Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
A further 3 eliminations were completed on the second day of slalom as the wind continued to howl, which saw the elite of the slalom world reaching for their smallest equipment with most sailors on 5.6-6.2m sails. Today was a true test of skill with each elimination seeing a different course being set to really test the sailors tactical awareness and by the end of the day it is Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), who has extended his lead at the top of the event rankings after another brilliant day, which saw the reigning world champion record a further two victories, while discarding a 9th place finish in elimination three.
Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic) made the best start of the fleet in the opening winners’ final of the day, but it was Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne) who assumed the lead as they rounded the opening buoy. However, with the ferocious winds and extremely choppy water, Moussilmani, took a tumble at the second mark allowing Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails) to pick up the lead. Over the remainder of the course there was a fantastic battle between Toselli, Frans and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails), but it was Toselli who eventually came out on top with Mortefon taking 2nd ahead of Frans and Ben Van der Steen (Tabou / GA Sails), who recorded his best result of the event so far — 4th.
The fourth elimination saw a completely different course, which saw some sailors up in arms about the course they had been set, but it produced the most exciting race of the day with positions constantly changing with sailors falling left, right and centre with the short and broad legs catching many out. This meant that sailors going in the drink at the opening couple of buoys were still frequently qualifying with the opportunity to come back a real possibility and from a spectators perspective it was fantastic.
Having missed out on the winners’ final in the third elimination, Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), immediately struck back as he made a flying start by the pin to take a narrow lead into the first over Pascal Toselli, who was looking to win back-to-back eliminations, and Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses). With the bit firmly between his teeth Albeau was soon securing bullet number two of the week and he celebrated by launching into a massive jump as he crossed the finish line. Meanwhile, with Williams applying the pressure the Brit secured himself an excellent 2nd place as Toselli went down when under pressure, while Ben Van der Steen went one place better than the previous race to finish 3rd ahead of Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails).
Elsewhere, Diony Guadagnino (AHD / Loft Sails), qualified for his first winners’ final since returning to the PWA Slalom World Tour this year and the Venezuelan showed excellent pace and secure gybes to earn a 6th place finish.
After a short and dynamic course in the third race, the final elimination of the day was a battle consisting of out and out speed with just two successful gybes being needed to round the course. However, the speed runs saw many sailors tail walking as they fought to survive the extreme conditions snd some suffered some brutal wipeouts — including Marco Lang (Fanatic / North Sails) who broke his boom such was the ferocity of one of his catapults.
The fifth elimination saw another scintillating finish involving Antoine Albeau, Pierre Mortefon and Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7). Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / NorthSails) made an excellent start, but by the first it was Albeau and Iachino going all out and it looked as though it would be AA who would hold the lead as they entered the opening gybe, however, Iachino dived down the inside to snatch pole position only for Albeau to find another gear to blitz past Iachino on the second reach to take first place. Mortefon then came flying down the home reach to make it a three way battle for the finish line, but Albeau would not be denied as he opens up an extensive lead at the top. Mortefon, meanwhile, rises to 3rd overall after beating Iachino to 2nd place, while Ross Williams continues to enjoy a fine start to the event and he occupies 4th place in the currently event rankings after another top 4 finish.
Jordy Vonk qualified for his opening winners’ final of the week after a disappointing performance yesterday and the young Dutchman was clearly delighted as he fist pumped across the finish line, only to be brought firmly back to earth with a catapult. However, Vonk, didn’t let the crash affect his mindset as he continued to celebrate once being back on the beach.
Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) missed out on a place in the winners’ final for the first time this week, but he limited the damage by claiming victory in the losers’ final to finish 9th overall and holds 4th place in the event rankings.
Antoine Albeau now holds a commanding lead at the top of the rankings and he’ll be looking to continue his domination of the event tomorrow with the forecast predicting another windy day tomorrow. The sailors will meet again at 10:30am — with the racing commencing from 11am (GMT+1) onwards. Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow the racing live.
To see all the latest from the event — including the live stream, elimination ladders, entry list, images and live ticker simply click HERE and scroll to the bottom of the page.
Current Ranking Men’s Slalom — Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses)
3rd Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails)
4th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails)
5th Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Challenger Sails)
6th Cyril Moussilmani (Starboard / Severne)
7th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti)
8th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)
9th Finian Maynard (99NoveNove / Gun Sails)
10th Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7)