterfinal. Vrieswijk eventually finished fifteenth overall in the opening race. Elsewhere, Australian Sean O’Brien (Starboard / Severne) enjoyed a fine start as he too booked his place in the semifinals. However, several big names missed out on the top sixteen. First of all Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails) dropped his final gybe in heat nine when he was in the lead to give-up a golden opportunity, whilst Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails), Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic), Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) and perhaps most surprisingly world tour leader - Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) all failed to advance into the semifinals.
There are now only three heats remaining to be sailed in the second elimination as the early evening wind became too gusty to allow its completion. However, there was drama almost from the word go as Antoine Albeau suffered a scare in heat two. The Big Frenchman was comfortably qualifying for the next round, but made an uncharacteristic mistake as he dropped his gybe at the second mark to drop to sixth place. However, Albeau remained composed to fight his way back into the top four by the final mark to qualify alongside Sean O’Brien, Ross Williams and Malte Reuscher (RRD / Challenger Sails / AL360). Meanwhile, after sailing superbly in the opening race Amado Vrieswijk suffered a first round exit in race two as he finished fifth in heat four, whilst Bjorn Dunkerbeck also missed out on a place in the quarterfinals.
Taty Frans showed that he was totally relaxed and in control on the race course today as he cooly snuck in a duck gybe at the third mark in heat five, as he went onto the win the heat in style, whilst showing off to the crowds.
Elsewhere Antoine Questel produced a brilliant gybe at the penultimate mark to out manoeuvre Jordy Vonk (F2 / Point-7) in heat ten as the Frenchman claimed the final spot in the semifinals, but Ben Van Der Steen suffered a shock early exit, after making a perfect start to the event, as he finished fifth in heat twelve to miss out on a place in the top sixteen.
As well as Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) being missing from proceedings, Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti) is another high profile sailor sadly missing from the event. Maynard isn't in Turkey because he is frustrated from being 75% at all the events in 2014 and is now recovering to 100% before competing again with a clear eye on getting back to his best.
Japan’s Fujiko Onishi (Starboard / Loft Sails) made the best start to the opening winners’ final of the week, however she was unable to make the most of her start as Sarah-Quita Offringa stormed into first place ahead of Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360), Fulya Unlu (Starboard / Severne), Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) and Ayako Suzuki (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) as the pack approached the first buoy. Offringa continued to press the pedal to the metal to open up an unassailable lead come the finish line. Behind her Erdil and Unlu secured second and third, whilst reigning world champion - Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) - forced her way into the top four with a good comeback to leave her rival Ghibaudo settling for fifth place.
The majority of the top seeds successfully navigated their way into the winners’ final of the women’s second elimination, but there was a major upset in the second semifinal as Valerie Ghibaudo, who was second in the world rankings coming into the event, jumped the gun to be disqualified, leaving the door open for her rivals to pounce - particularly Delphine Cousin who currently leads the title race.
With the wind becoming too gusty at 5:50pm the sailors were released for the day. The forecast for tomorrow is marginally lighter than today, so we should hopefully see the completion of both the men’s and women’s second races at a minimum. Skippers’ meeting tomorrow has been called for 10am with the action commencing from 10:30am. Results After Elimination One Pegasus Airlines Alicati PWA World Cup - Men’s Slalom
1st Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)
2nd Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7)
3rd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
4th Tristan Algret (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic)
5th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North)
6th Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North)
7th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
8th Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails)
9th Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails)
10th Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic) Results After Elimination One Pegasus Airlines Alicati PWA World Cup - Women’s Slalom
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Chris Benz / Maui Ultra Fins)
2nd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360)
3rd Fulya Unlu (Starboard / Severne)
4th Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails)
5th Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)
6th Ayako Suzuki (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)
7th Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Severne)
8th Fujiko Onishi (Starboard / Loft Sails) PWA World Tour