Catalunya PWA World Cup
Day 2: Catalunya delivers ballistic conditions as Albeau makes it four victories in a row.
Today’s amazing racing here in Catalunya is likely to go down in the history books and will be talked about for decades to come. With gusts well over forty knots this morning, Costa Brava provided some of the biggest winds and toughest Slalom conditions the sailors have had to deal with for many years.
Fuelled by clear skies the Tramontana wind regularly reached speeds over the 35 knot mark. Mixed with big chop, it created particularly complex conditions for the sailors to compete in.
On first impressions many of the sailors were skeptical that competition could take place, but once action got under way it was fast paced fall downs, and comedy crashes as the sailors battled their way around the course.
Blood, sweat and tears took the sailors through two more eliminations, it was clear only the brave were going to be triumphant in conditions like these.
The sailors in the early heats tested the water to quickly prove that it was going to be a grueling day of racing. Many of the sailors struggled to make it round the course in their opening heats, often contending with equipment too large for the conditions.
In heat 6 Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North Sails) showed his determination to succeed, and that he was not going to be defeated by the conditions. After a great start he went on to crash four times throughout the race, but he still managed to claim the top spot and sail his way into second in the losers final.
Round three saw Bjorn Dunkerbeck’s (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / DunkerbeckEyewear) third upset of the competition. In an attempt to push the start hard, he came in too early and had to stall his equipment forcing him downwind and onto to the wrong side of the start line. This resulted in him unable to complete round three, and missing out on a position in the winners final.
Special mention has to go to Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North Sails) for sailing a perfect set of heats, claiming the number one spots all the way up until the winners final.
The loser’s final got off to a really explosive start, leading to absolute carnage at the first mark as the majority of the pack struggled to make it round. Dunkerbeck held the lead all the way to the fourth corner, but a wide gybe allowed Peter Volwater (Fanatic / MauiSails) to cut a fine line and slip into first place across the finish.
In winners final, Antoine Albeau (JP/ NeilPryde) pushed the start hard and took the lead, but a wide gybe let Moussilmani take the inside line. A two man battle down the straight put Moussilmani into first place, but Albeau’s spectacular gybe pushed Moussilmani out wide. Albeau built up some serious speed and managed to distance himself from the rest of the pack. It came down to Moussilmani and Pascal Toselli (RRD/ Point- 7) to fight it out for 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
After a quick break for lunch the action continued into elimination four. The wind was still howling, but this time the sailors were well tuned into the crazy conditions.
In the early heats it was a case of slow and cautiously wins the race, if you could make it to the finish line you were likely to make it through to the next round.
Confusion came in heat seven as the majority of the pack failed to complete the correct course. Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails / Dakine) led the charge, but he managed to take the wrong turn, rendering him unable to complete the heat.
The loser’s final was a really tidy affair. Faultless sailing in this heat kept the pack really close together until the final marks. Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) battled his way to the final post closely followed by Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) and Ludovic Jossin (Loft).
Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft Sails / Mystic) erupted out the starting gates in the winners final. When it came to the first gybe Albeau was hot on his heels, they both gybed simultaneously but Albeau’s straight line speed was too much for Van Der Steen and he moved into second place. After a cautious start, Dunkerbeck was lagging at the back of the pack but his flawless technique pushed him into third place leaving Albeau to secure his fourth victory, finishing well over 100 meters in front.
Tomorrow’s action is set to kick off with the skippers meeting at 9:30 and a first possible start at 10am. Catch you then for more crazy action from Costa Brava.
1st Antoine Albeau (JP /NeilPryde)
2nd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North Sails)
3rd Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft Sails / Mystic)
4th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
5th Peter Volwater (Fanatic / MauiSails)
Scope The Action
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