Catalunya PWA World Cup
Day 3: Menacing Dunkerbeck returns to form and bags two elimination victories on a blustery third day in Catalunya.
Once again the sailors awoke to the sound of rustling trees as Catalunya’s consistent cross shore breeze blew through the Ballena Alegre campsite.
Winds reaching around 16-20 knots provided the sailors with standout slalom conditions. The riders looked to be super comfortable cruising around the course after yesterday’s beating, allowing three more eliminations to be completed.
Racing kicked off with a 10am start, with conditions back to normal it was time for the regular big names to return to their posts and pass through the early heats.
The big drama came from heat 11 when Jesper Orth (RRD) collided with Ross Williams (Tabou / Gaastra). Not only playing havoc with Williams’s race he managed to catch his nose in the process requiring immediate medical attention.
The loser’s final kicked off with a false start; Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun / Dakine) was too eager crossing the line slightly early. When the whistle blew Pascal Toselli (RRD / Point-7) was quick off the mark taking the lead early on. Moving quickly round the first two gybes Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Fanatic / North / Mystic) and Benoit Moussilmani (Tabou / Simmer ) were hot on his tail. Toselli was holding his position until the next corner, Benoit managed to muscle his way through on the inside and take the lead. Determined to hold his position he bore away hard and increased the gap, claiming victory miles ahead of the rest of the pack.
An extremely exciting final saw Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic / DunkerbeckEyewear) come flying out the starting gates and around the first mark. On recognizing his arch rivals return Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde) attempted to cut Dunkerbeck’s corner and take the inside line, costing him precious speed. Heading towards the 4th mark it was a two man show-down, both sailors really working the revs and traveling at full speed. Dunkerbeck managed to slide around the corner early and quickly put his foot on the gas leaving Albeau in his wake, to claim his first race victory at this event.
Moving quickly into elimination 6 the wind was showing signs of dropping, blowing between 12-18 knots causing the sailors to upsize their equipment to sails around 8.6m
Heat 13 stood out in this elimination, the sailors were obviously fired up and trying to force their way into the final. Pushing the starts too hard, Angulo and Benoit Moussilmani lost out early to the winner’s final causing heat 13 to be restarted twice.
Arnon Dagan (Tabou / Gaastra) sprung over the start line, closely followed by Angulo and Julien Quentel (RRD/ NeilPryde). The whole pack made it clean around the first mark and onto the straight. Angulo unleashed and push his way to the front, opening up a huge gap away from the rest of the pack.
The winner’s final opened with a casual start the sailors were playing it cautiously not wanting to make a mistake early on. Micah Buzianis (JP / NeilPryde) took the lead around the first mark and Albeau dropped his gybe causing Dunkerbeck to pile into the back of him. Buzianis, Peter Volwater (Fanatic / MauiSails) and Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic) led the charge around the second and third marks. Fired up Dunkerbeck cut his way upwind allowing him to unleash the fury over the pack, boosting his position from 6th – 2nd . With Buzianis in his sights he managed to squeeze out some more speed on the straight claiming first place for the second time today.
After a short stop for lunch and a quick reset of the course, it was time once again to pick up the action and continue into the third elimination of the day.
An efficient set of heats saw the early round breeze by; Finian Maynard (RRD) looked back on form after a catastrophic start to the competition. He sailed his way all the way to the winner’s final securing third place.
Van Der Steen and Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North) lost out before the finals, making more room for Dunkerbeck to cruise through.
The loser’s final was really a three man race. Angulo’s aggressive starts paid off as he shot out way in front. Williams and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North) were looking really tight chasing behind. At the second mark Williams had stolen the lead and he held it all the way to the third and fourth. A stumbled gybe from Williams put Mortefon in with a chance, but a quick recovery allowed him to pull on the power and blast over the finish line.
In the closing race of the day Albeau fought back, taking the start line from really high, leaving Dunkerbeck buried at the back. Cruising around the second and third corner Albeau opened up a tremendous gap. Dunkerbeck managed to reel in the rest of the pack but he was unable to make up the distance Albeau had created. Albeau absolutely stormed this final expressing his determination to make this stop on the tour his own.
After a great day of racing Bjorn Dunkerbeck gave us an insight into how he thought the competition was going.
“Today went a lot better than the last two days, I started with a crash at the first mark of the elimination 1 semi-final, and in the second semi-final I broke a mast and didn’t make it through then. Yesterday I was way over board and over sailed, my smallest kit is 90 litres and 6.2m. I was not expecting wind like that anywhere this year. Today worked really well on my 7.8 and 107 litre, I won two. I had a bad start on the final race and there was no way of catching up. I am happy with the way things went today and I hope we get some more racing tomorrow.”
Tune in tomorrow morning for the skippers meeting at 9:30am and a first possible start to racing at 10. See you then.
1st Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde)
2nd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / North)
3rd Bjorn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Mystic /DunkerbeckEyewear)
4th Ben Van Der Steen (Starboard / Loft / Mystic)
5th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
Scope the action
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