The early part of day four turned out to be a hugely frustrating affair as variable winds, in terms of both strength and direction, wreaked havoc with the start of the racing at the Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup. However, over the duration of the afternoon the wind slowly stabilised to provide the most exciting racing of the week in winds of 15-28 knots.
In the end there were two separate winners’ in each the men’s and women’s divisions as Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) struck back with his first bullet of the week, before Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) claimed victory number two. Meanwhile, Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) became the first woman this week to defeat Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic), before Offringa quickly returned to winning ways in elimination six.
The opening winners’ final of the day saw a terrific battle for the top with several sailors holding the lead at any one time. Antoine Albeau made the best start of the bunch, but as the fleet rounded mark one it was Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails), who managed to edge into the lead by the narrowest of margins ahead of Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde), Albeau and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails). However, as by the second buoy it was Dagan who grabbed top spot, a lead he was able to hold until the penultimate straight. Albeau turned on the afterburners between mark three and four to move into lead. After safely navigating the final turn he stormed down the home straight to claim victory number one of the week ahead of Dagan and Bordes. Meanwhile, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) earned his best finish so far as he claimed fourth place.
The winners’ final of elimination five proved to be an exciting race, but elimination six didn’t disappoint either with yet more exhilarating racing. Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) timed his start best to cross the line in first place, but at the first mark the flying Dutchman proved almost inseparable from Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck with the trio almost touching. With the front three distracted by each other Antoine Albeau raced into the lead, but his lead didn’t last long as Dunkerbeck ran wide at the second mark, whilst battling with Albeau. Waiting in the wings was Julien Quentel, who swooped to move into the lead and then cruised to his second victory of the week to move back to the top of the event rankings, just ahead of Albeau, who claimed second. However, the action wasn’t finished there as Dunkerbeck dropped his third gybe allowing Buzianis, Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) and Van Der Steen back into the frame. On the final straight Van Der Steen made full use of his blistering speed to claim third ahead of Buzianis, fourth and Mortefon, fifth.
Julien Quentel said: 'I’m really happy I was on my 7.0m and small board. At the second gybe I managed to go inside Bjorn and then hold onto the lead. The wind was really strong and I’m really happy to win for the second time this week and its even better that it keeps me at the top of the rankings.'
Elsewhere in the sixth elimination Sinan Gerzile wasted a golden opportunity to qualify for the quarterfinals. The Turk held fourth place as he entered the final gybe, which he ultimately crashed, presenting Amado Vrieswijk (Starboard / Severne) with the perfect present as the Bonairean snuck into the final qualifying position behind Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne), Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic).
Delphine Cousin timed her start to perfection to break into the lead from the outset and for the first time this week Sarah-Quita Offringa didn’t hold the lead at the first mark. The reigning PWA Slalom World Champion was able to hold off the 2011 PWA Slalom World Champion as well as Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) and Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic). From here Cousin remained focused and composed and it wasn’t long before she was celebrating her first bullet of the week. Behind her Erdil out manoeuvred SQO to claim second place, whilst Offringa finished third - a result she can discard - and Ghibaudo fourth.
Valerie Ghibaudo entered the opening buoy of the second winners’ final of the day in first place ahead of Sarah-Quita Offringa, Delphine Cousin and Fulya Ünlü. Ghibaudo was able to hold onto her until the third mark, but unfortunately flamed her gybe, which allowed Offringa to burst into first place followed by Erdil Unlu and Cousin. The usually flawless Offringa, made her way through an extremely shaky final gybe, which gave Erdil a chance at victory, but unfortunately for the Turk she wasn’t able to take full advantage of the opportunity presented before her as Offringa claimed victory number five. Erdil secured second ahead of Cousin in third, whilst Estelle Barré (Fanatic / North) finished fourth - her best so far.
The forecast for tomorrow predicts further wind, although not as strong as today. As in the previous days the skippers’ meeting has been called for 10:30am with the action commencing from 11am. Results After Elimination Six Pegasus Airlines Alicati PWA World Cup - Men’s Slalom
1st Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7)
4th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North)
5th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
6th Tristan Algret (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic)
7th Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)
8th Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails)
9th Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)
10th Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North) Results After Elimination Six Pegasus Airlines Alicati PWA World Cup - Women’s Slalom
1st Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic)
2nd Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails)
3rd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360)
4th Fujiko Onishi (Starboard / Loft Sails)
5th Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Severne)
5th Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Loft Sails) PWA World Tour