Women's Slalom Final Hyeres
Day 1 - Arrigheti storms into the lead with three solid bullets in an action packed afternoon, kicking off the women’s world tour finale in fine style.
It was all smiles at registration as the sun beamed down on a beautiful day over the glorious cote d’azur creating an extremely relaxed vibe to the morning. This didn’t last for long though as bang on schedule the wind filled in making way for the fast and furious females to hit the water at two o’clock and lock into some fierce competition.
A four buoy downwind slalom course was set by race director, Juan Antonio Aragon and his team allowing three full races to be completed by the twenty women that had turned up to battle it out for glory in Almanarre.
The wind varied between 8 and 15 knots throughout the afternoon which made equipment selection critical to performance. Some sailors opted for 8.3s to be safe at the gybes, whilst others stuck to their 7.8s hoping they could either pump their way back onto the plane as they rounded each mark, or that a lucky gust would help them carry their speed.
Arrighetti Annihilates The Competition
The 2009 women’s slalom world champion, Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic) stamped her authority on the elite group of racers that had gathered in Almanarre for the final stop of the 2010 women’s world tour today. The French local was almost unstoppable as she flew off the start line in final after final, without ever needing to look back. She built a strong lead from the very start of every race, to score three consecutive firsts in convincing style. Despite four days of the competition remaining, it’ll be hard for anyone to topple the 2009 champ from the top if she continues to sail with such dominance.
A Fighting Chance
Although Arrighetti claimed victory in every race today, the current tour leader and former world champion, Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne) scored a consistent set of results that saw her into second place for now. A second and two thirds is an awesome score line by anyone’s standards, but Jaggi seemed slightly disappointed with her performance, and was perhaps held back by not having a large enough sail. Stuck on her 7.8 whilst others were on 8.3s had her fighting hard from the start, and hoping for stronger winds. It just goes to show how critical kit selection is when these world-class racers register their gear at the beginning of the season.
Also fighting hard for an end of year podium position is the young French star, Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North). She began her assault with an explosive set of seconds from the first two races today, and a sixth in the third, which sees her just two points behind Jaggi overall. If Alice continues to sail with such speed and consistency as her first two races she could well be a challenger for that final spot on the podium.
Stand Out Performance
Following a disappointing start to the event with a premature start in race one Italian racer, Greta Benvenuti left any negative thoughts back on the beach and hit the water to race hard once again, and a second in the loser’s final of race two clearly lifted her spirits. So much so that she shot out of the blocks in her first heat of race three to finish clear of the pack just moments behind Arrighetti, and then claimed a fifth in a star studded winner’s final. A good result for Benvenuti here would consolidate her position as a top ten rider, and could even lift her up a place or two in the rankings.
Final Few Words
“It feels amazing to be in the lead after the first day of racing. I used a 7.6 for the first elimination which worked well, but I felt I needed a bigger sail for the next race because the wind was a bit light in places. I took my 8.3 and had amazing speed for both race two and three with my medium board which is a 102L Tabou Manta. I was also using some new Gasoil fins today, which are much softer than those that I normally use but they were great. I really want to win here in Almanarre because it has a special place in my heart – it’s not my home spot, but it is where I won my first world cup event in 1996, and so I have great memories of this place. It’s a bit annoying for me that I can’t claim the title even if I win here due to the tie break rules, which I think need to be changed, but I won’t let that get me down now. Hopefully we’ll get plenty of wind and lots more racing this week.”
“I’ve had a bit of a rough start to this competition with some sickness yesterday, and a bit this morning, but when I got out on the water I was actually okay. The wind was fairly light out there today especially in the gybes, but I think it was fair racing - I was on my biggest gear which is a 110L board, and a 7.8. I’m not too disappointed about being in second right now, but hopefully we’ll get plenty of wind to allow for more racing. The forecast looks promising for strong winds from both directions. I’d like it if we got some really hardcore races in because we haven’t had any of those this season.”
1st Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou, Loft, Mystic)
2nd Karin Jaggi (Patrik, Severne)
3rd Alice Arutkin (Starboard, North)
4th Lise Vidal (Exocet, North)
5th Fanny Aubet (JP, NeilPryde)
6th Sarah Hebert (Naish, Naish)
7th Delphine Cousin (Fanatic, North)
8th Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard, Gaastra)
9th Ophelle Joly (Fanatic, North)
10th Marion Mortefon
Live GPS Tracking
The world’s fastest females were tracked all day long with a live feed broadcast to the planet via the internet. By following this link HERE you can check out all of the action from today. The sailors will have the devices on their boards all week, so make sure you tune in to an action packed live race at some point during this all female finale.
Keep in the groove
For more information on all the entrants, and to keep up to date with every piece of the action, click on www.pwaworldtour.com
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