ULSAN PWA WORLD CUP
The decision to hold an earlier skippers’ meeting on day four of the Ulsan PWA World Cup was duly rewarded as Jinha beach was transformed into a port tack slalom sailors playground, which allowed an epic - but grueling - eight hours of racing to be completed. The usual thermal winds - which so often grace South Korea’s number one windsurfing beach - were replaced with a frontal cross shore wind from the left. By the end of the day, two eliminations for both the men and women were completed, whilst the first round of the men’s race four was also sailed. Today’s action saw four separate winners’, firstly the two reigning world champions Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) and Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic) both claimed their first race victories of the year, before Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) claimed his first elimination victory in four years. Unfortunately for Arrighetti, Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne) soon reasserted her authority over the event with another bullet. The conditions today truly showed exactly why South Korea is one of the most challenging stops on the tour.
Antoine Albeau immediately bounced back from his misfortune in elimination one - where he suffered a broken fin - to put himself right back in contention for the event title with his first bullet of the season. Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7) made the best start of the fleet and the Italian was able to hold his lead until just before the third mark, at this point Albeau showed his prowess as he pounced to brilliantly maneuver his way past Menegatti. Once the big Frenchman was in the lead there was no way he was going to relinquish his winning position and Albeau held his nerve to claim victory ahead of Menegatti. Meanwhile, Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) displayed the form he showed last year to finish in an excellent third place, whilst Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Dunkerbeck Eyewear / Chris Benz) and Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different) had to settle for fourth and fifth respectively.
The opening heat of the day, heat twelve, was a hotly contested affair which saw Albeau, Menegatti, Pascal Toselli (Tabou / Point-7) and the young Frenchman Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / Loft Sails) qualify after a brilliantly sailed heat. However, there was no room for Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti), Benoit Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) or Sylvain Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer) in the semifinals this time around.
At the second time of asking the second winners’ final of the day was completed and it was Arnon Dagan who stole the limelight with an accomplished display. The Israeli timed his start to perfection as he claimed the lead from the outset. From here Dagan took full advantage of the clean wind in front of him to maintain his lead, whilst Gonzalo Costa Hoevel turned on the after-burners to blitz his way past Menegatti. At this stage the top four was completed by Albeau, but his arch nemesis Bjorn Dunkerbeck was enduring a torrid time at the back of the pack. As the third mark approached Dagan and Costa Hoevel had opened up a sizable gap between them and the rest of the fleet, and it wasn’t long before Dagan was celebrating his first elimination victory in quite some time, after excelling in the lighter airs. Meanwhile, Costa Hoevel claimed second, but the race wasn’t over there. Antoine Albeau seized the initiative to climb into third place, after taking advantage of a sloppy gybe from Menegatti, which left the Italian settling for fourth. Bjorn Dunkerbeck eventually fought his way back to fifth, having held off the challenge of Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) down the final straight by the narrowest of margins. As the duo crossed the finish line there was a mere half a board length in it.
Alberto Menegatti was left ruing his luck that the first attempt to run the winners’ final resulted in a cancellation, as the current event leader held a healthy lead when the heat was abandoned. Elsewhere, Matteo Iachino (F2 / Challenger Sails / AL360) did brilliantly to qualify from the first round after the Italian suffered a broken mast just minutes before his heat, but he kept his cool magnificently to recover. The drama wasn’t over there either as several big names excited the fourth race at the quarterfinal stage. Last years event winner - Micah Buzianis - failed to advance from heat eleven, whilst Peter Volwater (Fanatic / Avanti), Pieter Bijl (Angulo / NeilPryde), Ludovic Jossin (Patrik / Loft Sails), Cedric Bordes (Tabou / Gaastra) and Steve Allen (Starboard / Severne) all took early exits.
Before the day concluded the opening round of race four was also completed and there were no upsets, although Bjorn Dunkerbeck and Finian Maynard were both made to sweat to seal their place in the quarterfinals.
Valerie Arrighetti bounced back from her disappointing performance in the opening elimination in the perfect fashion as she claimed her first bullet of the season, but it was Turkey’s Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) who actually made the best start of the bunch in the winners’ final. However after a promising start things quickly went downhill for Erdil and by the first mark Arrighetti had moved into the lead. Once at the front of the pack the French lady showed her guile and expertise to open up an unattainable lead as she combined brilliant straight line speed with fluid gybes to claim victory. Karin Jaggi followed up her opening victory with a solid second place, whilst Marion Mortefon (Starboard / Severne) and Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde) completed a heavily French dominated top four.
Marion Dusart (Loft Sails) needed to be escorted from the water after a nasty catapult just after the start line in the losers’ final. Thankfully her injuries weren’t serious and the twenty-two year old was able to resume her competition in race three.
The multiple times world champion, Karin Jaggi, struck again in race three as she claimed her second victory of the event thus far. However, the Swiss gem didn’t have it all her own way as Fujiko Onishi (Starboard / Loft Sails) burst out of the starting blocks. Jaggi though - as always - kept her cool and by the second mark she had built a substantial lead over her closest challenger, Ayako Suzuki (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic). With the top two wrapped up, it was all about the battle for fourth which involved Arrighetti and Cousin. Despite a poor gybe at the final mark Arrighetti was able to secure third, as her compatriot was forced to settle for fourth.
Lena Erdil felt the full force of the newly enforced rule - which means the heat is only cancelled if 6 or more sailors are off the plane for 10 seconds or the wind drops below seven knots - as she failed to qualify for the winners’ final. The Turkish maestro made another strong start and was still in great position by the second mark, but from here it all went to pieces as Jaggi, Onishi, Mio Anayama (Starboard / NeilPryde) and Sayaka Iwai (RRD / MauiSails) all bypassed her to compound her misery. The other shock in race three was the fact that Cagla Kubat (Starboard / Loft Sails) also failed to advance after dropping her gybe in heat two.
After a marathon day on the water, which saw four separate winners, the day eventually concluded shortly before five O’clock. Tomorrow we will be hoping that the thermal wind kicks in during the afternoon, so that the fourth eliminations can be completed. The skippers’ meeting for tomorrow has been called for 10:30am with the first possible start at 11am. You’ll be able to follow all the adrenaline fueled racing live by tuning into the live stream via the PWA TV @ https://www.pwaworldtour.com/index.php?id=1622.
Results After Four Eliminations - Men
1st Alberto Menegatti (Starboard / Point-7)
2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic / Different)
4th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne)
5th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
Results After Four Eliminations - Women
1st Karin Jaggi (Patrik / Severne)
2nd Delphine Cousin (JP / NeilPryde)
3rd Valerie Arrighetti (Tabou / Gaastra / Mystic)
4th Ayako Suzuki (Starboard / Gaastra / Mystic)
5th Mio Anayama (Starboard / NeilPryde)
Scope The Action
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