Pegasus Airlines World Cup
Day five: A nervous day in Alacati as Dunkerbeck inches closer to the world title and Sarah-Quita Offringa sticks two more bullets in the bag.
The wind continued to blow for the penultimate day of racing in Alacati, allowing the slalom fleet to take to the water on their 7.8m sails from the word go. A consistent breeze of around eighteen knots powered the world’s fastest slalom sailors through two and a half more dramatic eliminations.
Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic) dominated in the women’s fleet with two more bullets, taking her back into second place. Peter Volwater (Fanatic / MauiSails) took advantage in men’s elimination eight and Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) claimed his second win in elimination ten.
Despite having a tough day on the water, Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / DunkerbeckEyewear) retains his position as the event leader in Alacati. Dunkerbeck sailed his way into the winners’ finals today, but on both occasions he was caught amongst the pile ups at the marks. He managed to recover a fourth place finish in elimination eight but he was only able to make sixth in elimination nine, opening up the door for Maynard to creep up behind him on the results table. Dunkerbeck will have to be on form tomorrow to retain his position in first place.
Maynard had a mixed day on the water as he was disqualified in the quarter finals of elimination eight due to a premature start. However he made his comeback in elimination nine with an incredible race where he finished second place in the final.
Volwater was the man in charge throughout elimination eight, he sailed an almost perfect set of races and always made it to the mark first. The winners’ final saw his main rival Dunkerbeck go down at mark one, Albeau had a significant lead on the fleet all the way to the final gybe when disaster struck and he too went down. Volwater was able to close the gap and overtake Albeau along with four other members of the fleet and steal his first bullet of the season. Having won the first heat followed by a second place in elimination nine, the tough semi-final line-up featuring all the big names caught Volwater out and forced him into the losers’ final.
“I have had a great day, I have finally sorted out my starts, I was struggling a little earlier in the week but now I have worked out the right routine and it seems to be working. In the semi-final of elimination nine I really wanted to change my equipment but I didn’t have time, so I was caught out at the first mark, but I came back and won the losers final. I am super-stoked about winning the race before, I was happy in second but then Albeau fell and I was able to take the opportunity and as long as I stayed on my board I was fine.”
Having suffered a heavy blow in elimination eight, Albeau returned with a vengeance in elimination nine. The French world champion stormed through the opening heats and the dreaded semi-final featuring Dunkerbeck, Maynard, Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde), Volwater, Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra), Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) and Andrea Cucchi (Patrik / Point-7). Albeau nailed his start putting him ahead of the fleet and free from any crashes taking place behind him, he managed to build up a significant lead on the rest of the pack and he charged his way over the finish line to claim his second win in Alacati, moving him into fourth place and a step closer to the podium.
Other standout sailors from today’s racing included Jesper Orth (RRD) who continued with his superb starts. The light-wind master, Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Gaastra) who blitzed his way into the winners’ final alongside flying Dutchman Peter Bijl (JP / NeilPryde).
With the wind still blowing the race crew were eager to press ahead with the opening half of men’s elimination ten. The first round of heat was completed in quick succession. However a number of key players failed to shine through.
After a fantastic day of starts and a sixth place in the elimination nine losers’ final, Kurosh Kiani (Angulo / Simmer) was unable to match the pace of his opponents, seeing his early exit from the elimination.
Unfortunately for Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) he suffered at the extremely busy first mark in his heat, he was caught amongst a pile up, rendering him unable to complete the race.
Having had a run of bad luck on the water here in Alacati, Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra) was caught out once again in his heat, seeing him unable to qualify. Williams was pressured into making mistakes both on the start-line and the final mark where he went down on both occasions.
Credit has to go to Greece’s Jean Mark Fantis (JP / NeilPryde) for winning his first heat; Fantis dominated from the start-line and from then on there was no catching him. Fantis cruised over the finish-line ahead of the fleet and into the next around.
Offringa was back on form for the fifth day of racing, after a few dropped gybes in the high winds yesterday Offringa was meticulous with her corners today. The Aruban freestyle and slalom maestro timed her starts to perfection to lead the fleet in both finals, ensuring that she claimed two first places.
“I was a little scared the wind was going to be as strong as yesterday, but it ended up being a really good day. I was using my medium board as it’s a little easier to control. I had some really solid starts today, and once you’re at the front it so much easier to race as you don’t have to worry about passing people. I had a catapult in the elimination nine qualifying round but I managed to finish in fourth. I think I had the best start of my life in the winners’ final and that allowed me to go ahead and win the race.”
The current event leader, Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) performed a two great races in the qualifying rounds, however two dropped gybes in the winners’ final saw her finish slightly lower down the fleet than usual in 4th and 8th, however Jaggi still maintains a significant lead on the rest of the fleet with overall consistent scores.
Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic), Greta Benvenuti (Patrik / Point-7 /AL360) and Fanny Aubet (JP /NeilPryde) were the standout women of the day. The three sailors were fighting for the top spots throughout the day and hitting the starts with perfect timing.
With one more exciting day of racing to go, everything is to play for, the tension is mounting and the results are sure to go down to the wire. Dunkerbeck, Maynard, Van Der Steen, and Albeau are all in with a chance of taking the 2011 Pegasus Airlines PWA World Cup for themselves. With the results so tight none of the top five can afford to make any more mistakes, otherwise their results could plummet. Out of the top five Maynard has the most breathing space with a consistent set of results and no major mistakes. If Dunkerbeck wins the competition tomorrow he will walk away with the 2011 world slalom champion title, overthrowing the five year stronghold of Albeau. If Dunkerbeck finishes lower down the ranks tomorrow, then the world champion title will be left open, with everything coming down to the final event of the year in Sylt.
Make sure you tune into the live ticker for the final day of action. Will Dunkerbeck take the title? Will Albeau fight back? Will Maynard throw a spanner in the works? The final day of racing will kick off at 11am tomorrow morning with the skippers’ meeting, with the first possible start to racing at 11:30am.
Men’s results (after 9 eliminations)
1st Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / DunkerbeckEyewear)
2nd Finian Maynard (RRD)
3rd Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic)
4th Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde)
5th Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde)
6th Jimmy Diaz (Starboard / North)
7th Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun / Dakine)
8th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
9th Peter Volwater (Fanatic / MauiSails)
10th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North)
Women’s results (after 9 eliminations)
1st Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)
2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic)
3rd Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic)
4th Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft / AL360)
5th Fanny Aubet (JP / NeilPryde)
6th Marion Mortefon (AL360)
7th Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde)
8th Lise Vidal (Exocet / North)
9th Alice Arutkin (Starboard / North)
10th Cagla Kubat (Starboard / North)
Scope the action
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