The 2007 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam – Day 3
It’s one-apiece as Antoine Albeau (Starboard / NeilPryde) and Bjorn Dunkerbeck (T1 / North) open their accounts in the Slalom Racing Event. And it’s hello stranger to Matt Pritchard (Tabou / Gaastra) who impresses to score third in his first appearance of 2007.
Strong winds meant no delay was made in starting Slalom racing this morning.
Even heavyweights like Antoine Albeau were on their smallest registered sails of around 5.0 -5.5 sqm.
In an early show of form, all the main players advanced to the final after the qualifying heats cracked through at a blistering pace.
Bjorn Dunkerbeck convincingly won the final that streaked across the long, 5-bouy downwind course. ‘I was on a 6.3 fully powered’ the multiple-champ said. ‘I made no mistakes at the start, and was pretty close to Antoine around the first mark – we were on the same size sail too. I was a bit quicker and pulled away, and once you’re out in front it’s a lot easier to stay in control all the way to the finish’
Race 2 was a lot much more closely fought, and a brilliant example of Slalom skill put to the test. Class shone once more and the cream rose to the top for the both semi’s and the final.
This time it was Albeau, who won 11 out of 12 races here last year, who shifted into gear.
‘I had a great start’ explained the French legend. ‘But along the first reach it was a little weird as I was slow in the choppy sections, but then suddenly had great speed approaching the first mark. In fact I was so fast I was forced to go extra-wide with a laydown to ditch power just to stay in control. Bjorn and Matt were actually first to the mark, but I accelerated away well while Matt did a nice manoeuvre to gybe inside Bjorn – I think that slowed Bjorn down a bit. From there I could build a little lead and make it count. But, I have to say it’s going to be a lot closer this year here. A lot more guys are faster than before and I’m not sure anyone will be able to dominate here’
The wind started to play games after lunch and a south, Calema wind fought with the regular trades to make for gusty tricky conditions. The racers were placed on hold until competition was abandoned for the day late in the afternoon.
Its early days and a lot can happen yet. Tomorrow the forecast may suit both Women’s Freestyle and Racing tomorrow. The first possible start tomorrow is at 10.00
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© PWA / Brian McDowell