The 2008 Catalunya Costa Brava PWA Slalom World Cup – Day Three
With howling wind predicted on the forecast, day three of competition stood poised to serve up a heavy dose of high octane slalom action.
Calm conditions in the morning offered no clues to what might be in store for the competitors over the course of the day.
A hint was given shortly after the skippers meeting, when the Tramontana’s trademark line of wind emerged on the horizon and started edging towards the shore.
By mid morning the wind had built and shifted side shore, offering up perfect slalom conditions under the deep blue Catalan skies. Wasting no time, the race committee set out a four buoy downwind slalom course, for the men’s and women’s fleets to do battle over.
Men’s Race One
Getting going in force 5 – 6 winds, the first of the men’s races got underway. As the heats progressed, it became clear how hungry Antoine Albeau (Starboard, NeilPryde) was to defend his World Title.
In a flawless display, he won every single heat on the way to the race final, where he upstaged his second and third placed rivals Kevin Prichard (Starboard, Gaastra) and Finian Maynard (NeilPryde).
Men’s Race Two
The second of the men’s eliminations got going after a brief lunch break. Dutchman Ben Van Der Steen (Exocet, Simmer Sails) shocked rivals with his blistering pace, and deservedly reserved himself a position in the race final, along side a mix of slalom’s heavy weight contenders.
Micah Buzianis (JP, NeilPryde) made it his business to stop Antoine Albeau, who looked set to have another flawless run. Albeau was eventually forced to settle for second place behind Buzianis, and ahead of Frenchman Sylvain Moussilmani (F2, Simmer Sails).
Men’s Race Three
The last of the men’s eliminations saw Argentinian, Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (F2, NeilPryde, MFC) execute some outstanding tactical racing to advance him through the heats and secure his position in the race final. Sat alongside him were slalom’s biggest hitters, all vying for the valuable points the top spots have to offer.
The final saw a brilliant scrap between speedster Finain Maynard and Gonzalo Costa Hoevel. The pair played cat and mouse, but it was Costa Hoevel’s tactical gybing game that gave him the edge over Maynard.
Ultimately, the seemingly unstoppable Albeau took another first place finish, followed by Gonzalo Costa Hoevel and Maynard in third.
Women’s Race One
In the women’s fleet, Valarie Ghibaudo (Tabou, The Loft) produced a stellar performance to win both the semi final and the final. Joining her was the ever consistent Karin Jaggi (F2, North Sails) who took second place, and Japan’s Ayako Suzuki (Starboard, Gaastra) in third.
Women’s Race Two
In the second of the women’s eliminations, Karin Jaggi fought hard against her rivals, piecing together an outstanding race that only years of competition experience could have summoned. In her wake, Iballa Moreno (North Sails) took second place, in front of ex RSX racer, Lee Korzitz.
Women’s Race Three
Finishing up the day’s action was the third women’s elimination. Age old rivals, Jaggi and Ghibaudo (Tabou, The Loft) showed their mettle, both winning their respective heats, and paving the way for an exciting final showdown.
However, the final was to take an unpredicted turn, when Jaggi and Ghibaudo both went over the start line early, opening the door for Iballa Moreno to steal her first victory of the contest, with Lee Korzitz coming in second, and France’s Alice Arutkin in third.
With the current standings after three eliminations, Antoine Albeau leads the men’s fleet, followed by Finian Maynard and Micah Buzianis. In the women’s fleet, Karin Jaggi leads the pack, edging ahead of Iballa Moreno and Lee Korzitz.
Tomorrow’s forecast is calling for a wind early in the day, so the skippers meeting is scheduled for 8.00am, with racing getting underway from 8.30am.
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© PWA / Andrew Buchanan