Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup
The conditions on the third day of the 2018 Fly! ANA PWA World Cup were challenging at times, but in the end things worked out well as the opening Men’s Slalom elimination of the week was completed in the early evening - meaning that results in all 3 fleets have now been obtained, while the second foil race of the week produced arguably the most exciting race of the event so far.
Yuki Sunaga (Loftsails) made a flying start to the losers’ final and the Japanese soon opened up what looked like a commanding lead, however over the remainder of the course Océane Lescadieu (NeilPryde) slowly reeled her back in - resulting in an extremely close finish - which went in the favour of the New Caledonian - who finishes 9th in the first elimination - ahead of Sunaga, Fujiko Onishi (I-99 / Point-7) and Marianne Rautelin (Patrik / Loftsails).
Japan’s Fujiko Onishi won the opening heat of the second elimination to book her place in the semifinals after a great battle with Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails), which saw the lead exchange hands on several occasions. Mortefon still comfortably qualified in second place alongside Esther de Geus (Fanatic / NorthSails), who recovered from a somewhat slow start, while Nimet Tulumen (Tabou / GA Sails) secured the final qualifying place.
Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360) made no mistake in the first round as the Turk led from start to finish to claim an easy victory. Meanwhile, the Japanese duo of Yuki Sunaga (Loftsails) and Haruna Ozaki (Starboard / Point-7) also successfully advanced - as did Britain’s Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / NorthSails) - who finished 3rd in Heat 2.
All 5 of last year’s top 5 - Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde), Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne), Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins), Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) and Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) - qualified for the opening winners’ final of the year, while Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde) also booked his place in Heat 16 to mean that 6 out of the 8 finalists came from 2017’s top 8 as the top seeds made a statement of intenti in the opening race of the year.
Antoine Albeau and Matteo Iachino battled for the pin in the winners’ final, but the reigning world champion won that, what proved to be, pivotal fight to gain a narrow advantage over the Italian as they entered the first gybe, while Pierre Mortefon and Arnon Dagan followed in close pursuit.
Once Albeau holds the lead at the first he often proves almost impossible to overhaul and that’s how things played out again today despite Iachino’s best efforts to fight back. Over the remainder of the course, Albeau remained cool, calm and collected as the 24-time world champion didn’t put a foot wrong to make the perfect start to the event. Iachino finished second with Mortefon in 3rd as last year’s top 3 finished 1, 2 & 3.
Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) came so close to winning his first ever elimination in the final event of 2017 only to be denied by Arnon Dagan on that occasion. The 24-year-old again showed his pedigree to mix it with the best in the business as he earned 4th place ahead of Pascal Toselli - 5th - who was slightly fortunate to qualify from Heat 11 as he looked out of contention for the top 4 until Malte Reuscher (Fanatic / NorthSails) needlessly tried to gybe inside of Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails), when both sailors were comfortably in the qualifying positions. That resulted in Bordes and one other sailor falling, which allowed the Frenchman to weave his way through the carnage and successfully qualify for the semifinal and final.
Meanwhile, Dagan earned 6th ahead of Williams and Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / NorthSails), who finished 7th and 8th respectively.
Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails) looked set to qualify for the winner’s final after holding second around the first mark in the semifinals. However, the German eventually lost out, but he still earned a place in the top 10 by winning the losers’ final ahead of Maciek Rutkowski (I-99 / Challenger Sails), who produced a great final gybe to overtake Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne/ Chopper Fins), who finished 11th in the first elimination, and Malte Reuscher - 12th.
The only members of the last seasons top 8 not to qualify for the winners’ final were last year’s event champion - Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti) - and Austria’s Marco Lang (Fanatic / NorthSails) - both of whom suffered narrow 5th place exits in the quarterfinals.
Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) also deserves a great deal of credit after the Aruban not only made his return on the world tour, after suffering a potentially career threatening injury in Fuerteventura, but instantly marked his return with an excellent top 16 finish - 14th - in his first elimination back. It looks like the Aruban has almost never been away from the race course and he could be a serious force to be reckoned with this season.
The winners’ final of the second foil elimination was arguably the most exciting race of the week thus far with twists, turns, crashes and overtaking throughout.
Antoine Albeau looked set to hold the lead as the fleet rounded the first mark, but AA missed the boom completely when tacking, which saw him end up in the drink before fighting back to finish 5th.
That seemingly left only Gonzalo Costa Hoevel and Julien Bontemps (JP / NeilPryde) to battle it out for the lead, until Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) came out of nowhere to storm into first place. Only for the Bonairean to then crash his gybe and leave Costa Hoevel and Bontemps to fight it out once more over the remainder of the course. The Argentine and Frenchman exchanged the lead on a further couple of occasions before Costa Hoevel started to really gain the upper hand and with Bontemps firmly under pressure to stay in contention the former Olympic vice-champion cracked as he crashed his gybe to leave Costa Hoevel out in the clear to collect a well deserved victory, which sees him move to the top of the event rankings. Costa Hoevel now holds a 2.3 points advantage at the top after a 1st and 2nd from the opening two races. Bontemps also rises once place from the overnight rankings to 2nd, while Albeau falls two places to 3rd.
Tsukuihama Beach, Yokosuka, looks set to produce a third consecutive day of competition based on the current forecast, which promises winds from 17-26 knots in the morning, increasing to 22 knots, to in excess of 30 knots during the afternoon, which should see more exciting racing on the cards. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 9am with the action commencing from 10am (GMT+9) onwards - depending on conditions.
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Current Ranking 2018 Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After One Elimination
1st Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
2nd Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360)
3rd Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails)
4th Lilou Granier (Starboard / Severne)
5th Fulya Ünlü (Starboard / Point-7)
6th Esther de Geus (Fanatic / NorthSails)
7th Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / NorthSails)
8th Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails)
Current Ranking 2018 Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup - Men’s Slalom
*After One Elimination
1st Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
2nd Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne)
3rd Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
4th Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins)
5th Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins)
6th Arnon Dagan (RRD / NeilPryde)
7th Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses)
8th Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / NorthSails)
9th Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails)
10th Maciek Rutkowski (I-99 / Challenger Sails)
Current Ranking 2018 Fly! ANA Yokosuka PWA World Cup - Men’s Foil
*After Two Eliminations
1st Gonzalo Costa Hoevel (Starboard / Severne/ Chopper Fins)
2nd Julien Bontemps (JP / NeilPryde)
3rd Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde)
4th Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde)
5th Alexandre Cousin (Patrik / GA Sails / Chopper Fins)
6th Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti)
7th Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails)
7th Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails)
9th Antoine Questel (Starboard / S2Maui)
10th Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne)