Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam
Despite the lighter wind forecast, the world’s fastest sailors were still left reaching for their 5.2-6.2s as the wind continued to blow on Day 7 of the Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - all be it from a much more offshore direction. After patiently waiting throughout the morning the wind finally stabilised around 1pm to allow a further two eliminations to be completed.
Overnight leader Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) could’ve been out of sight by the end of the second day after the 23-time world champion secured another bullet in the opening race of the day, but his over early in the next elimination leaves the door slightly open for Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses), who staged the biggest comeback of the day.
Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) picked up where he left off yesterday as he dominated again to claim his second bullet in 3 races and it looked as though AA was in danger of completely running away with the competition even at this early stage. Albeau then comfortably qualified for the next Winners’ Final again - winning both his quarterfinal and semifinal - but then jumped the gun in the final to be disqualified meaning he received an 8th place - which he instantly discards - but it does open the door ever so slightly, while keeping the event interesting, with his lead cut to 5.6 points.
Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses) and Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) both slip one place to 3rd and 4th respectively. Both sailors made the opening winners’ final before being eliminated in the quarterfinals of Elimination 4 - which is the first time this week. that Williams has missed out on Heat 16, but he remains on course for his 3rd consecutive Fuerte podium as things stand.
Movers of the Day
Matteo Iachino started the day in 18th place after a disastrous first race yesterday when he was eliminated in the 3rd round, but since then the Italian has shown the sort of form you would expect from a reigning world champion with a 3rd, 2nd and 4th in his last 3 races. With the discard coming into play after the 4th elimination, Iachino flies up with rankings from 18th to 2nd and he’s now Antoine Albeau’s closest contender.
Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic) is another man on the move as he climbs 6 places from 11th to 5th. The Bonairean was eliminated in the quarterfinals of Elimination 1 after misplacing his feet while gybing when in the qualifying positions, but since then he’s hardly put a foot wrong - subsequently qualifying for each Winners’ Final since and progressively getting better with 7th, 6th and 2nd place finishes.
Hot ’n’ Cold
Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) began day 2 of the slalom with a less than ideal start as the current vice-world champion crashed out in the quarterfinals. The 27-year-old bounced back from a slow start yesterday and did the same again today as he claimed a crucial bullet in Elimination 4 to keep himself in contention - remaining in 6th at the close of play - but you’d have to feel he can’t afford any more slip-ups now.
Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) had a disappointing start to the season, but the Frenchman seems to have recaptured his best form here after qualifying for every Winners’ Final so far, which leaves him in 7th place at the moment, while fellow countryman Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Loft Sails) has steadily improved - finishing today with an excellent 3rd in Elimination 4 - which sees him rise to 8th in the current event rankings.
The top 10 is currently completed by Cyril Moussilmani (99NoveNove / Severne) and Ben van der Steen (Patrik / Gun Sails). Moussilmani enjoyed another solid day, while van der Steen couldn't quite replicate yesterday’s level of performance.
While racing in high winds is often classed as the pinnacle of slalom, it of course has its dangers and unfortunately today those risks became apparent with PWA Youth World Champion - Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) - being involved in a high speed racing collision, which resulted in the 19-year-old being taken to hospital before undergoing an operation to reattach the tendons in his lower leg. Ethan is said to be fine, but disappointed to have had his competition cut short and everyone from the PWA would like to wish Ethan a speedy and successful recovery and we hope to see him back competing soon.
The forecast looks as though the wind will be light in the morning before kicking in again in the afternoon, so the skippers’ meeting has been called for 11am with a first possible start of 11:30am (GMT+1). Make sure you tune into www.pwaworldtour.com to follow all of the racing as it happens via the PWA live stream.
To stay up to date with all the latest developments from Fuerteventura — 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 Fuerteventura PWA Grand Slam - Men’s Slalom
*After 4 Eliminations
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Point-7 / Shamal Sunglasses)
3rd Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Mystic / Shamal Sunglasses)
4th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti)
5th Taty Frans (Starboard / GA Sails / Mystic)
6th Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
7th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails)
8th Pascal Toselli (99NoveNove / Loft Sails)
9th Cyril Moussilmani (99NoveNove / Severne)10th Ben van der Steen (Patrik / Gun Sails)