PWA World Cup Catalunya Costa Brava 2011 saw tensions mount in relatively calm weather on day five. The event site has now taken on a carnival vibe as spectators have headed to Ballena Alegre to dance to the beat, show some skin in the weekend sun and witness slalom’s finest strut their stuff.
It was a quiet morning on the wind front putting the sailors into a lethargic mood and allowing them to catch up on sleep, read books and browse the net. They were caught off-guard at the turn of 12 when the wind switched, pushing above seven knots.
Four more heat were completed seeing Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) squeeze through to round two with a fourth place finish, even on his 9.5m he struggled to plane down the final straight and over the finish line.
Stealing the top spots Sylvain Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer), Marco Lang (Fanatic / North), Ludovic Jossin (Loft) and Jules Denel (Exocet) granted their passes into round two.
Unfortunately the wind swung onshore and failed to play ball for the remainder of the afternoon, leaving the sailors to return to their bases and prepare for this evenings booming beach party.
We took some time out with the world’s full throttle sailors to unveil their big secrets to going fast, and how they dealt with the high wind conditions experienced here in Costa Brava. Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North)
'I don’t want to share my secrets; I was out there on a 6.3, I made all the semi-finals and one final. There were guys falling down on their 5.7’s, it’s not because I was stronger, I did the maximum I could with my equipment, I tuned it to the best of my ability to keep it under control. I know there are guys that don’t think about this, one day they will find out when I stop racing, maybe then I will share my secrets.' Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North)
'I just take a brand new sail put the mast in and I sail with it. My smallest sail is 5.7m North, I am part of the R+D teams for North and Starboard so I know the gear really well. I am used to sailing in high wind conditions so it is not a problem for me.'
'There are two different styles, mine is to stand on the board very upright, and I open the leach to release the wind. Other people like to get down really low in the harness and use their weight. But I like to release the wind and get the flow going fast.' Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
'My secret is my secret; I am from the Caribbean and that is the best secret. I was on my 5.5m in the strong winds, I like to have long harness lines and get my weight down really low to absorb all the power, and don’t go full speed all the time so that you don’t always crash. Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde)
'There is no secret; just tuning your equipment and being safe on the gear, make sure you are really comfortable. I put my harness lines in the correct location; I put my boom down a little so I can get my weight down really low. I make sure my board is always in the water and I and have maximum control.'
'Bjorn was not prepared for these conditions but he has two big sails registered for the light winds, whereas I only have one. It is the gamble you have to take.' Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra)
'Since I was young I have sailed in the strong wind, I really like it. It is really technical, more aggressive and much faster. If you pass someone the race is not over until the finish line because anything can happen, you could catapult at any time. In light winds if you are sixth after the first mark it is really hard to come back.'
'I was on my 5.7m; all the guys have same gear. I use a 32cm fin in strong winds, your need a small fin for control but no too small because you can spin out when the board loses contact with the water. You have to compromise with your fin, maybe you are a little slower but you have more control.' Kurosh Kiani (Angulo / Simmer)
'In high wind it is about getting as low as possible, I put my boom down and I make my harness lines bigger. I have a waist harness for extra control so that I can get really far away from my equipment, if it gets really wild you can sit down and survive. Whereas in lighter winds I have a higher boom and shorter lines so that so you can get your weight higher. '
'I didn’t have too many crashes because I prefer to survive, sit down and hold the wind. I would rather sail slower and make it around, rather than sailing really fast and crash every 50 yards.' Andrea Rosati (RRD / Gaastra)
'I really like the strong wind and I have the perfect gear for it. This year I registered an 80 liter board which is 53.5cm wide and a 5.2m sail. I have a fin that is great for high winds that I have used since 96; it is fast and gybes really well. I have tested this set-up and I knew it was going to work. I am used to sailing high wind and with a small board, for me slalom is 5.2-7.0 maximum and the most fun'. What’s the plan?
Will Albeau hold the top spot? Will Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North) drop down from the podium? Will Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne) climb further up the rankings? Tune in tomorrow for the final day of action from Costa Brava. The Skippers’ meeting is planned for 11am, with a first possible start of 11:30. Results
First - Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde)
Second - Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North)
Third - Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic /DunkerbeckEyewear)
Fourth - Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic)
Fifth - Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) Event website