Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup
After close to perfect conditions on the opening two days of the 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup day three proved to be by far the most challenging day yet with big wind shifts and variable wind speeds making conditions extremely tricky. This resulted in several tempers flaring as things threatened to boil over at times. However, in spite of the tough conditions, it was generally the same set of usual suspects who rose to the top.
After relinquishing the event lead to Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins) after the opening race today, Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) hit back almost immediately to regain the No.1 spot at the halfway stage by continuing her remarkable run of form, which has seen her not finish outside the top 2 places in the 6 races completed so far - 3 first places and 3 second places.
Sarah-Quita Offringa had moved into the event lead for the first time earlier in the day after winning Elimination 5, but she then surprisingly failed to qualify for the winners’ final of Elimination 6 after being overpowered during the semifinals. Offringa was still in contention as they rounded the final mark but narrowly lost out to Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails), who went on to record her best result out the event so far with an excellent 3rd place.
A mixed bag of results for Offringa means she now trails Cousin Questel by 4 points heading into the second half of the event, but that gap could be reduced to almost nothing again when the second discard comes into play after Elimination 7 and it’s going to be fascinating to see how the remainder of the event plays out.
After a slow start, Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) had recovered nicely with a series of 2nd and 3rd places and she kicked off the day with another solid 3rd to be prominently placed in the event rankings. However, disaster struck for the Turkish beauty when she injured her foot rounding the first mark in the winners’ final of Elimination 6, which resulted in an 8th place and she will now have to cross her fingers that it is nothing too serious with Marion Mortefon now being a genuine threat for the final place on the prestigious podium.
As things stand Erdil holds a 4 point advantage over Mortefon - who is currently 5th - but if French girl can turn the tables and beat Erdil by at least one place then she would snatch 3rd in the overall rankings, so there’s still everything to play for. However, after speaking briefly to Erdil it sounds like her injury could be worse than initially feared so we will have to wait and see if she is able to sail. Everyone from the PWA would like to wish Lena all the best and hope to see her competing tomorrow.
Elsewhere, Lilou Granier, again made a slow start to the day as she missed out on the winners’ final in the opening race, but she was able to recover in Elimination 6 with an excellent second place after Yuki Sunaga (LoftSails) dropped her final gybe when leading the final to unfortunately drop from first to last in an instance.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) enjoyed another fine day as he won the sole race completed, which sees AA move to the top of the event rankings at the close of play - holding a 2 point advantage over Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses).
In terms of the title race it’s almost impossible to imagine Albeau losing out from here as he holds a 26.6 point advantage over Cyril Moussilmani (99NoveNove / Severne) in 8th place and it would surely now take a catastrophic loss of form or an unbelievable run of bad luck to stop him from claiming a 24th world title.
Matteo Iachino occupies a clear-cut second place at the halfway stage and will still fancy his chances of signing off the year with a victory. The Italian blew the start in Elimination 5 but did remarkably well to recover into 5th place by the end of the course.
Meanwhile, the race for the final place on the prestigious overall podium couldn’t be closer between Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) and Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses).
At the close of play yesterday Williams trailed in the battle for 3rd, after holding the advantage coming into the final clash of the year, but today he fought back as he climbed two places from 9th to 7th in the event rankings. Although, the Brit did ride his luck at times as he left it until the final reach of Heat 11 - quarterfinal - to pass Basile Jacquin (Starboard / Point-7) and snatch the final qualifying place into the semis. Had he been eliminated there and then you’d had to have thought that that would have ended his challenge with Mortefon involved in the same heat and the Frenchman eventually going on to finish second in Elimination 5, which cements his place in 3rd for the event.
If things were to finish as they are right now with Mortefon 3rd and Williams 7th - the two sailors would finish tied on 4960 points - but Mortefon would take 3rd on count back, so Williams either needs to climb at least one place or hope that Mortefon drops to at least 4th. However, with Mortefon holding a 9 point advantage over his closest challenger - Sebastian Koerdel (Starboard / GA Sails) - in 4th it is likely that Williams will need to find a way to continue his climb up the event rankings.
Koerdel may have missed out on the winners’ final, but the German remains in 4th place heading into day four after sailing well to secure 2nd place in Heat 15 - 10th for the elimination.
Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails) also holds firm in 5th place from the overnight standings after making his third winners’ final of the week - where he finished 8th.
Elsewhere, Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / LoftSails / Chopper Fins), recorded his best result of the event so far as he took home 3rd place in Elimination 5, which sees the Frenchman regain 6th place at the expense of fellow countryman - Cyril Moussilmani (99NoveNove / Severne) - who was absolutely fuming that Heat 10 wasn’t cancelled after he entered the first mark in the lead before failing to get away and dropping to the back of the pack, but despite his furious protests once returning to the beach the result was upheld. That quarterfinal exit sees Moussilmani drop two places to 8th.
Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde), who won the last race on day two, falls one place to 9th after jumping the gun in the semifinals, while Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) completes the top 10 after recording his best result so far 4th. The same is also true for fellow countryman - Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / GA Sails / Mystic) - who qualified for his first winners’ final of the week before finishing 7th - in a race that was dominated by the French - who occupied 1-4th (Albeau, Mortefon, Toselli, Questel).
First thing today the opening foil exhibition of the week was completed and it was Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) who struck first blood as he managed to hold off the valiant challenge of Nicolas Goyard (Starboard / Point-7 / Mystic), while Alexandre Cousin finished just ahead of Antoine Questel to complete the top 3.
On paper tomorrow looks as though it could be another challenging day on the water with winds of a similar strength - 13-20 knots - from the same direction - ENE - currently forecast. The sailors will meet again at 9:30am with the action commencing from 10am (GMT+11) onwards.
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Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After 6 Eliminations
1st Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / NeilPryde / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360)
4th Lilou Granier
5th Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails)
Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup - Men’s Slalom
*After 5 Eliminations
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses)
3rd Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
4th Sebastian Koerdel (Starboard / GA Sails)
5th Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails)
6th Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / LoftSails / Chopper Fins)
7th Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses)
8th Cyril Moussilmani (99NoveNove / Severne)
9th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
10th Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
Current Ranking 2017 Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup - Men’s Foil Exhibition
*After 1 Elimination
1st Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins)
2nd Nicolas Goyard (Starboard / Point-7 / Mystic)
3rd Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / GA Sails / Mystic)
4th Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
5th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails)
6th Maciek Rutkowski (Tabou / GA Sails)
7th William Huppert (Fanatic / NorthSails)
8th Thomas Goyard (Fanatic / NorthSails)
9th Benjamin Tillier (Gun Sails)
10th Alexandre Rouys (Starboard / Severne)