Ulsan PWA World Cup
The sailors had their mettle truly tested on Day 2 of the 2018 Ulsan PWA World Cup as winds gusted in excess of 40 knots during the afternoon. Yesterday the swell combined with wind chop already caused problems, but today it caused even more with the ferocious water state leaving many of the world’s top sailors helpless at times, which made for some fascinating racing. At the end of day two Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) maintains her place at the top of the rankings, while Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) overturns Antoine Albeau’s (RRD / NeilPryde) overnight lead.
Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui) held an overnight lead of 6 points and the 26-year-old enjoyed another largely successful day - recording one more bullet, a second and a 4th, which she discards, to remain at the top of the event rankings with a 3.3 point advantage over Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins) in second. However, Cousin Questel may feel slightly disappointed as she had the opportunity to have the event all but sewn up today having held the lead in all the winners’ finals…
In Elimination 3 Cousin Questel looked to have the race in the bag as she held a significant lead heading into the third mark but unfortunately caught a rail as she entered the gybe. This threw Erdil a lifeline and the Turk was only too happy to come through and collect the lead to claim a much needed bullet, which put her firmly back in contention for the event title with a discard to come in the next round. Erdil then rode her luck in Elimination 4 as the 29-year-old dropped her gybe at the first when in the lead, only to battle to battle back into contention by the second before ending up in the drink again. At this point, it seemed like her chances of making the final were virtually zero, but lady luck was shining on her side as Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / NorthSails) stacked it at the last to allow Erdil to secure 4th in the semifinals before claiming 2nd in the final. Erdil then had her chance to seize the initiative but was caught out by the treacherous waters when leading into the first mark of Elimination 5. She eventually finished 4th to move into 2nd place in the overall rankings.
With Erdil going down, Cousin Questel shot to the front again and looked destined to record her 3rd bullet of the event, but disaster soon struck again as she fell at the last, which allowed Maëlle Guilbaud (Patrik / Loftsails) to swoop into contention. The two women went head-to-head on the final reach and there was almost nothing between them as they crossed the finish line, but it was soon confirmed that Guilbaud had done just enough to edge the photo finish and the 21-year-old was clearly delighted after earning her first bullet on the world tour. Guilbaud moves up one place to 3rd in the event rankings.
Elsewhere, teammates Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails) and Esther de Geus (Fanatic / NorthSails) both performed consistently which sees Mortefon move into the top 5 - 4th - while de Geus slips a couple of places to 5th. Meanwhile, Jenna Gibson falls 4 places to 6th, while Océane Lescadieu (NeilPryde) deserves a mention for hanging onto a 6.4m all day, while many of the men were on the same size or smaller and still managed to qualify for all the winners’ finals.
Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) moves into the event lead after becoming the first man to beat Antoine Albeau (RRD / NeilPryde) in 2018. The Italian produced a blistering display in the second elimination before securing a solid second place in Elimination 3.
However, while Iachino holds a 3.7 point advantage, Albeau still holds the his fate in his own hands as he currently holds two 1st’s and an 8th - when Albeau uncharacteristically dropped his second gybe in the final - which he will likely discard when Elimination 4 is completed as both he and Iachino are already in the winners’ final. If Albeau was to win that race then he would hold a perfect set of results, while a top 2 finish would guarantee that Albeau regains the lead no matter what. The event title race is now poised on a knife edge.
Meanwhile, Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins) moves into the top 3 at the end of day two after record a 7th and a 3rd place finish, while he could further cement his place in the top 3 as he too is already in the winners’ final of Elimination 4 and could discard that 7th place from Elimination 2. Last year’s top 3 are once again looking in excellent form. Can anyone else break into the top 3?
Aside from last year’s overall top 3 - Albeau, Iachino and Mortefon - there is only one other man on the world tour who has managed to qualify for every winners’ final so far and that man is Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / NorthSails). The young flying Dutchman has made a flying start to the season and only trails Mortefon by one point heading into day 3 so the two teammates could have a shootout for third place.
Both Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) and Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses) missed out on the opening winners’ final of the day before making the top 8. However, both men were then disqualified from the winners’ final for premature starts. Toselli currently holds 5th place and will line up in the losers’ final of Elimination 4, while Williams will use his discard after being eliminated in the quarterfinals after dropping a rare gybe when in the qualifying places - which is testament to just how tough and tricky the conditions were today. That early exit will put Williams’ 6th place at risk.
19-year-old Basile Jacquin (RRD / Point-7) is currently on course for his first ever top 10 result - 7th at the close of play today, but will need to quickly bounce back from a quarterfinal exit in Elimination 4 to keep up with the pace.
Brazil’s Mateus Isaac (JP / NeilPryde) looks set to be one of the biggest movers after the completion of Elimination 4 as he currently holds a 26.5 alongside a 3rd and a 9th and is already guaranteed a top 8 result in the fourth race. 3rd in the second round here is the 24-year-old’s best result in a single race and he looks to have taken his sailing to another level over the winter. Keep a close eye on him over the remainder of the event.
The top 10 is currently completed by Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) and Julien Quentel (Patrik / Avanti), while Amado Vrieswijk (JP / Severne) slips just outside to 11th, but will discard a 22.5 when the current race is finished.
Elsewhere, Andrea Ferin (RRD / Challenger Sails / AL360) also recorded his best ever result in a single race after producing a superb performance in race two, which saw him earn 2nd place, while sails teammate Maciek Rutkowski (I-99 / Challenger Sails) looks set to recover from a mini blip in Eliminations 2 & 3 with the Pole qualifying for the winners’ final of race 4.
Only the top 16 remain standing in the fourth elimination and that the men’s finals will be the first heats of the day tomorrow. The forecast looks lighter for tomorrow, which will be a welcome relief for some, with WindGuru predicting 14-18 knots during the morning. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 9am with a first possible start at 10am (GMT+9).
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Current Ranking 2018 Ulsan PWA World Cup - Women’s Slalom
*After Five Eliminations
1st Delphine Cousin Questel (FRA - Starboard / S2Maui)
2nd Lena Erdil (TUR - Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins)
3rd Maëlle Guilbaud (FRA - Patrik / Loftsails)
4th Marion Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / NorthSails)
5th Esther de Geus (NED - Fanatic / NorthSails)
Current Ranking 2018 Ulsan PWA World Cup - Men’s Slalom
*After Three Eliminations
1st Matteo Iachino (ITA - Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses)
2nd Antoine Albeau (FRA - RRD / NeilPryde)
3rd Pierre Mortefon (FRA - Fanatic / NorthSails / Chopper Fins)
4th Jordy Vonk (NED - Fanatic / NorthSails)
5th Pascal Toselli (FRA - JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins)
6th Ross Williams (GBR - Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Sunglasses)
7th Basile Jacquin (FRA - RRD / Point-7)
8th Mateus Isaac (BRA - JP / NeilPryde)
9th Cedric Bordes (FRA - Tabou / GA Sails)
10th Julien Quentel (SXM - Patrik / Avanti)