PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam day 3. Finally the slalom sailors hit the water after two long days waiting anxiously on the beach. The wind arrived at 11am before soon disappearing again after the completion of eleven heats.
The competitors continued to be teased by the wind for the duration of the afternoon, but in the end their patience duly paid off as the first elimination of the men’s slalom was concluded. Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic / Different) stole the show in front of a packed beach, with a brilliant performance as he claimed the opening victory of the competition.
Men’s First Elimination - Winners’ Final
The men’s winners’ final proved to be a spectacular event as the wind picked up throughout the race to produce some full power, high octane slalom. Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti) crossed the start line in first place but that would all change by exit of the first mark. An absolutely perfect gybe from Ben Van Der Steen saw him leap into the lead as he bypassed Volwater, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) and Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde). By the third mark the flying Dutchman, Van Der Steen, had extended his lead over the rest of the chasing pack, whilst Albeau started a charge of his own to leave the third gybe in second place ahead of Volwater and Buzianis (JP / MauiSails). Van Der Steen managed to hold his nerve around the final mark and he cruised to the opening victory of the 2012 PWA Fuerteventura Grand Slam. Albeau claimed second followed by Volwater and Buzianis in third and fourth respectively. Dunkerbeck in the mean time had to settle for fifth.
Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) burst into the lead as the losers’ final began, and despite losing ground by the first mark he was able to retake pole position by the third mark, as the Israeli flew down the third leg of the course. Behind him the race remained tight with Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) leading the rest of the chasing pack, which consisted of Pascal Toselli (RRD / Point-7), Patrick Diethelm (Patrik / Loft) and Finian Maynard (RRD / Avanti). Eventually Dagan claimed a deserved victory with Mortefon being his closest challenger in second, whilst Toselli and Diethelm completed the top four.
The opening round the first elimination was full of drama as several sailors suffered some big crashes early on to cause a couple of upsets. The first of which involved Josh Angulo (Angulo / Point-7) in heat three. Angulo was qualifying for the next round until the final mark, where the man from Cape Verde fell along with France’s Wilfried Vanherweghe (Fanatic / North) to allow Sean O’Brien (Starboard / Point-7 / Mystic) to claim fourth behind Micah Buzianis, Finian Maynard and Pieter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde). The very next heat, heat four, saw Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) suffer the biggest crash of the day as he flew into mark three in third place. The man from Bonaire couldn’t recover from his crash and Tine Slabe (RRD / Challenger Sails / Different) was more than happy to move into fourth place at the expense of Frans.
The heat was won by Bjorn Dunkerbeck after he beat Arnon Dagan by the narrowest of margins, the pair could only be separated after a photo finish, whilst third place was claimed by Thomas Malina (Fanatic / Simmer). Meanwhile, Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North), clinched the remaining qualifying spot in heat six after a thrilling finish, which saw Diaz come steaming down the final straight to pip Jesper Orth (F2 / KA Sail) to the finish line. Also advancing from heat six would be Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne), Patrick Diethelm (Patrik / Loft Sails) and Frederic Morin (Starboard / NeilPryde). advancing into the next round would be Peter Volwater, Andrea Rosati (RRD / Gaastra) and Dennis Muller (F2 / Challenger / AL360).
Round two was eventually completed shortly after five o’clock once the wind returned from its midday break. The majority of top ten seeds booked their places in the semi-finals unscathed as their greater speed and experience proved pivotal in the tricky conditions.
The first semi-final was finished upon a restart after Arnon Dagan false started. Once heat thirteen was underway again it was Julien Quentel that would finish in first place after staging a stunning comeback, which saw him outside the top four at the first mark. Also advancing into the winners‘ final was American Micah Buzianis, Sylvain Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer), and Bjorn Dunkerbeck. Heat fourteen was finally completed after a cancellation and a half an hour break waiting for the wind to strengthen. When the wind did return it was Antoine Albeau who won the race despite not having the best start.
Albeau was blisteringly quick in a straight line and faultless in the gybes as he opened up a comfortable lead over the rest of the pack. Ben Van Der Steen was the Frenchman’s closest rival followed by Peter Volwater and Benoit Moussilmani, all of whom secured their places in the winners‘ final. Meanwhile, Andrea Cucchi (Patrik / Point-7), Steve Allen, Patrick Diethelm and Pascal Toselli all failed to finish the heat as the wind deserted them on the exit of the third mark, meaning that they were left with places in the losers’ final.
The forecast continues to look good for the tomorrow, so we will see another exciting day of racing as the slalom sailors continue fly around the course at warp speed. The skippers meeting will once again be held at 10am with the action commencing from 10:30 should the conditions allow.
Results After Elimination One - Men’s Slalom
1st Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic / Different)
2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti)
4th Micah Buzianis (JP / MauiSails)
5th Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz)
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11:19 PM Mon 23 Jul 2012GMT
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