The Big Top 3
Antoine Albeau (JP / NeilPryde), Matteo Iachino (Starboard / Severne) & Pierre Mortefon (Fanatic / Duotone / Chopper Fins) have clearly established themselves as the ‘Big Top 3’ in recent years as they continue to raise the bar and dominate the racing world. The three heavyweights have completed the prestigious overall podium for the last 3 years, while they have dominated the top 3 in 4 out of the last 5 seasons. However, for the first time in history it was Mortefon who came out at the top of the rankings after the season finale in New Caledonia.
Last year we took a look at how the big top 3 performed in numbers and now that the 2019 PWA World Tour has concluded we thought we would see how Albeau, Iachino & Mortefon stacked up compared to 2018.
The Big Top 3 in Numbers 2018
Albeau Iachino Mortefon
Japan 1/1 1/1 1/1
South Korea 4/4 4/4 4/4
Costa Brava 0/1 0/1 0/1
Portugal 5/7 7/7 5/7
Fuerteventura 4/4 4/4 4/4
Sylt 2/2 1/2 2/2
QR WF 84.21% 89.47% 84.21%
The Big Top 3 in Numbers 2019
Albeau Iachino Mortefon
France 1/1 0/1 1/1
South Korea 2/3 3/3 1/3
Fuerteventura 9/9 8/9 9/9
Denmark 4/9 8/9 6/9
New Caledonia 9/11 7/11 9/11
QR WF 75.75% 78.78% 78.78%
*Qualifying Rate For Winners’ Finals (QR WF)
So as you can see none of the big top 3 were able to match the extraordinary figures they produced last year:
- Albeau qualified for 8.46% less winners’ finals compared to 2018
- Iachino qualified for 10.69% less winners’ finals compared to 2018
- And eventual world champion - Pierre Mortefon - qualified for 5.43% less winners’ finals compared to 2018.
Meanwhile, in 2018 the big top 3 won 89.47% of all the eliminations completed (17 out of 19), while in 2019 that figure dropped almost 20% to 69.69%.
One of the main reasons for that can be the fact that there were an extra 14 races in 2019 - 33 compared to 19 - and it is obviously harder to be quite so dominant the more races there are. However, the other main reason is that there is a crop of sailors trying to bridge the gap between themselves and the big top 3 and they too are raising their level.
For example in 2018 only two other sailors won eliminations - namely Finian Maynard (FMX Racing) and Cedric Bordes (Tabou / GA Sails) - while this season that number jumped to a total of 7 sailors (Julien Quentel (Patrik / GUNSAILS), Jordy Vonk (Fanatic / Duotone), Martini (I-99 / Challenger Sails), Maciek Rutkowski (FMX Racing / Challenger Sails), Enrico Marotti (JP / NeilPryde), Ethan Westera (Tabou / GA Sails) and Ross Williams (Tabou / GA Sails) - and from that group only Quentel and Williams had previously won eliminations on the world tour - showing that there is a new group of sailors trying to breakthrough into the upper ranks of the racing world.
Will they be able to get there next season and dislodge one of the big top 3? Perhaps, but it’s still going to be a tall order, as Mortefon, Iachino & Albeau were still head and shoulders above the rest of the fleet. Jordy Vonk, who finished 4th overall finished 900 points behind Albeau in 3rd place, while he was then a staggering 1600 points behind eventual champion - Mortefon.