The 2006 Gran Canaria PWA Grand Slam Day Three
Antoine Albeau (F192 Starboard / Neil Pryde Sails) takes three wins from three races in Gran Canaria , blitzing Bjorn Dunkerbeck (E-11, T-1 / North Sails) in his back yard. But no-one has toppled the queen of tricksters, Daida Moreno (E-64, Mistral/ North Sails) from her throne yet , as she wins the first double elimination despite strong challenges from new Freestyle talent.
Glassy waves greeted the competitors on their arrival this morning. It would seem impossible that Pozo in July would fail to deliver wind, and true to form the wind machine switched on at 09.30 just in time for skippers meeting. Head Judge Duncan Coombs and Race Director Juan Antonio Aragon chose to start the women’s Freestyle double elimination, before taking a later decision whether to run waves or Slalom 42.
Some experienced names were knocked out by the new skool of women’s freestyler’s today. New talents Sarah-Quita Offringa (ARU-91 Starboard / Maui Sails) and Laure Treboux (SUI-4 Naish / Naish) took out some major names. Offringa beat Uli Hoelzl (AUT-123), Astrid Muldoon (F-002 JP / NeilPryde) before losing out to Junko Nagoshi. Treboux beat Nayra Alonso (E-4, Fanatic/ Severne), Yoli de Brendt (V-26 Fanatic / North), Junko Nagoshi (J-11 F2 / Simmer), Silvia Alba (E-67) and Iballa Moreno (E-63, Mistral/ North Sails) on her way to the semi-final against Karin Jaggi (Z-14, F2/ North Sails). Here she met her match and Jaggi, who was perhaps fresher after not having to sail so many heats, won with more consistent execution of her tricks and less crashes. Treboux has sent out a major warning, and her status will no doubt be reflected in her future seeding positions.
The final was Jaggi against Daida Moreno. Jaggi made good spocks, willy skippers and regular jumping moves, but Daida pulled off a flaka whilst Jaggi fell on hers. The tricky conditions made it close, but Daida won to take the event lead after completing the first double elimination. With no waves on the horizon, it was decided to run racing straight away.
A start time of 13.30 was set for Race 4 to begin. Race Director Juan Antonio Aragon set a 5 leg course with shorter reaches than yesterday to test the full range of required sailing skills.
In heat one Bjorn Dunkerbeck won easily in front of Micah Buzianis (US-34 JP / NeilPryde) in second and Steve Allen (AUS-0 Tabou / Gaastra) in third. Heat two was won by the seemingly unstoppable Antoine Albeau.
The losers final was re-started twice and eventually won convincingly by Peter Volwater (H-24 F2 / North Sails) who had a great race with Patrick Diethelm (ITA-20 F2 / North) who came in second.
If someone was to stop Albeau running away with the lead after the first discard they had to do it now in the final. Dunkerbeck was first off the line and stormed off towards the first mark. Albeau, Maynard and Buzianis were all catching fast and Albeau looked as if he would catch Dunkerbeck by the first mark. However Maynard slipped through the inside during the gybe and took the lead as Albeau passed Dunkerbeck to go second entering the second leg. During the third reach Maynard’s speed was unbelievable, proving that so far he’s been the only person able to threaten Albeau for pace in this contest.
By the fourth mark Albeau had nearly caught Maynard, and on the final reach Albeau bore off downwind taking a different route to the finish line transit. Maynard must have thought he’d crossed the line, foolishly easing back his speed and allowing Albeau to steal victory in what was rightfully Maynard’s race. Maynard was second and Buzianis third.
Race five started at 15.00. Cyril Moussilmani (F-71, Fanatic/ North Sails) won heat one and Dunkerbeck and Maynard had a good race in heat two. Dunkerbeck won leaving Maynard in second. There were two general recalls for the losers final which was eventually won by F2 shaper Diethelm.
No one was surprised to see Albeau cross the start line first in the final although Dunkerbeck briefly got ahead before Albeau regained the lead and reached the mark ahead of Dunkerbeck, as did Maynard. At mark 2 Maynard was infringed by Steve Allen as Dunkerbeck capitalized and went into second place. Meanwhile, Albeau had extended his lead and won easily, with Dunkerbeck second and Pieter Bijl (NED-0, Fanatic/ Neil Pryde) third. Allen was disqualified for dangerous sailing and Maynard awarded redress to equal fourth.
Race 6 got underway on schedule at 16.20. Ben van der Steen (NED-57, Exocet / Neil Pryde) got a great start to heat one before Dunkerbeck caught him at the first gybe. Cedric Bordes (F-91 Tabou / Naish) showed promise by passing van der Steen as he pursued Dunkerbeck to qualify for the final. Albeau easily won heat two and Diethelm claimed the win in the losers final.
After a re-call and disqualification for an over eager Buzianis, the final got started with Peter Volwater first out of the blocks. Dunkerbeck and Maynard had other ideas and overtook Volwater, with Dunkerbeck rounding the first mark just ahead of Maynard. Meanwhile Albeau had also started to gain momentum and absolutely smoked Maynard on the first reach, leaving him struggling for control in the churned up wake he left behind. Approaching the beach on the third reach no one could believe the speed that Albeau had as he closed in on Dunkerbeck. Sure enough on the fourth reach, passing the crowds who were on their feet in the terraces, Albeau found another gear and screeched past the racing legend on his home patch to win with Dunkerbeck second and Kevin Pritchard in third. After one discard and 9 further races possible will anyone be able step up and challenge the Frenchman?
Competition was over for the day and skippers meeting set for 09.30.
Be sure to check in again at www.pwaworldtour.com throughout the day to follow all the progress with live updates.