PWA Grand Slam Sotavento Fuerteventura day 6.
A blanket of cloud lingered over the event site for the first day of the men’s slalom competition, leading to a morning spent tuning equipment, relaxing in the main tent and keeping an eye on the conditions.
By midday the cloud had burnt away and the flags had started to flutter in the building breeze. Eager to kick off the racing, the PWA crew took to the water to measure the wind. One more hour passed until the conditions were suitable and the sailors hit the racecourse, mostly using their 8.6-meter sails and their largest boards, ready for the days action.
The opening round of slalom was filled with highs and lows; Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) flew over the start line and held pole position the whole way around the first race of the day. Big names Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft), Peter Volwater (Fanatic / MauiSails), Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde), Finian Maynard (RRD), Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic), Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde), and Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) all started the day on a high, winning their first races and qualifying for the next round.
Disaster struck for Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) and Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun / Dakine) in their opening races, as both sailors were caught out by the tough conditions and failed to advance.
As the sailors moved into the second round the fluctuating wind made the conditions all the more complex and the slalom elite had to utilize all their experience and tactics to qualify. Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic) opted for all out speed, dominating the rest of the fleet to make his way to the semi-finals. Albeau chose a slick line to undercut his opponents at the first mark to secure his victory, and Maynard hit the start line at full speed on the buzzer providing him with an easy pass into the next round.
By the semi-finals the sailors were really fired up and willing to work hard for their place in the winner’s final. Volwater went over the start line early in the first heat and was forced to settle for a place in the losers’ final. Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) and Jossin battled the whole way around the course but Jossin stole the qualifying position by a board length to make the final. Meanwhile super cool Albeau didn’t let the pressure affect him, claiming his third first place of the day.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / DunkerbeckEyewear) didn’t mess around in heat fourteen, charging his way around the course and guaranteeing his position in the winners’ final. Dagan continued with his faultless sailing, sticking to Dunkerbeck’s line to finish in second place, while Jimmy Diaz’s (Starboard / North) tactical sailing saw him fend off any advances from the rest of the fleet to finish in third.
Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North) went over early in the start of the losers’ final, opening the door for Volwater and his brother Benoit Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) to claim the top spots. A rouge piece of chop caught Quentel out at the third mark and he fell from third place to last, allowing Sylvain Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) to slip into third and Pascal Toselli (RRD / Point-7) to claim fourth place.
Albeau opened the winners’ final with a perfectly timed start providing him with the advantage from the very beginning. Jossin and Maynard followed in second and third, whilst Dunkerbeck was buried amongst the rest of the fleet at the first gybe. By the second mark it was all change and Dunkerbeck’s blistering board speed had allowed him to power his way through to second place. Albeau managed to distance himself away from the rest of the fleet allowing him to focus on the finish line. Dunkerbeck went down on the final gybe however he was back up and running in a split second but by this time he was unable to catch Albeau. Dunkerbeck had to settle for second place, with Van Der Steen hot on his heels in third and Ludovic Jossin in fourth. Albeau was cheered back to the beach, having sailed the perfect elimination winning first place in every heat.
With the first elimination completed, the sailors were released for the day. The slalom will continue tomorrow morning picking up the action with elimination two. The skippers’ meeting is planned for 10:30am with the first possible start to racing at 11:00am. The 2011 Fuerteventura Men’s Slalom Results (After 1 Elimination)
1st Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / DunkerbeckEyewear)
3rd Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic)
4th Ludovic Jossin (Loft)
5th Finian Maynard (RRD)
6th Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North)
7th Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins)
8th Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra)
9th Peter Volwater (Fanatic / MauiSails)
10th Benoit Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer)
PWA World Tour website
There is also a dedicated website