Marignane PWA World Cup
The second day of the 2019 Marignane PWA World Cup saw the opening eliminations of the season begin, but it was anything but plain sailing with marginal winds, fluctuating between 7-17 knots, making equipment selection and racing in general quite tough. While there may have only been a couple of hours of racing today there were plenty of upsets and talking points by the end of the afternoon…
After a couple of hours of racing the first round of the women’s opening elimination was completed and all of the top seeds survived unscathed to book their place in the semifinals.
In fact, with Mio Anayama (Starboard / S2Maui), who finished 9th overall last year, absent here in France, Jenna Gibson (Fanatic / Duotone) was the only member of last year’s top 10, 6th overall in 2018, who failed to progress into the semifinals. The Brit was prominently placed in Heat 10 but dropped her opening gybe to miss out.
Reigning world champion - Delphine Cousin Questel (Starboard / S2Maui), cruised through her opening heat, while vice-world champion - Lena Erdil (Starboard / Point-7 / AL360 / Chopper Fins), who is making her first appearance since breaking her foot last summer, also made a winning return in Heat 2. Meanwhile, last year’s world No.3 - Marion Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone) - also made no mistakes in the opening heat of the day to progress.
In the men’s opening elimination only the first 10 heats were completed before the wind shut down for the day, but during the course of those 10 heats, there were a number of upsets and talking points.
In the first quarterfinal there was drama at the first mark as Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde) appeared to sail directly into Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails), ending both of their hopes there and then. Elsewhere, last year’s world No.6 Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails / Shamal Windsurfing) was also eliminated in 5th place as Finian Maynard (FMX Racing), 20-year-old Basile Jacquin (I-99 / Point-7), Gunnar Asmussen (Starboard / Severne) and Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) all progressed into the semifinals.
There was further drama on the run up to the start of the second quarterfinal - Heat 10 - as Pascal Toselli (JP / Loftsails / Chopper Fins) was involved in an altercation with Sebastian Kördel (Starboard / GA Sails), which resulted in the Frenchman falling and missing the entire heat. However, despite Toselli’s protests of dangerous sailing against Kördel, ultimately it was deemed a racing incident that required no further action and to rub further salt into the wound, Kördel would go on to qualify in 3rd place behind Nicolas Goyard (Tabou / GA Sails) and Marco Lang (Fanatic / Duotone), while 4th place was secured by Malte Reuscher (Tabou / GA Sails).
Lang, meanwhile, who was making his first appearance since being forced to retire early last year in Fuerteventura made a winning return, despite breaking his elbow in the buildup to the event. The Austrian won both his second round heat and the quarterfinal to progress into the top 16 and looks as though he could be back to his best, and more importantly full fitness, after a long battle with a mystery virus.
Heat 10 also involved vice-world champion - Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne / Shamal Sunglasses) - who suffered a shock quarterfinal exit in the opening elimination of the year. The Italian rarely complains about racing situations, but was clearly disgruntled that the second quarterfinal was allowed to stand as the 2016 world champion felt that the wind had dropped below the minimum threshold - Tristan Algret (Starboard / Severne / Chopper Fins) and Andrea Ferin (I-99 / Challenger Sails / AL360), who missed out in 5th and 6th respectively, were also of the same opinion.
The third quarterfinal did begin, but was cancelled shortly after the first gybe with the wind dropping. The sailors then remained on hold until 6:30pm, but with the wind showing no signs of improving they were released for the day.
There are contrasting forecasts for tomorrow with the latest WindGuru model predicting moderate to strong east-south-east to southeasterly winds for much of the day, while Windy forecasts only light to moderate winds - we will find out which one is correct tomorrow, but hopefully, it is the former. The skippers’ meeting has been called for 9am tomorrow morning with the racing commencing from 10am (GMT+2) - depending on the conditions.
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