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PWA Catalunya World Cup - Tense opening day in Costa Brava

by Chris Yates on 12 Jun 2013
Bjorn Dunkerbeck - 2013 PWA Catalunya World Cup © John Carter / PWA http://www.pwaworldtour.com
The opening day of the PWA Catalunya World Cup saw the competitors registering for the upcoming competition between 10am and 11am. With a less than promising wind forecast, combined with a very quiet start to the day, not everybody was expecting to be competing come the afternoon. However, as the skippers’ meeting took place at one o’clock the wind gradually started to increase as the local thermal effect kicked in. Shortly after 14:45 the first heat of race one was underway in winds ranging from 7-10 knots. A stop-start afternoon was eventually concluded at around 17:30 with five heats being completed - there were however a number of casualties in the opening round as the marginal winds made for very tricky racing conditions.

The biggest news of the day involved Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) in the opening heat of the day - who was one of the aforementioned casualties. The terminator was in the crucial top four at the third mark, but light winds then haunted Dunkerbeck as he failed to get back on the plane which saw him drop out of the qualifying places. Dunkerbeck wasn’t the only surprise exit from heat one though, as Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Loft Sails) also fell victim to the light winds after gybing underneath Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails), only to find himself in a no wind zone and unable to get planing again. In the end Oliver-Tom Schliemann (Starboard / Point-7) finished at the front of the pack with Buzianis, Casper Bouman (Angulo / NeilPryde / Mystic) and Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) all qualifying too. A very upset and hugely frustrated Dunkerbeck speaking after day one: 'I got to the first mark in second place, but after that the wind became lighter and getting going was hardly possible - of course that was nice for the lighter guys. With some rule changes, which have been implemented this year, this will happen more often - sailing in these lighter wind conditions!' 'Good or bad I guess it will make other windsurfers win!'

On a day where the conditions were marginal, it was no surprise to see the sailors pushing their starts extremely hard to try and guarantee their survival into the next round, however as you would expect there were a number of premature starts today - the first of which came in heat two with Enes Yilmazer (JP / NeilPryde) jumping the gun. Upon the restart Patrick Diethelm (Patrik / Loft Sails), Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different), Matteo Iachino (F2 / Challenger / AL360) all did well to advance, but sixteen year old debutant - Coen Swijnenburg (JP / NeilPryde) - couldn’t have asked for a better introduction to life on the PWA World Tour as he booked his place in the quarterfinals at the first time of asking. Heat three needed several attempts to be completed. First of all Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra) and Taty Frans (Starboard / Maui Sails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) were both disqualified for crossing the line a little too early, before the heat was then cancelled due to unsuitable wind conditions. At the third time of asking Kurosh Kiani (Fanatic / Simmer / Maui Ultra Fins) was the next and final sailor to be disqualified for a premature start. Eventually the French trio consisting of Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails), Tristan Algret (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic) and Damien Le Guen (Exocet) all qualified along with Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti). Nicolas Warembourg (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic) and Valentin Brault (Exocet) were involved in a fierce battle during heat four as the compatriots battled it out for the final qualifying position. As the duo headed for the finish line it was neck and neck, but Warembourg just managed to edge the tussle to book his place in the next round. Joining him are Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde), Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) and Pieter Bijl (Angulo / NeilPryde).

The final heat of the day - to be completed at least - witnessed Jordy Vonk (Patrik / Loft Sails) become the latest sailor to mistime his start, but Sebastian Kordel (Gaastra) wasn’t complaining as he flew across the start line in first place upon the restart. From there the young German made no mistakes to build a significant lead over Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails), Maciek Rutkowski (Patrik / Point-7) and Julien Quentel (JP / NeilPryde) who all escaped from heat five. With the wind becoming increasingly fickle as the early evening approached no more heats were completed today despite both heat six and seven getting underway. Unfortunately the wind deteriorated before the completion of heat six, which resulted in the cancellation of the heat. Meanwhile, heat seven saw yet more premature starts as Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North), Dimitris Apalagakis (JP / North) and Gunnar Asmussen (Patrik / North) were all disqualified. Tomorrow offers a more promising forecast than today, so hopefully we will be able to see the conclusion of elimination one at a minimum. The skippers’ meeting tomorrow has been called for 10:30am with the action commencing from 11am - if conditions allow.

PWA World Tour website

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