2005 Nivea World Cup Sylt - Day 6
<PHOTO1>Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails) turns up the heat on Dunkerbeck as the American takes two out of three of today’s Slalom 42 rounds.
After a long day of wavesailing action yesterday, today the torch was passed on again to the Slalom 42 racers. After a morning of waiting for wind, the show got on the road with round number 7. In the prelude to the final, two riders stood out in not making it through. First major player not too advance was Kevin Pritchard (US-3, Starboard/ MauiSails) as he pushed it too hard at the start of his first heat, jumping the gun and getting disqualified. Then in the semifinal Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails) tore the top of his sail and was forced to pull out of his heat. Luckily for Buzianis, the heat was cancelled because the wind temporarily dropped below the required minimum of 7 knots. In the resail, Buzianis got hung up in a mass pile up at the first buoy, preventing him from qualifying to the next round.
After the final had to be resailed twice due to premature starts by first Florent Renard (FRA-539, JP/ Neil Pryde) and then second by Ben van der Steen (NED-57, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde), the pressure was on Dunkerbeck to get his revenge for his non-victorious previous day. On the first reach of the final, Daniel Ellis (GBR-52, Fanatic/ Naish) surprised everyone by hitting the first buoy in pole position. While Ellis kept up his lead on the way to the second mark, Dunkerbeck was breathing down his neck, looking for a way to take the Englishman down. At the second gybe, Dunkerbeck lashed out and passed Ellis by on the inside. Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde) managed to do the same thing, taking over second position. Jimmy Diaz (ISV-11, North Sails) worked his way up to third place. In this formation, the top 3 sailed out the race, giving Dunkerbeck an even better shot at the event title and possibly the overall Slalom 42 crown.
The losers’ final of round seven was won convincingly by Germany’s Bernd Flessner (G-16, F2/ Neil Pryde).
<PHOTO2>The next round was continued in half fleet format: twenty men heats, two semi’s, one final. The round 8 final featured all the prominent racers including Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails), Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails) and Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde). While it was Buzianis that rounded the first mark in top slot, Dunkerbeck was surprisingly absent in the top three. In second place it was Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde), followed by veteran Phil McGain (AUS-7, MauiSails). Dunkerbeck fought his way up to fourth place, but could not catch up with Buzianis who redeemed himself after missing out on the first final of the day by taking the second. Albeau got second, McGain nailed the third spot.
One more round to go for the day. In the first semi-final, it was double bad luck for the Dutch riders Pieter Bijl (NED-0, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde) and Ben van der Steen (NED-57, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde), both breaking their mast in mid-heat and therefore ruining their shots at a place in the final. Bijl was particularly snapped, as he was leading the race well on his way to the final. Riders that did make it through were to fight it out for the last final of day six at the Nivea World Cup Sylt 2005. As in the final before, Micah Buzianis (USA-34, F2/ North Sails) was the first to arrive at mark number one, with Antoine Albeau (F-192, Neil Pryde) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, North Sails) right on his tail. Phil McGain (AUS-7, MauiSails) proved his racing days are far from numbered by claiming fourth slot throughout the race. Buzianis kept building on his early lead, never to give it up again to anyone before passing the checkered buoy in first position, winning his second final of the day. Albeau was second, Dunkerbeck got third this time. McGain landed fourth spot and Cyril Moussilmani (F-71, Fanatic) closed the top 5 of the ninth round of Slalom 42 in Sylt.
<PHOTO3>For the moment, Dunkerbeck rules the 2005 Sylt Slalom 42 rankings before Albeau and Buzianis. Should there be no more racing here, Dunkerbeck would take both the event and the overall Slalom 42 title. But as there’s still three days of competition ahead, it’s still up for grabs and far from decided.
Tomorrow will be another early day for the wavesailors as forecasts indicate once again that strong winds will hit the beach at dawn. Skippers is scheduled for 0715 to make maximum use of the windy conditions in order to complete both the men’s and women’s wave elimination.
Log on to www.pwaworldtour.com again tomorrow morning at daybreak for the grande finale of the 2005 PWA wave tour.