AIRWAVES NOUMEA DREAM CUP PWA
The wind continued to blow on day four of the Airwaves Noumea Dream Cup PWA to produce another action packed day in New Caledonia, as a further three races for the men and four races for the women were completed in 15-25 knot winds. By the end of the day Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic) headed to the top of the rankings after a near perfect display, which saw the flying Dutchman win two races and claim second in the other. Meanwhile, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), edged into the lead in the battle for the 2014 title as he took his second bullet of the week in the final elimination of the day, whilst Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) edged ever closer to the world title after securing two more victories today.
Björn Dunkerbeck (Starboard / Severne / Chris Benz / Dunkerbeck Eyewear) made the best start in the opening winners’ final of the day, but it was Ben Van Der Steen who led after the first gybe ahead of Antoine Albeau and Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne). By the penultimate gybe Van Der Steen had built a substantial lead and continued to fly over the remainder of the course to claim his first bullet of the week. Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde) showed more impeccable gybing to finish second in front of Albeau and Moussilmani - third and fourth - whilst Dunkerbeck finished fifth.
The title race saw the pendulum of momentum swing into Antoine Albeau’s favour in the fifth elimination after Cyril Moussilmani jumped the gun to be disqualified - opening the door for his rival to reduce the deficit. Upon the restart, it was once again Ben Van Der Steen who broke into an early lead, and just as in the previous race the Dutchman laid down the gauntlet to claim back-to-back bullets after another flawless display. Julien Quentel secured second place, whilst Antoine Albeau was able to burn past Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) on the third reach to finish third. AA may have not inflicted the maximum possible damage to Moussilmani’s title challenge, but it greatly reduced his advantage over Albeau - placing even greater importance on the final race of the day, but who would be able to hold their nerve?
Josh Angulo (Angulo / Gun Sails) made the best start of the fleet and held his lead into the opening gybe ahead of Antoine Albeau, Ben Van Der Steen - who was looking for a hat-trick of elimination victories - and Antoine Questel (Starboard / Loft Sails). However, by the third mark Albeau had stormed into the lead, clearly looking to capitalise on his momentum, and that’s exactly what the world champion did as he claimed his second bullet of the week. Behind him, Van Der Steen was able to climb into second place, which sees him rise to the top of the event rankings at the end of day four. Meanwhile, Angulo claimed third place, whilst Questel was able to fend off the challenge of Moussilmani in the battle for fourth and fifth. More importantly for Albeau though, victory in race six sees him take control of the title race with two days to go.
Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails) crossed the start line in first place, but was unable to hold onto the lead as Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins) gybed in first place. However, Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails) executed a perfect gybe to momentarily assume control, before Offringa stepped on the gas again. The duo enjoyed a terrific battle over the remainder of the course, but on this occasion it was Offringa who came out on top. Behind the top two Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360) occupied third as she headed for the final mark, but after dropping her gybe, slipped to seventh place. This saw Océane Lescadieu (Starboard / Loft Sails) and María Andrés (Fanatic / Gun Sails / Mystic) rise into third and fourth respectively.
Valerie Ghibaudo held the top spot as the fleet approached the first buoy, but unfortunately dropped her gybe allowing Lena Erdil to burst into the lead. However, the Turk’s lead didn’t last long as Offringa once again showed her fantastic top speed to race into the top spot by the second mark ahead of Erdil, Delphine Cousin and Océane Lescadieu. Offringa continued to blitz her way across the rest of the course to claim back-to-back victories. Erdil wasn’t far behind in second, whilst Cousin finished third ahead of María Andrés.
Valerie Ghibaudo failed to capitalise on another good start as she catapulted on the opening reach. After the opening gybe it looked for the all the world as though Sarah-Quita Offringa would be celebrating a hat-trick of elimination victories as she raced into the lead, but that isn’t how things panned out. On the final reach the Aruban gem battled to keep control of her gear, as Cousin edged into the lead, but just metres before the line suffered a brutal wipeout. After a few moments of concern, it thankfully turned out that SQ was okay. However, with her chances of victory now gone, it was Delphine Cousin who claimed first place ahead of Lena Erdil, Ghibaudo and Ayako Suzuki (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic).
Delphine Cousin cemented her place at the top of the event rankings with her second bullet of the day, which now puts her within touching distance of the 2014 world title. The reigning world champion led from start to finish with an accomplished display as Offringa had to settle for second place, whilst Lena Erdil and Mio Anayama finished third and fourth. After another good day for Erdil, it looks as though she has second place in the overall rankings wrapped up, barring disaster.
Tomorrow promises to be another windy day with a similar looking forecast to the past two days, meaning there should be more warp speed slalom - guaranteeing more enthralling action. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 10am - with the action commencing from 10:30am. Don’t miss any of the action by tuning into www.pwaworldtour.com - here you’ll be able to follow the event as it happens via the PWA live stream and live ticker.
Current Standings After Six Eliminations - Men’s
1st Ben Van Der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic)
2nd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne)
4th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails)
5th Julien Quentel (RRD / NeilPryde)
6th Taty Frans (Starboard / MauiSails / Mystic / MFC)
7th Pascal Toselli (Starboard / Point-7)
8th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / North)
9th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
10th Matteo Iachino (Fanatic / North)
Current Standings After Four Eliminations - Women’s
1st Delphine Cousin (Starboard / Loft Sails)
2nd Sarah-Quita Offringa (Starboard / Mystic / Maui Ultra Fins)
3rd Lena Erdil (Patrik / Loft Sails / Mystic / AL360)
4th Maria Andres (Fanatic / Gun Sails / Mystic)
5th Valerie Ghibaudo (Tabou / GA Sails)