The 2006 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam Day Three
Antoine Albeau (F192 Starboard / NeilPryde) reclaims the event lead after six races, as Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11 T1 / North Sails) slumps to fourth position. A resurgent Micah Buzianis (US-34 JP / NeilPryde) leapfrogs Finian Maynard (KV-11 F2 / NeilPryde) to take second. Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2 / North Sails) continues to dominate with only Valerie Ghibaudo (FRA-444) threatening her.
There were pretty gusty conditions this morning but there was enough wind to start racing after the morning skippers’ meeting. First to go was men’s race five.
Men’s Race Five
Most of the main players made it out of the qualifying heats with Cyril Moussilmani (F-71, Fanatic/ North Sails) especially lucky to advance. Two of yesterday’s top performers, Finian Maynard, and Pieter Bijl (NED-0, Fanatic/ NeilPryde) clearly won their heats, as did Albeau. Arnon Dagan (ISR-1, Fanatic / NeilPryde), who had a poor performance in the first semi-final, had a great drag race with Patrick Diethelm (ITA-120 F2 / North) to win an exciting loser’s final.
In the final, Pieter Bijl’s hopes of consolidating yesterday’s race 4 win were broken when he went over the start line too early and was disqualified. On the re-start Kevin Pritchard (US-3 Starboard / Maui Sails) took his trademark downwind end start whilst Maynard and Dunkerbeck took the upwind route. Everyone on the beach wondered which option would work best. At first it looked as if Maynard was going to get there first, but as it turned out it was Micah Buzianis (US-34 JP / NeilPryde), in the middle of the pack, who rounded the mark first, followed by Cyril Moussilmani who just escaped the carnage behind him as many racers fell.
By the third mark Buzianis could be seen extending his lead ahead in the clean air. Meanwhile Albeau and Pritchard streaked through the following pack, as Dunkerbeck struggled in last position after the first mark chaos. Pritchard and Albeau passed Cyril Moussilmani, their last obstacle between them and Buzianis, on the final straight but could not catch last years joint world champion. Buzianis won and Albeau came second ahead of Pritchard.
Dunkerbeck’s mistakes meant he sank to second, and that Albeau shot back into the event lead at this stage
Women’s Race Eight
Valerie Ghibaudo got the best start ahead of Allison Shreeve (AUS-911, F2 / NeilPryde), and Karin Jaggi. Shreeve, who’s not matched the standard of her Formula windsurfing gybing skill in Slalom, did well to hold her position ahead of Jaggi at mark one. Ghibaudo kept the lead with a fast downwind line on the second reach, whilst Shreeve’s conservative, upwind line meant she had to go wide at the third gybe, lost speed and once more opened the door for Jaggi to pass her. Ghibaudo extended her lead to win, Jaggi finished second after putting an incredible amount of distance between her and Shreeve who rolled home in third.
Women’s Race Nine
Both Jaggi and Shreeve got great starts to race nine, and although she led the way down the first reach, Shreeve was once more snaked by Jaggi gybing inside her at the first mark. Ghibaudo in third was chasing down Shreeve for the next few legs as Jaggi extended her already massive lead. Ghibaudo tried her best to catch Shreeve but just didn’t have the speed. Jaggi won by perhaps her largest margin yet and Shreeve came second with Ghibaudo third.
Women’s Race Ten
Shreeve got the best start to race ten and sped down the first reach until once more she fell at the first mark, letting Jaggi past into the lead and Ghibaudo into the number two slot. Jaggi showed remarkable speed during the rest of the race and put an even bigger distance between her and Ghibaudo than she had with Shreeve in race nine. Shreeve had really lost her focus in the shifting winds, and after struggling to make the final gybe mark, allowed Marie Andres (E-2 Starboard) to skilfully take her opportunity to pass. Jaggi won by a country mile and Ghibaudo scored another second as Andres took a well deserved third.
Men’s Race Six
The semi-finals of race 6 were tough and Taty Frans (NB-9, Starboard/ MauiSails) did well to advance into the final from the first semi, whilst Ross Williams just missed out. In the other semi Ben van der Steen (NED-57, Exocet / Naish) also missed the cut.
Albeau got a perfect start to the final, charging towards the first gybe in front of Maynard and Buzianis, whilst Dunkerbeck had another nightmare and fell at the first mark. Buzianis looked to be on a mission after some poor performances by his standards recently. He won the speed run against Maynard towards the second mark and, although Maynard tried desperately to get a line inside of Buzianis as they gybed, he could not find his way and just missed out. Albeau just kept on extending his lead with the sort of speed he showed in Gran Canaria. In the end it was an easy win for Albeau, while Buzianis settled for second and Maynard third.
Men’s Race Seven
Race Director Juan Antonio Aragon called for a half fleet race with two 21 man heats to decide which 11 riders would advance to a 22 man final. Shifting winds made the crews life difficult as the course needed amendments, but the race eventually got underway late in the afternoon.
The two spectacular 21 man starts gave the crowd a real treat as they raced towards the beach. Sylvain Moussilmani (F-73 F2 / Simmer) came out on top of heat one, and unbelievably it was his older brother Cyril Moussilmani, who won the second heat! The final was delayed with a general re-call and then eventually abandoned before the start as the wind dropped and ended competition for the day.
After 10 women’s races and nearly completing the seventh men’s race the results have changed dramatically from last night. Dunkerbeck looks to have lost his grip and Albeau seems to be finding form again. Who will come out on top? Will Ghibaudo be able to challenge Jaggi? To find out, please check www.pwaworldtour.com throughout tomorrow for live updates and news.
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